McKillop Library - On Display

April/May 2006

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Beat Poet Image

POETRY - The Beat Generation

"The Random House Dictionary credits the writer Jack Kerouac for defining the term Beat Beneration, which means 'members of the generation that came of age after World War II who, supposedly as a result of disillusionment stemming from the Cold War, espouse mystical detachment and relaxation of social and sexual tensions.'
Emerging at a time of great postwar change, the Beat Generation was more than a literary movement, but at its heart was its literature."


...from the foreword, by Ann Charters, of the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 16, The Beats: Literary Bohemians in Postwar America.

Diane Di Prima Image of Diane Di Prima Richard Brautigan Image of Richard Brautigan Amiri Baraka Image of Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones) Allen Ginsberg Image of Allen Ginsberg



In Back of the Real - Allen Ginsberg
railroad yard in San Jose
I wandered desolate
in front of a tank factory
and sat on a bench
near the switchman's shack.
A flower lay on the hay on
the asphalt highway
--the dread hay flower
I thought--It had a
brittle black stem and
corolla of yellowish dirty
spikes like Jesus' inchlong
crown, and a soiled
dry center cotton tuft
like a used shaving brush
that's been lying under
the garage for a year.
Yellow, yellow flower, and
flower of industry,
tough spiky ugly flower,
flower nonetheless,
with the form of the great yellow
Rose in your brain!
This is the flower of the World.
Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note - Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones)
Lately, I've become accustomed to the way
The ground opens up and envelopes me
Each time I go out to walk the dog.
Or the broad edged silly music the wind
Makes when I run for a bus...

Things have come to that.

And now, each night I count the stars.
And each night I get the same number.
And when they will not come to be counted,
I count the holes they leave.

Nobody sings anymore.

And then last night I tiptoed up
To my daughter's room and heard her
Talking to someone, and when I opened
The door, there was no one there...
Only she on her knees, peeking into

Her own clasped hands
Beat Resources
  • The Beat Page
    The Beat Page "is intended to provide internet users with access to "all things Beat" on the web."

  • American Museum of Beat Art
    "The American Museum of Beat Art and it's web site is a archive and collection of works and artifacts pertaining to the Beat Generation, it's writers, poets, artists and their offspring. The growing Museum web site also contains an expanding gallery of artworks and artifacts which access Beat culture to anyone on the world wide web."

  • A Brief Guide to Beat Poets
    Information from the Academy of American Poets

Send comments or questions to Laura Kohl, Reference Librarian, x2293 or kohll@salve.edu