The Beat Generation – Ginsberg, Kerouac and Burroughs

National Poetry Month Spotlight – The Beat Generation – Ginsberg, Kerouac and Burroughs

The Beat Generation, also known as the beat movement, were a group of American writers who emerged in the 1950s. Among its most influential members were  the radical poet Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac.

Jack Kerouac was the acknowledged leader and spokesman for the Beat Generation. What could be loosely described as the underlying philosophy was visionary enlightenment, Zen Buddhism, Amerindian culture. The Beat Generation were centred around the artist colonies of North Beach (San Francisco), Venice West (Los Angeles) and Greenwich Village (New York City). The Beat Generation rejected the prevailing academic attitude to poetry, feeling that poetry should be brought to the people. Readings would take place in the Coexistence Bagel Shop and Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, often to the accompaniment of Jazz. A common theme that linked them all together was a rejection of the prevailing American middle-class values, the purposelessness of modern society and the need for withdrawal and protest.

The major Beat writings include Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, and William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. Both Howl and Naked Lunch became the focus of obscenity trials in the United States that helped to liberalize what could be legally published. (source poetrysoup.com)

Allen Ginsberg

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Irwin Allen Ginsberg (June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American Beat poet born in Newark, New Jersey. Ginsberg is best known for Howl (1956), a long poem about the Beat Generation and the state and feeling of the United States at the time. (source poetrysoup.com)

“Complaint of the Skeleton to Time”, Allen Ginsberg

Take my love, it is not true,
So let it tempt no body new;
Take my lady, she will sigh
For my bed where’er I lie;
Take them, said the skeleton,

But leave my bones alone.

Take my raiment, now grown cold,
To give to some poor poet old;
Take the skin that hoods this truth
If his age would wear my youth;
Take them, said the skeleton,

But leave my bones alone.

Take the thoughts that like the wind
Blow my body out of mind;
Take this heart to go with that
And pass it on from rat to rat;
Take them, said the skeleton,

But leave my bones alone.

Take the art which I bemoan
In a poem’s crazy tone;
Grind me down, though I may groan,
To the starkest stick and stone;
Take them, said the skeleton,

But leave my bones alone.


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Jack Kerouac

 

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Jack Kerouac, born Jean-Louis Kerouac (French-Canadian child), was American novelist and poet. He was part of the Beat Generation Literary movement and influenced by the likes of Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. His health was destroyed by drinking and he died at home in 1969. He was only 47 years old when he died. (source poetrysoup.com)

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Kerouac

 


 

William S. Burroughs

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William Seward Burroughs II  also known by his pen name William Lee; February 5, 1914 – August 2, 1997) was an American novelist, short story writer, satirist, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author who wrote in the paranoid fiction genre, he is considered to be “one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th century”.His influence is considered to have affected a range of popular culture as well as literature. Burroughs wrote eighteen novels and novellas, six collections of short stories and four collections of essays. (source Wiki)

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William S. Burroughs use.

 

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And the beat goes on……..DiAnnes Scribbles  logo

 

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About DiAnne Ebejer

I am retired and live on the East coast of Florida where I spend much of my time reading, playing with photography and trying to write some "poetry and then some" at dianneebejer.wordpress.com. I care deeply about many things and wish there was much more love and compassion in this world today. I also have a part time blog "Thought You Might Like This" diannesthingsat.wordpress.com used for special projects and occasional things of interest
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