Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Getting Started with The Beats

I'm nervous typing something out without 3 or 4 drafts of editing. That's because almost everything- neh- Every-Single-Thing- on this blog is a draft that has been picked over- they are pieces of art. This little rant? Not so much. However- the idea of having no venue for getting my thoughts out of my head is too scary- unpolished here I come.

Does anyone have any advise for someone who is exploring the Beat Poets for the first time? I have read lots by Allen Ginsberg, work that I loved failing to put my finger on- and now I'm using the summer to write some literary scholarship- probably on the Beat Poets. I'm trying to cultivate my sense of Americanness. I am more aware of it than I was before I lived in England for three years-but I still can't nail it down. Reading, watching on HBO, and helping backstage for Tony Kuchner's Angels in America excited me in a way I still don't quite understand. I want to peer at it some more- this nation. I think I want to see the sense of America from different eras-and Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, a lot of these names were frightened by/fascinated/disgusted/enamoured of this country.

I'm starting with Kerouac's introduction in The Americans, a hugely influential book of photography by Robert Frank. Kerouac, who I have somehow never read, has a fantastic rolling voice, and I'm about to dive into the book of photos. I want to get a sense of the time period before I get into the heady scholarly debate.

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