Beat Generation

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Home: Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s Little Boy by Alex Zafiris
Little Boy

Memories and literary references fuse and spark in this autobiography about the co-founder of City Lights Bookstore.

You Don’t Know Jack by Ammiel Alcalay
Jack Kerouac 01

Doing justice to Jack Kerouac in Todd Tietchen’s The Unknown Kerouac and Jean-Christophe Cloutier’s La vie est d’hommage

Daniel Kane’s We Saw the Light: Conversations Between the New American Cinema and Poetry by Abigail Child
Kenneth Anger

The era is largely the 1960s—the Beats and New York School are active and on both coasts, poets and filmmakers are meeting in productive, transformative ways. In We Saw the Light, Daniel Kane distills these relations, referencing letters, social networks, historical group formations, and interactions between these men (and they are usually men)—whether as audience, scriptwriter, actor, collaborator, or even “houseboy.”

Deborah Baker’s A Blue Hand: The Beats in India by Betsy Sussler
​Allen Ginsberg in Benares

While Deborah Baker’s packed compendium does indeed tell stories of the Beats in India and more—Corso’s confessions of unrequited love, Burroughs’s surly brushes with sex and death, Kerouac’s ad hoc pronouncements on writing and marriage—Ginsberg is the protagonist of this lush tale. 

Allen Ginsberg by Anne Waldman

I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg
by Bill Morgan (Ginsberg’s archivist for the last 20 years of his life): Viking/Penguin, October

Perdido by Gilbert Sorrentino

In 1953, or early 1954, Dan Burke was seeing, as they used to say, Claire Walsh, who was pregnant by another man, a lummox known as “Swede” to his lummox friends. 

Marie Ponsot by Benjamin Ivry
Ponsot 01 Body

Born in 1921 in Jamaica, Queens, Marie Ponsot published her first book of poems, True Minds(1957), in the legendary City Lights poetry series, which also included Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind. I

Diz by Amiri Baraka

I was into the Orioles, Ruth Brown, Larry Darnell, Louie Jordan, The Ravens, Ya know, the late ’40s, just going into high school. When my 1st cousin, George, let me have his older brother Sonny’s BeBop collection!

Burroughs by Howard Brookner
Bomb 7 Ginsburg 001 Body

This is Wittgenstein: “If we have a prerecorded universe in which everything is prerecorded, then the only thing that is not prerecorded are the prerecordings themselves! If with my cut ups I was attempting to tamper with the original prerecordings, then I think I have succeeded to some modest extent.”

Untitled Drawing by William Burroughs

Untitled, marker on cardboard.

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