Tag Archives: richard farina

1967 THE BEAT SCENE-WRITERS

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Richard Brautigan.  Trout Fishing in America..
Trout Fishing in America
Richard Brautigan
RICHARD BRAUTIGAN WAS another member of the Beat scene of San Francisco in the fifties and is often considered a bridge between the decades. He became, with the publication of Trout Fishing in America, one of the most popular of the counterculture writers of the sixties. He is often thought of as a modern Thoreau; his love of nature and his concern for the environment are recurring themes in his works‚in one sequence he writes of sections of a trout stream being sold in a junkyard for $6.50 per foot. Written in 1961, Trout Fishing in America was finally published by the small Four Seasons Foundation in 1967, and was so popular that many of the communes that sprang up around the country were named after the novel. Thousands of copies of Trout Fishing in America were ordered for sporting goods stores in the mistaken belief that the book was about the subtle art of angling. Richard Brautigan died in 1984, an apparent suicide. Richard Brautigan.  Love Poem
Love Poem
Richard Brautigan
Richard Farina.  Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me Cover
Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me
Richard Farina
THOUGH RICHARD FARINA died young and his literary output was minimal, he was a larger-than-life figure whose writings and exploits entrenched him in the mythology of the sixties. Farina was of Irish and Cuban heritage; in the fifties he fought both with the Irish Republican Army in Ireland and Fidel Castro in the mountains of Cuba. He attended Cornell University, where Thomas Pynchon was his friend and roommate. Pynchon writes of the novel, “It’s been a while since I’ve read anything quite so groovy, quite such a joy from beginning to end.” Richard Farina died at the age of thirty in a motorcycle accident on his way to a publication party for this book.
Allen Ginsberg.  T.V. Baby Poems.
T.V. Baby Poems
Allen Ginsberg
JUST AS HE did for the Beat era, Allen Ginsberg, perhaps more than any other figure, helped to define and shape the aesthetics of the psychedelic sixties. He was one of the earliest experimenters with hallucinogenic drugs, having taken psilocybin mushrooms with Timothy Leary in 1960; he traveled in India, Nepal, and Japan, to study Eastern religions; his association with Bob Dylan purportedly helped transform Dylan from a one-dimensional protest singer into a modern poetic genius; and his participation in virtually every counterculture event from war protests to the various Love Ins, Acid Tests, and musical festivals made him one of the most influential figures of the era. T.V. Baby Poems is one of his many publications from the sixties.
Michael McClure. The Beard Cover
The Beard
Michael McClure
TROPIC OF CANCER and Naked Lunch had challenged literary censorship in America, but there would be many more in the new era of freedom of speech. Michael McClure was an integral member of the Beat scene in San Francisco in the fifties, (see page 31), and he segued easily into the new Psychedelic Era that was beginning to coalesce in San Francisco in the sixties. The Beard brought to the stage a raw, explicit look at sex, violence, and conventional morality, exploring a relationship between Billy the Kid and Jean Harlow in the afterlife. Performed in San Francisco in 1968, the cast members were arrested and jailed on fourteen consecutive nights, due to their depiction of simulated sex in the third act. Michael McClure continues to write plays, novels, and books of poetry.
 
Terry Southern.  Red Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes.
Red Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes
Terry Southern
TERRY SOUTHERN GAINED renown in the early sixties as a writer of controversial novels and screenplays. Candy, published in 1958 was one of the few novels in English ever banned in France on grounds of indecency, and The Magic Christian, published in 1960, was a brilliant, dark satire that Lenny Bruce called, “the funniest book I’ve ever read.” Stanley Kubrick tapped Southern to work on Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the bomb, a movie that film historian Robert Sklar said, “satirized the cold-war mentality and helped lay the groundwork for the 1960s counterculture.” Southern later collaborated with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda on Easy Rider, a movie that became an instant counterculture classic.
 
Diane Di Prima.  The City of San Francisco Oracle.
The City of San Francisco Oracle
Allen Cohen, ed.
EVERY SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL movement needs a newspaper and the Oracle became the most important and influential of the serial publications to come out of the Haight Ashbury community. Allen Cohen, with financial backing from psychedelic entrepreneur, Ron Thelin, published the first issue of the Oracle in September 1966. Easily recognized by its psychedelic covers, the Oracle’s goal was, in the words of Cohen, “to judo the tabloid lowprice anguish propaganda and profit form to confront its readers with a rainbow of beauty and words ringing with truth and transcendence.” Vol. 1, no. 7. features Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, Alan Watts, and Gary Snyder on the cover. The four had gathered for a “historic” meeting to discuss “the problem of whether to drop out or take over.”