Win a Copy of Off the Road and Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Tomorrow we are releasing Mickey Harper’s new book, Off the Road and Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. This is the latest in a long line of scholarly-yet-accessible titles from Beatdom Books – a publishing company dedicated to promoting the best Beat Generation scholarship. To celebrate the release, we’re giving away a free copy of the book.  Continue Reading…

Beatdom #19 Theme – Asia

Submissions are now open for Beatdom #19 and the theme shall be Asia. We will consider essays relating the Beat Generation to Asia, as well as poems, short stories, and artwork on the topic of Asia. We have selected this theme because it is wide enough to invite a good variety of research. Many of the Beat writers travelled to Asia and those who didn’t were often interested in Asian language, literature, or culture.

Continue Reading…

Beat Generation and How They Defined the Pop Culture in the Years to Come

The Beat Generation was born out of protest against conformism and amid desperate searches for meaning and purpose. There are, perhaps, few other literary and culture movements that had as much ambiguity surrounding them. Jail time, nomad lifestyle, drugs, obscenity charges, and psychiatric institutions – all of those were indispensable parts of the cult. And yet, the Beat Generation had a significant impact on a whole number of aspects of life in the times when it was born, as well as in the years to come. It transformed the view of art, music, and literature and sent them into directions they wouldn’t have gone on their own. Their legacy is still alive and plays a significant role in the art development of today. Continue Reading…

Cool Cats: Beat Poets and their Feline Friends

For some reason, if you look back through literary history, it seems most great authors had a fondness for cats. Purrrhaps* that’s because being a writer often requires a rather cat-like existence… but more likely it’s just a case of confirmation bias. The internet loves cats, therefore there will be enough photos of authors and cats circulating online to convince us that cats are somehow muses to the greats of literature. But whichever of those options is true, certainly enough of our great writers have had close relationships with felines to make it seem as though cat-ownership is somehow a pre-requisite for literary brilliance. Continue Reading…

Off the Road and Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

In Off the Road and Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Mickey Harper explores the influence of the Beat Generation on the American counterculture during the period 1956-1973. He explores the rise and fall of various countercultural movements through an exploration of literature from this period. The three central texts he explores are Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957), Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968), and Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971). Continue Reading…

Who Owns the Dropper Owns the Fix: Out to Lunch with William Burroughs

It was summer 91, I think, when sharing a joint on a brick fire escape after a night of acid-tapped cartoon lunacy, my friend Steve exhaled smoke into the Manchester morning and casually asked if I’d heard of a writer called William Burroughs. I hadn’t, but that moment was my first gleaming of what was to become a deep, unremitting love for the man J.G. Ballard called ‘True genius and first mythographer of the mid-twentieth century’. Steve passed the joint and disappeared indoors – momentarily leaving me staring, rabbit-eyed, into the headlights of reality – before returning with a tatty, yellowing paperback. ‘Read this,’ he said, thrusting the well-thumbed pages at me. ‘You’ll love it.’ Continue Reading…

Publication Party for Beat Transnationalism

On October 4th, Howl! Arts is holding a publication party for John Tytell’s new book, Beat Transnationalism.  The event is from 7-9pm and the gallery is located at 6 East 1st Street, New York City.

What the Beats can teach us about writing

The Beat Generation was not just important as a countercultural movement. We don’t just remember Jack Kerouac for sending kids on the road and accidentally birthing the hippies, or Allen Ginsberg for his peace & love messages. We remember them as literary innovators, and as such they have a lot to teach us about writing. Literature changed with the Beat Generation and it has never been the same since. Yet as time goes by, it is easy to forget what exactly they gave us. Let’s take the chance to look over some of the writing lessons handed down by the Beat writers. Continue Reading…

The Best Beat Generation Letter Collections

The writers of the Beat Generation were not just great at composing poems or producing genre-smashing novels. They were also voluminous letter-writers, corresponding over vast distances by mail. They shared ideas, gave details of their lives and thoughts, and even experimented with writing styles through the act of writing these letters. Some, like the Joan Anderson Letter, were of incalculable significance. Thankfully, they were often careful enough to save their letters, knowing that some day in the future these might be of importance. Eventually, as telephone calls became cheaper, the letters dried up. However, during the heyday of the Beat Generation, they correspondence was frequent and often stretched into thousands of magnificent words.  Continue Reading…

The Beat Generation and Mental Hospitals

The 1940s and 50s were difficult years to be non-conformist, and that was doubly true if you were a woman. The writers of the Beat Generation, as well as their friends and families, who lived bohemian lifestyles in a buttoned-up era, found that their very existence could be dangerous in those days. Whether they were driven to genuine mental illness by the shackles of a repressive society or deemed unfit for society because of their individualist life choices, many of those who fell under the Beat label ended up in the “nuthouse.” For some of them it was just a temporary stay that gave them inspiration for their art, but for others it was a deeply traumatic experience that irrevocably damaged their life. Continue Reading…