Excerpt: CBGB Was My High School
Oct25

Excerpt: CBGB Was My High School

by G.K. Stritch – find it on Amazon The Mudd Club turned out to be a bittersweet place where I had my cherished camera stolen.  It was dark and so packed you had to be on your guard, but that didn’t deter us.  Jill, Daniel, and I went often.  Our friend Richard Smith worked there, so not only did he let us in, but we didn’t pay either.  The other hopefuls who awaited entrance looked at us longingly, in secret, as we,...

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The Weird Cult: How Scientology Shaped the Writing of William S. Burroughs
Mar04

The Weird Cult: How Scientology Shaped the Writing of William S. Burroughs

“Scientology was useful to me until it became a religion, and I have no use for religion. It’s just another one of those control-addict trips and we can all do without those.”   This essay would be a lot easier to write without using the word “Scientology”. The Church of Scientology has given itself such a bad name over recent decades that it has become almost a swearword, or perhaps the name of a cheesy soap opera. You can’t...

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Many Loves
Apr19

Many Loves

by Dr Madhu Mehrotra and Geetanjali Joshi Mishra “Resolved to sing no songs henceforth but those of manly attachment” -Walt Whitman “Longing is a better muse than satisfaction” says Regina Marler the author of ‘Queer Beat: How the Beats turned America onto sex’ and this is very true with regard to the nucleus of the generation which broke all rules of hegemonic, heterosexual, square society, a generation that questioned procreation...

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Banned Books Week & the Beats

For those of you who don’t know – and that won’t be many in this age of Twitter & Facebook – it is Banned Books Week. This valuable celebration of the First Amendment was begun in 1982 Judith Krug, and is celebrated annually in the last week of September. During each Banned Books Week we are asked to celebrate books whose freedom has been ensured by the First Amendment and to remember those titles against...

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First Thought, Best Thought?

It could be argued that immediacy was the style of the Beats. Certainly it was Ginsbergs’, and Kerouac professed to be driven by “Spontaneous Prose.” In the years following World War II improvisation and free-flowing first thought were integral to art. Jackson Pollack, Charlie Parker, Dizzie Gillespie… It wasn’t just the Beats. These artists were screaming in the face of a crushing conformity, and it was their apparent spontaneous...

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The Beat Generation, Gonzo Journalism, and Crap Writing

Over at Charles Montgomery’s Korean Literature in Translation website, there is a small discussion on “weird” or “strange” writing. He was discussing a Korean novel that – whilst not entirely awful – seemed only to be strange for the sake of strangeness. I commented that this is something I see a lot as an editor, particularly as an editor of a Beat Generation-themed literary journal....

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Patti Smith and the Beats
Aug24

Patti Smith and the Beats

by Michael Hendrick “A hipster goes into a diner. ‘What kind of pie do you have?’ he asks. The waitress says, ‘The pie is gone.’ ‘Cool,’ says the hipster. ‘In that case, I’ll have two slices.’” -          Patti Smith, Philadelphia, 2003. We are a Generation of Beats. This Generation has more longevity than any other generation to date. I am 53 years old. I know Beats who are 20-something and the beginning of the movement was 60 years...

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“It was electric”: A conversation with Michael Sharp
Aug24

“It was electric”: A conversation with Michael Sharp

By Noel Dávila On Ginsberg’s anger & kindness, Kerouac’s “homo viator”, Burroughs’ excremental prose and a fateful evening in the American Midwest. “What is it you want to talk about, in case I have nothing to say?” I received the above message on my phone from Michael Sharp, who I’d been trying to sit down with for nearly three months. As our anticipated encounter approached I wondered at the possibility...

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