THE BEAT GENERATION BOB DYLAN AND ALLEN GINSBERG
Counterculture is a term describing the values and norms of a cultural group that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day.
- Apply the concept of counterculture to the rise and collapse of the US Hippie movement
- Examples of countercultures in the U.S. could include the hippie movement of the 1960s, the green movement, polygamists, and feminist groups.
- A counterculture is a subculture with the addition that some of its beliefs, values, or norms challenge or even contradict those of the main culture of which it is part.
- Countercultures run counter to dominant cultures and the social mainstream of the day.
The beliefs, values, behavior, and material objects that constitute a people’s way of life.
Purchased, used, or accepted broadly rather than by a tiny fraction of a population or market; common, usual, or conventional.
Any culture whose values and lifestyles are opposed to those of the established mainstream culture, especially to western culture.
Modern American Marxist political groups are examples of countercultures — they promote a worldview and set of norms and values that are contrary to the dominant American system.
Counterculture is a sociological term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture, that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day, the cultural equivalent of political opposition. Counterculture can also describe a group whose behavior deviates from the societal norm.
In the United States, the counterculture of the 1960s became identified with the rejection of conventional social norms of the 1950s. Counterculture youth rejected the cultural standards of their parents, especially with respect to racial segregation and initial widespread support for the Vietnam War.
As the 1960s progressed, widespread tensions developed in American society that tended to flow along generational lines regarding the war in Vietnam, race relations, sexual mores, women’s rights, traditional modes of authority, and a materialisticinterpretation of the American Dream. Hippies became the largest countercultural group in the United States. The counterculture also had access to a media eager to present their concerns to a wider public. Demonstrations for social justice created far-reaching changes affecting many aspects of society .
The counterculture in the United States lasted from roughly 1964 to 1973 — coinciding with America’s involvement in Vietnam — and reached its peak in 1967, the “Summer of Love. ” The movement divided the country: to some Americans, these attributes reflected American ideals of free speech, equality, world peace, and the pursuit of happiness; to others, the same attributes reflected a self-indulgent, pointlessly rebellious, unpatriotic, and destructive assault on America’s traditional moral order.
The counterculture collapsed circa 1973, and many have attributed its collapse to two major reasons: First, the most popular of its political goals — civil rights, civil liberties, gender equality, environmentalism, and the end of the Vietnam War — were accomplished. Second, a decline of idealism and hedonism occurred as many notable counterculture figures died, the rest settled into mainstream society and started their own families, and the “magic economy” of the 1960s gave way to the stagflation of the 1970s.
Source: Boundless. “Countercultures.” Boundless Sociology. Boundless, 03 Jul. 2014. Retrieved 29 Nov. 2014 from https://www.boundless.com/sociology/textbooks/boundless-sociology-textbook/culture-and-socialization-3/culture-worlds-32/countercultures-204-8929/
Dave and Ana Christy
This blog consists of reviews, interviews, news, etc…from the world of the Boston area small press/ poetry scene and beyond. Regular contributors are reviewers: Barbara Bialick, Lawrence Kessenich, Lo Galluccio, Zvi Sesling, Irene Koronas, Rene Schwiesow, Dennis Daly, and others. Founder Doug Holder: firstname.lastname@example.org. * B A S P P S is listed in the New Pages Index of Alternative Literary Blogs.
About the Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene
Showing posts with label Dave Christy founder of the Alpha Beat Press Has Passed Away Doug Holder. Show all posts
Monday, February 08, 2010
Dave Christy founder of the Alpha Beat Press Has Passed Away…
I received notice that Dave Christy founder of the Alpha Beat Press has passed away. The press was very prolific and influential in the little magazine and chapbook scene in the 80’s and 90’s. I had my first chap published by Dave Christy: “Poems of Boston and Just Beyond: From the Back Bay to the Back Ward” May he rest in peace.
From the website:
Alpha Beat Press has been publishing Beat Generation, post-Beat Independent and other modern writings since 1986. Alpha Beat Press had its beginnings in a Montreal flat with the idea of keeping the aesthetics and sensibilities of the Beat generation alive. Our first magazine, Alpha Beat Soup was unique, being the only small press magazine publishing original and current Beat writings. In our new magazine Bouillabaisse and in our other poetry publications we have continued in that tradition, publishing a wide variety of writers and styles, from Bukowski to the lesser known poets. Alpha Beat Press is certainly the best of the small press!
Past Contributors include: John Clellan Holmes, Charles Bukowski, Beatrice Wood, Allen Ginsberg, Diane DiPrima, Carolyn Cassady, Gary Snyder, Carl Solomon, Ken Kesey, Simon Vinkenoong, Kaviraj George Dowden, John Montgomery, Jack Kerouac, Ken Babbs, Bruce Fearing, Ray Bremser, Al Aronowitz, Ana Christy, Gerald Nicosia, Diane Wakowski, Bob Kaufman, Steve Richmond, Janine Pommy Vega, Antler, Herbert Huncke, Pradip Choudhuri, Jack Micheline, Gregory Corso, Joan Reid, Allen Cohen, Yusuke Keida, Barbara Moraff, A.D.Winans, Tuli Kupferberg, Richard Morris, George Montrgomery, Frank Moore, Erling Friis-Baastad, t.k.splake, ruth weiss, elliott, Ted Berrigan, Neeli Cherkovski, Clayton Eshleman, Gerald Locklin, Joy Walsh, Anne Waldman, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Kurt Nimmo, Ron Androla, Graham Cournoyer, Bill Costley, Jan Kerouac, Jeanne Conn, Stephan Ronan, Christine Zwingman, Chris Challis, Lyn Lifshin, Ulvis Alberts, Lorrie Jackson, Tony Seldin, Judson Crews, Steve Allen, William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady & Ted Joans.
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Labels: Dave Christy founder of the Alpha Beat Press Has Passed Away Doug Holder
Review: COKEFISH ing IN ALPHA BEAT SOUP
A Beat-Post Beat Independent Poetry Broadsheet
“Cokefish” or “Cokefishing” is a pretty unique publication in that it really is a broadsheet, printed on two sides of a giant piece of paper which arrived at my door (at least) folded in quarters, and set in a variety of types, largely because the type that each poem or letter (it features author letters too) was submitted in seems to have been copied directly onto the broadsheet. And this is a choice the editors Dave and Ana Christy are making: “This broadside is dedicated to the small press and the way it used to be,” reads the legend over the top of the first poems, next, in this issue, to a photocopied picture of the late, much lamented Dave Church, whose passing several poems and letters commemorate.
I like their style here. This is the sort of homemade, no-frills publication which sold me on the romance of the small press in the first place, when Bryn Fortey was doing something similar in Wales, though he folded his sheets in half and stapled them. Bryn introduced me, through his “Outlaw” magazine, to some of the best living poets, including (as he was) Church and t.kilgore splake; and Dave and Ana’s roster includes both of those old greybeard heroes, along with Steve Dalachinsky, whose work I found impossible to format for BEATNIK (sorry Steve) and Gundy, whose name I came across a few years ago and haven’t heard from for a while, during my own weird peregrinations around the literary world and in real unreality. It’s good to know that there are still some places where the way a magazine/ publication looks doesn’t matter and the way it reads does. Lately even Beat-influenced sites have gone for fancy production which has nothing to do with the original spirit of the writing.
You can track “Cokefish (ing)” down via Alpha Beat Press and Dave and Ana Christy at 806 E. Ridge Ave. Sellersville PA 18960 USA. And like I said, it’s a buck an issue, so remunerate the Christys accordingly.
Posted by Bruce Hodder at 2:26 AM
Sell on Amazon
Charles Bukowski and Alpha Beat Press 1988-1994 Paperback – January 1, 1994
by Dave and Ana Christy (Editor)
1 Collectible from $125.00
Can Man Says Goodnight on luver.com an internet weekly radio show
Join Dave & Ana for an hour of good talk, a lot of laughs and a lot of vodka! Reminiscent of the old radio show, THE BICKERSONS – The Christy’s add a special guest poet/musician along with a Country Classic tune and Ana’s “Pick Your Nose” of the week.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Can Man Says Goodnight #81
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Can Man Says Goodnight #80
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Thursday, April 12, 2012
Can Man Says Goodnight #79
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Can Man Says Goodnight #78
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from left to right: Larry Rivers, Jack Kerouac,
David Amram, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso (with back to camera)
DAVID AMRAM REMEMBERS
(Originally written for Evergreen Review in 1969, published early 1970 at the request of publisher Barney Rossett as an obituary for Kerouac)
I used to see Jack often at the old Five Spot in the beginning of 1957, when I was working there. I knew he was a writer, and all musicians knew that he loved music. You could tell by the way he sat and listened. He never tried to seem hip. He was too interested in life around him to ever think of how he appeared. Musicians understood this and were always glad to see him, because we knew that meant at least one person would be I listening. Jack was on the same wave-length as we were, so it was never necessary to talk.
A few months later, poets Howard Hart and Philip Lamantia came by my place with Jack. They had decided to read their poetry with music, and Jack said he would join in, reading, improvising, rapping with the audience and singing along. Our first performance was in December of 1957 at the Brata Art Gallery on East 10th Street. It was the first jazz-poetry reading in New York. There was no advertising and it was raining, but the place was packed. Jack had become the most important figure of the time. His name was magic. In spite of the carping, whining put-downs by the furious critics, and the jealousy of some of his contemporaries for his overnight success (he had written ten books in addition to On The Road with almost no recognition), Jack hadn’t changed. But people’s reaction to him was sometimes frightening.
He was suddenly being billed as the ‘King of The Beatniks’, and manufactured against his will, as some kind of public Guru for a movement that never existed. Jack was a private person, extremely shy, and dedicated to writing. When he drank, he became much more expansive, and this was the only part of his personality that became publicized. The people who came to the Brata Gallery weren’t taste makers; they were friends.
A few months later, we began some readings at the Circle In The Square. Everyone improvised, including the light man, who had his first chance to wail on the lighting board. The audience joined in, heckling, requesting Jack to read parts of On The Road, and asking him to expound on anything that came into his head. He also would sing while I was playing the horn, sometimes making up verses. He had a phenomenal ear. It was like playing duets with a great musician.
Jack was proud of his knowledge of music and of the musicians of his time. He used to come by and play the piano by ear for hours. He had some wonderful ideas for combining the spoken word with music. A few weeks later, jazz-poetry became ‘Official Entertainment’, and a few months later was discarded as another bit of refuse, added to the huge mound of our junk culture. It was harder to dispose of Jack. The same journalist and radio and TV personalities who had heralded him were now ripping him to shreds. Fortunately, they couldn’t rip up his manuscripts. His work was being published, more widely read, and translated.
In early 1958, all of us went to Brooklyn College, where Jack, Phillip and Howard read. Jack spent most of the time answering the student’s questions with questions of his own. He was the down-home Zen master, and the students finally realized he wasn’t putting them on. He was showing them himself. If they wanted to meet the Author Jack Kerouac, they would have to read his books.
His public appearances were never to promote his books. They were to share a state of mind and a way of being. The only journalist who picked up on this was Al Aronowitz. He saw Jack as an artist.
In the spring of 1959, the film Pull My Daisy was made. Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky, Larry Rivers and myself – the Third Avenue All-Stars as one wit described us – appeared in it. Alfred Leslie directed it and Robert Frank filmed it. Jack had written the scenario, and after the film had been edited, Jack saw it. Because it was a silent movie, Jack was to narrate it, and I was to write the music afterwards. He, Allen, and Neal Cassady also wrote the lyrics for the title song Pull My Daisy, for which I wrote the music and was sung in the film by Anita Ellis. Jack put on earphones and asked me to play, so that he could improvise the narration to music, the way we had done at our readings. He watched the film, and made up the narration on the spot. He did it two times through spontaneously, and that was it. He refused to do it again. He believed in spontaneity, and the narration turned out to be the very best thing about the film. We recorded it at Jerry Newman’s studio. Jerry was an old friend of Jack’s from the early forties and afterwards we had a party-jam session that lasted all night. Jack played the piano, sang, and improvised for hours.
In the early sixties I used to see Jack when he would come in from Northport to visit town. Once, he called up at one in the morning and told me I had to come over so that he could tell me a story. I brought over some music to copy, and Jack spoke non-stop until 8:30 a.m., describing a trip he had made through North Africa and Europe. It was like hearing a whole book of his being read aloud, and Jack was the best reader of his own work, with the exception of Dylan Thomas, that I ever heard.
“That’s a fantastic story.” I told him. “It sounds just like your books.”
“I try to make my writing sound just the way I talk.” he said. His ideal was not to display his literary skill, but to have a conversation with the reader.
I told Jack about an idea I had for a cantata about the four seasons in America, using the works of American authors. He launched into a travelogue of his voyages around the country, and referred to writers I might look into. I took notes, and ended up reading nearly fifty books, to find the texts. I included a passage from his book Lonesome Traveler. The concert was at Town Hall [in New York City], and Jack wrote that he couldn’t come. It was the Spring of 1965, and he didn’t like being in New York.
Sometimes he would call from different parts of the country just to talk, and we continued to write to each other. In one letter he said “Ug-g-h. Fame is such a drag.” He wanted time to work, but found that success robbed him of his freedom. At the same time, he felt that he was forgotten. I told him that all the young people I met when I toured colleges loved his books. To many, he was their favorite writer. But writer meant something different now. It was what was being said, not how it was said. It was content that counted, not style. Jacks’ message was a whole way of being, and he was becoming more an influence than ever.
Truman Capote dismissed Jack’s work as “typing.” I never heard Jack put down another writer. He went out of his way to encourage young writers. His work reflects this spirit of generosity, kindness and love. This is why his “typing” is so meaningful to young people today. Jack was ahead of his time spiritually. Like Charlie Parker, Lenny Bruce and Lord Buckley, his work is constantly being rediscovered.
Through knowing Jack, I wrote some of my best music. Without knowing him, I never would have written my book. More important, young people all over the world are reading and rereading his work. His death only means the beginning of a new life for everyone who shares in the joy of knowing him through his books.
David Amram, October 24th. 1969
I Have Nothing to Offer Anybody
Jean-Louis “Jack” Lebris de Kerouac (play /ˈkɛruːæk/ or /ˈkɛrɵæk/; March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) was an American novelist and poet. He is considered a literary iconoclast and, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, a pioneer of the Beat Generation. Kerouac is recognized for his spontaneous method of writing, covering topics such as Catholic spirituality, jazz, promiscuity, Buddhism, drugs, poverty, and travel. His writings have inspired other writers, including Ken Kesey, Bob Dylan, Eddie Vedder, Richard Brautigan, Thomas Pynchon, Lester Bangs, Tom Robbins and Will Clarke. Kerouac became an underground celebrity and, with other beats, a progenitor of the Hippie movement, although he remained antagonistic toward it. In 1969, at age 47, Kerouac died from internal bleeding due to long-standing abuse of alcohol. Since his death Kerouac’s literary prestige has grown and several previously unseen works have been published. All of his books are in print today, among them: On the Road, Doctor Sax, The Dharma Bums, Mexico City Blues, The Subterraneans, Desolation Angels, Visions of Cody and Big Sur.
- See more at: http://thosenotcomplicatedneednotapply.blogspot.com/2013/08/i-have-nothing-to-offer-anybody.html#sthash.MDz1lp6T.dpuf
Video of the Day: A Short Documentary About the Original Beatniks
If the only Beat Generation writers you can name are Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs, then it’s time to educate yourself about the rest of the gang. A great place to start is Original Beats, a short documentary by Francois Bernadi that we learned about thanks to Dangerous Minds. The film, shot in the mid-’90s, follows Herbert Huncke and Gregory Corso — the oldest and youngest member, respectively, of the Beat inner circle. In fact, while Corso’s work may be more famous, Huncke was hugely influential to the movement, introducing the major players to (’50s) hipster culture and even coining the term “Beat.” (Sadly, he was also a lifelong junkie who spent his last years in poverty; Jonathan Lethem recently wrote a New Yorker piece about the time he caught Huncke shoplifting at the bookstore where he worked as a high schooler.)
The documentary offers an entertaining look at the origins of the Beat movement, as well as some readings, and a number of epic anecdotes from Huncke and Corso, from Huncke’s first glimpse of Times Square to both men’s stints in prison. One of Corso’s stories, about a time when he and Allen Ginsberg read in Chicago, ends with this wonderful moment: “One of the people in the audience said, ‘Mr. Ginsberg, why is there so much homosexuality in your poetry?’ And Allen said, ‘Because I’m queer, madam!’” Enjoy Original Beats after the jump.
A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE BEATS
This is a good sized list of quotes by or pertaining to a beat author. Some of them are very deep, some of them all funny, and some make no sense whatsoever. Enjoy.
“There is no line between the ‘real world’ and ‘world of myth and symbol.’ Objects, sensations, hit with the impact of hallucination.”
“I’m running out of everything now. Out of veins, out of money.”
“Strip your psyche to the bare bones of spontaneous process, and you give yourself one chance in a thousand to make the Pass.”
“The charging restless mute unvoiced road keening in a seizure of tarpaulin power.”
-Jack Kerouac’s favorite line from On The Road
“Rather, I think one should write, as nearly as possible, as if he were the first person on earth and was humbly and sincerly putting on paper that which he saw and experienced and loved and lost; what his passing thoughts were and his sorrows and desires.”
-Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac
“Americans should know the universe itself as a road, as many roads, as roads for traveling souls.”
“Neal, we’ll be real heroes now in a war between our cocks and time: let’s be the angels of the world’s desire and take the world to bed with us before we die.”
-Allen Ginsberg to Cassady on their sexual relation…lines from the poem The Green Automobile
“If you have a choice of two things and can’t decide, take both.” -Gregory Corso “The stone world came to me, and said Flesh gives you an hour’s life.”
“If you believe you’re a poet, then you’re saved.”
“In such places as Greenwich Village, a menage-a-trois was completed- the bohemian and the juvenile delinquent came face-to-face with the Negro, and the hipster was a fact in American life.”
“Madness is confusion of levels of fact…Madness is not seeing visions but confusing levels.”
“I really believe, or want to believe, really I am nuts, otherwise I’ll never be sane.”
-Allen Ginsberg to Jack Kerouac
“Sure I’m old, and I’m evil, and I’m ugly, and I’m tired. But that isn’t it. I’ve been this way for ten years, and I’m all down the main line.”
-Herbert Huncke to Allen GInsberg
“Neal will leave you in the cold anytime it’s in his interest.”
-LuAnne Cassady (the 15 year old bride of Neal Cassady)
“Oh, smell the people!’ yelled Dean with his face out the window, sniffling. ‘Ah, God! Life!'”
-Jack Kerouac, On The Road
“Obviously the ‘purpose’ of the trip is carefully selected to symbolize the basic fact of purposelessness. Neal is, of course, the very soul of the voyage into pure, abstract meaningless motion. He is The Mover, compulsive, dedicated, ready to sacrifice family, friends, even his very car itself to the necessity of moving from one place to another.”
-William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg on Neal and his skeptical views of the man and voyage which spurred On The Road
“Love is all.’
“I went with him for no reason.”
-Jack Kerouac on Neal Cassady
“What’s your road, man? -holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It’s an anywhere road for anybody anyhow.”
-Neal Cassady as Dean Moriarty in On The Road
“Who are all these strange ghosts rooted to the silly little adventure of earth with me?”
-Jack Kerouac, on the final gathering/Snyders going away party
“The omlet fell apart, as with such eggs it must.”
-Wilifrid Sheed, on the San Francisco Renaissance Poets
“I am getting so far out one day I won’t come back at all.”
“Ginsby boy, he’s all over Oregon like horseshit howling his dirty pome.”
-Jack Kerouac on Allen Ginsberg
“I am beginning to think he is a great saint, a great saint concealed in a veneer of daemonism.”
-Jack Kerouac on Allen Ginsberg
“We are all trying to get the exact style of ouuselves.”
-Michael McClure on the San Francisco Renaissance
“To rebel! That is the immediate objective of poets! We can not wait and will not be held back…The “poetic marvelous” and the unconscious are the true inspirers of rebels and poets.”
“Around Jack there circulated a palpable aura of fame and death.”
-Gary Snyder on Jack Kerouac
“I want to create wilderness out of empire.”
“I’m beat to the square, and square to the beat, and that’s my vocation.”
-William Everson aka Brother Antoninus
“We had gone beyond a point of no return- and we were ready for it, for a point of no return…We wanted voice and we wanted vision.”
“A reading is a kind of communion. The poet articulates the semi-known for the tribe.
“I want your lingual SPONTINEITY or nothing else.”
-Jack Kerouac to Allen Ginsberg after reading Howl
“An army is an army against love.”
“At that instant we looked into eachother’s eyes and there was a kind of celestial cold fire that crept over us and blazed up and illuminated the entire cafeteria and made it an eternal place.”
-Allen Ginsberg to William Burroughs on his new lover Peter Orlovsky
“I’ve been getting silly drunk again lately in Remo and discusting myself a la Subterraneans.”
-Jack Kerouac to William Burroughs
Jack Kerouac’s Translations of Buddhist Terms
Dharma: “truth law”
Tathata: “that which everything is”
Tathagata: “attainer to that which everything is”
Bodhisattva-Manasattvas: “beings of great wisdom”
“Kerouac’s version of Buddha is a dimestore incense burner, glowing and glowering sinisterly in the dark corner of a Beatnik pad and just thrilling the wits out of bad little girls.”
“I miss you so much your absence causes me, at times, accute pain. I don’t mean sexually. I mean in connection with my writing.”
-William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg
“I did no think I was hooked on him like this. The withdrawl symptoms are worse than the Marker habit. Tell Allen I plead guilty to vampirism and other crimes against life. But I love him and nothing else cancels love.”
-William Burroughs to Jack Kerouac on Ginsberg
“I have a strange feeling here of being outside any social context.”
-William Burroughs in Tangiers
“Not that Irwin wasn’t worthy of him but how on earth could they consumate this great romantic love with vaseline and K.Y.?”
-Jack Kerouac on Ginsberg and Burroughs relationship
“Between incomprehensible and incoherent sits the madhouse. I am not in the madhouse.”
-Jack Kerouac to Carl Solomon.
“I think all writers write for an audience. There is no such thing as writing for yourself.”
-William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg
“Usually he selected someone who could not reciprocate so that he was able-cautiously, like one who tests uncertain ice, though in this case the danger was not that the ice give way but that it might hold his weight-to shift the burden of not loving, of being unable to love, onto the partner.”
-Willam Burroughs on himself
“Avoid the world, it’s just a lot of dust and drag and means nothing in the end.”
“Al, I am a fucking saint, that is I been fucked by the Holy Ghost and knocked up with Immaculate Woid…I’m the third coming, me, and don’t know if I can do it again….so stand by for the Revelation.”
-William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg
“Suffice to say I just eat every 12 hours, sleep every 20 hours, masturbate every 8 hours and otherwise just sit on the train and stare ahead without a thought…”
“Wherever I go I see myself in a mirror- it used to be my own selfblood, now it is god’s.”
“Never deny the voice- no, never forget it, don’t get lost mentally wandering in other spirit worlds or American or job worlds or advertising worlds or earth worlds.”
-Allen Ginsberg’s vow to himself
“I want to be a saint, a real saint while I am young, for there is so much work to do.”
-Allen Ginsberg to Mark Van Doren
“The apparition of an evil, sick unconscious wild city rose before me in visible semblance, and about the dead buildings in the barren air, the bodies of the soul that built the wonderland shuffled and stalked and stalked and lurched in attitudes of immemorial nightmare all around.”
-Allen Ginsberg (his visions after reading Blake)
“I was so sick that I found myself worrying about the future of man’s soul, my own in paticular.”
“Just a little boy who wants to be a novelist.”
-Alan Ansen’s description of Jack Kerouac
“Death hovers over my pencil…”
Pinned to Jack Kerouac’s wall to inspire his writing: “Art is the highest task and the proper metaphysical activity of this life.”
“I am going to marry my novels and have little short stories for children.”
“The fact was I had the vision…I think everyone has…what we lack is the method.”
-Jack Kerouac to Allen Ginsberg
“I detest limitations of any kind, and intend to establish my ass some place where I am a virgin on the police blotter.”
-William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg
“Naturally, I thought the guy was just kiddin.”
-Herbert Huncke, on Burrough’s request for a Viennese waltz
“Shooting is my principal pastime.”
“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.”
-Jack Kerouac to Neal Cassady
“Two piercing eyes glancing into two piercing eyes- the holy con-man with the shining mind, and the sorrowful poetic con-man with the dark mind.”
-Kerouac on the night Ginsberg and Cassady met
“I really dont know how much I can be be satisfied to love you, I mean bodily, you know, I somehow dislike pricks & men & before you, had conciously forced myself to be homosexual…I dont want to be unconsciously insincere by passing over my non-queerness to please you.”
-Neal Cassady to Allen Ginsberg on their sexual relationship
“Dont you remember how you made me stop trembling in shame and drew me to you? Don’t you know what I felt then, as if you were a saint…?”
-Allen Ginsberg to Neal Cassady
“Neal is awareness, mine is conciousness. The conciousness is shallow, awareness is all embracing.”
-Allen Ginsberg on Neal Cassady
“He came to the door stark naked and it might have been the President knocking for all he cared. He received the world in the raw.”
-Jack Kerouac on Neal Cassady
“I have thought of Neal as being a psychopath for quite some time. To me he is nothing more than a series of incidents.”
-John Clellon Holmes to Ginsberg
“I see no greatness in my self…I’m a simple-minded, child-like, insipid sort of moronic and kind of akward feeling adolescent.”
-Neal Cassady on himself
“I became the unnatural son of a few score of beaten men.”
“For Neal sex was the one and only holy and important thing in life.”
-Jack Kerouac on Neal Cassady
“Cassady was sexually initiated at the age of nine. He accompanied his father to the home of a drinking buddy, whose oldest son led his brother and Neal in sexual intercourse with as many sisters as they could hold down. All boundaries of sexual decorum evaporated. Neal “sneak shared” women with his father, he slept with grandmothers and prepubescent girls in abandoned buildings, barns, and public toilets.”
-Steven Watson, Birth of the Beat Generation
“I alone, as the sharer of their way of life, presented a replica of childhood.”
THE LAST GATHERING OF BEATS POETS & ARTISTS, CITY LIGHTS BOOKS North Beach, San Francisco 1965
Lawrence Ferlinghetti wanted to document the 1965 Beat scene in San Francisco in the spirit of the early 20th century classic photographs of the Bohemian artists & writers in Paris.The Beats, front row L to R: Robert LaVigne, Shig Murao, Larry Fagin, Leland Meyezove (lying down), Lew Welch, Peter Orlovsky.
Second row: David Meltzer, Michael McClure, Allen Ginsberg, Daniel Langton, Steve (friend of Ginsberg), Richard Brautigan, Gary Goodrow, Nemi Frost.
Back row: Stella Levy, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Because this is a vertical image about half of the Beats attending are not shown.
Allen Ginsberg, Bob Donlon (Rob Donnelly, Kerouac’s Desolation Angels), Neal Cassady, myself in black corduroy jacket, Bay Area poets’ “Court Painter” Robert La Vigne & poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in front of his City Lights Books shop, Broadway & Columbus Avenue North Beach. Donlon worked seasonally as Las Vegas waiter & oft drank with Jack K., Neal looks good in tee shirt, Howl first printing hadn’t arrived from England yet (500 copies), we were just hanging around, Peter Orlovsky stepped back off curb & snapped shot, San Francisco spring 1956, 1956, gelatin silver print, printed 1984–97, 11 1/8 x 16 3/4 in. (28.3 x 42.6 cm), National Gallery of Art, Gift of Gary S. Davis. © 2012 The Allen Ginsberg LLC. All rights reserved.
“He looked by that time like his father, red-faced corpulent W.C. Fields shuddering with mortal horror…” Thus reads the inscription of a photo depicting American icon Jack Kerouac and taken by Allen Ginsberg in 1964 — just a few years before the former’s death. Far from the exuberant youth depicted in earlier photos, this portrait offers an entirely different image of Kerouac: that of the aging alcoholic, slumped dejectedly in a battered armchair.
Beat Memories presents an in-depth look at the Beat Generation as seen through the lens of Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997). Although well known for his poetry, Ginsberg was also an avid photo- grapher, capturing the people and places around him in spontaneous, often intimate snapshots. His black-and-white photographs include portraits of William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac, and others, along with self-portraits. The images not only are revealing portrayals of celebrated personalities, but also convey the unique lifestyle and spirit of the Beats
The Beat movement, also called Beat Generation, American social and literary movement originating in the 1950s and centred in the bohemian artist communities of San Francisco’s North Beach, Los Angeles’ Venice West, and New York City’s Greenwich Village. Its adherents, self-styled as “beat” (originally meaning “weary,” but later also connoting a musical sense, a “beatific” spirituality, and other meanings) and derisively called “beatniks,” expressed their alienation from conventional, or “square,” society by adopting an almost uniform style of seedy dress, manners, and “hip” vocabulary borrowed from jazz musicians. Generally apolitical and indifferent to social problems, they advocated personal release, purification, and illumination through the heightened sensory awareness that might be induced by drugs, jazz, sex, or the disciplines of Zen Buddhism. Apologists for the Beats, among them Paul Goodman, found the joylessness and purposelessness of modern society sufficient justification for both withdrawal and protest.
Beat poets sought to liberate poetry from academic preciosity and bring it “back to the streets.” They read their poetry, sometimes to the accompaniment of progressive jazz, in such Beat strongholds as the Coexistence Bagel Shop and Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights bookstore in San Francisco. The verse was frequently chaotic and liberally sprinkled with obscenities but was sometimes, as in the case of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl (1956), ruggedly powerful and moving. Ginsberg and other major figures of the movement, such as the novelist Jack Kerouac, advocated a kind of free, unstructured composition in which the writer put down his thoughts and feelings without plan or revision—to convey the immediacy of experience—an approach that led to the production of much undisciplined and incoherent verbiage on the part of their imitators. By about 1960, when the faddish notoriety of the movement had begun to fade, it had produced a number of interesting and promising writers, including Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Philip Whalen, and Gary Snyder, and had paved the way for acceptance of other unorthodox and previously ignored writers, such as the Black Mountain poets and the novelist William Burroughs.