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The Beat Book

Writings from the Beat Generation
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Paperback Book
July, 2007
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$33.95 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

The Beat movement that emerged in the early 1950s was not just another literary genre, but a literary and social revolution. The Beat writers were, according to William Burroughs, “real architects of change... There’s no doubt that we’re living in a freer America as a result of the Beat literary movement, which is an important part of the larger picture of cultural political change during the last forty years, when a four-letter word couldn’t appear on the printed page, and minority rights were ridiculous.”

Collected here are the best and most important writings of the Beat literature, both prose and poetry, edited by Anne Waldman, a Beat poet herself, who is intimately familiar with the life and work of these writers. The Beat Book includes selections from Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky, Diane di Prima, Amiri Baraka, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Joanne Kyger, Philip Whalen, Michael McClure, and Gary Snyder. Short biographies of the contributors are included, as well as a unique “Literary Guide to Beat Places” around the world—from Kerouac’s hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts, to Tangier, Morocco, where Burroughs wrote part of Naked Lunch.

Anne Waldman writes in her intro:

As scattered as the lives may have become, as destructive as some of them have seemed, as diverse as the kinds of writing—autobiographical prose, epistolary riff, spontaneous poetry, polemic, satire, political manifesto, memoir—are, there’s an unabashed candor operating inside this literature that cuts directly to the hopes & fears of the human psyche. Its impulse is gathered & centered in generosity. Insight & clarity are the driving impulses that shoot through into linguistic intensity and vivid description. The work strikes you with its immediacy, its relevance to all human endeavor. Its candid American speech rhythms, jazz rhythms, boxcar rhythms, industrial rhythms, its rhapsody, its skillful cut-up juxtapositions, and an expansiveness that mirrors the primordial chaos come into play constantly. This is writing that thumbs its nose at complacency.


Publisher’s Description: 

The Beat movement exploded into American culture in the early 1950s with the force of prophecy. Not just another literary school, it was an artistic and social revolution. William S. Burroughs proclaimed that the Beat writers were real architects of change. There is no doubt that were living in a freer America as a result of the Beat literary movement, which is an important part of the larger picture of cultural and political change in this country during the last forty years, when a four-letter word couldnt appear on the printed page and minority rights were ridiculous.

Anne Waldman, a renowned poet and longtime friend of many of these writers, has gathered in this volume a range of the best and most exemplary writings of the Beat poets and novelists. Selections from the Beat classics appear, as well as more recent prose and poetry demonstrating the continued vitality of the Beat experiment. Included are short biographies of the contributors, an extensive bibliography of Beat literature, and a unique guide to Beat places around the worldfrom Kerouacs hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts, where his novel Dr. Sax takes place, to Tangier, where Burroughs wrote parts of Naked Lunch. BEAT BOOK: Writings from the Beat Generation, edited by Anne Waldman, at $16.95 from Shambhala Publications, ISBN 1590304551 / 9781590304556. Here is an unusually diverse collection of Beat voices, including not only Kerouac, Burroughs, Snyder and Ginsberg, but Amiri Baraka, Gregory Corso, Diane di Prima, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Joanne Kyger, Michael McClure, Peter Orlovsky and Philip Whalen. Also included are short biographies of the writers and a Literary Guide to Beat Places around the world. The fact that Waldmans book is of such high quality is no surprise; a poet herself, she co-founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado. - Booklist. 400 pp.

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