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GUEST,TJ in San Diego Song Based on Alan Ginsburg's Howl? (11) RE: Song Based on Alan Ginsburg's Howl? 28 Dec 09


Wow. How many in the audience remember the "Beat Generation," "Beat poets" or "Beatniks?" When I was a young lad, San Francisco's North Beach coffee houses were full of them, before the "great folk scare" replaced poets with musicians. On the east coast, Greenwich Village had its own version. We were being exposed to beat poetry in my high school english classes in the late 1950's. Here's Wikipedia's take on it - not too far off:

The Beat Generation is a term used to describe a group of American writers who came to prominence in the 1950s, and the cultural phenomena that they wrote about and inspired (later sometimes called "beatniks"). Central elements of "Beat" culture include a rejection of mainstream American values, experimentation with drugs and alternate forms of sexuality, and an interest in Eastern spirituality.

The major works of Beat writing are Allen Ginsberg's Howl (1956), William S. Burroughs's Naked Lunch (1959) and Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957).[1] Both Howl and Naked Lunch were the focus of obscenity trials that ultimately helped to liberalize what could be published in the United States. On the Road transformed Kerouac's friend Neal Cassady into a youth-culture hero. The members of the Beat Generation quickly developed a reputation as new bohemian hedonists, who celebrated non-conformity and spontaneous creativity.

The original "Beat Generation" writers met in New York. Later, the central figures (with the exception of Burroughs) ended up together in San Francisco in the mid-1950s where they met and became friends with figures associated with the San Francisco Renaissance. During the 1960s, the rapidly expanding Beat culture underwent a transformation: the Beat Generation gave way to the Sixties Counterculture, which was accompanied by a shift in public terminology from "beatnik" to "hippie."


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