Beat News

New Beat Generation Books 2017

Later this month, Cambridge University Press is releasing The Cambridge Companion to the Beats, which features essays by Jonah Raskin, Regina Weinreich, Nancy Grace, Erik Mortenson, Kurt Hemmer, Oliver Harris, Brenda Knight, Hillary Holladay, Ronna Johnson, Polina MacKay, and others. From the Amazon listing:

Consummate innovators, the Beats had a profound effect not only on the direction of American literature, but also on models of socio-political critique that would become more widespread in the 1960s and beyond. Bringing together the most influential Beat scholars writing today, this Companion provides a comprehensive exploration of the Beat movement, asking critical questions about its associated figures and arguing for their importance to postwar American letters.

Next month sees the release of First Thought: Conversations with Allen Ginsberg, edited by Michael Schumacher. Read more at the Allen Ginsberg blog. From the Amazon listing:

With “Howl” Allen Ginsberg became the voice of the Beat Generation. It was a voice heard in some of the best-known poetry of our time—but also in Ginsberg’s eloquent and extensive commentary on literature, consciousness, and politics, as well as his own work. Much of what he had to say, he said in interviews, and many of the best of these are collected for the first time in this book. Here we encounter Ginsberg elaborating on how speech, as much as writing and reading, and even poetry, is an act of art.

In April, Beatdom Books is releasing John Tytell’s Beat Transnationalism, which explores the extent to which the Beats (and others carrying the Beat torch) moved beyond the physical boundaries of the United States in order to develop their art and political outlooks. Its table of contents provides a tantalizing insight:

After that, we will be publishing Mickey Harper’s Off the Road and Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a literary examination of the American counterculture from the Beats, through the Hippies, and ending with its decline as depicted in Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las VegasThis will be followed by Robert Johnson’s Did Beatniks Kill John F. Kennedy?, a creative non-fiction text following the life of George “Bongo Joe” Coleman as it intersects with the death of the American President.

David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the founder and editor of Beatdom literary journal and the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs the Weird Cult and World Citizen: Allen Ginsberg as Traveller. His next book, High White Notes: The Rise and Fall of Gonzo Journalism comes out in November, 2021.

View Comments

  • Dear David Wills,
    Greetings from SE Spain where I live and move after retiring from teaching in Tokyo for 14 years (and previous to that at the University of Kent, UK, for nearly three decades). .Matters Beat have long been on my radar....Every hurrah for your own Beat work and journal/website.

    Thought you might like to know that coming out next month under my editorship is The Routledge Handbook of International Beat Literature. Details and scope are all indicated in the Amazon and other web entries.

    Word from your end?

    All good wishes -- Bob .

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