This is the poetry of the San Francisco Renaissance of the 50s, reconsidered as literature: Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s lyrical cityscapes, Jack Kerouac’s blues and haikus, Allen Ginsberg’s saxophone prophecies, Gregory Corso’s obsessive odes, John Wieners’ true confessions, Michael McClure’s physical hymns, Philip Lamantia’s surreal passions, Gary Snyder’s work songs, Philip Whalen’s loose sutras, Lew Welch’s hermit visions, David Meltzer’s improvisations and discoveries, and Bob Kaufman’s jazz meditations.
Scholarship dances with poetic intuition and insight. Skip the footnotes, or not. Larry Beckett generates where it’s at, cats.
I was genuinely knocked-out by [this] book. A generous & insightful work on poets writ w/ a poet’s mindful heart. Because of its timeline, I assume (& hope) there will be more. It would seem immodest for me to blast a blurb, but my enthusiasm is genuine & immediate.
Larry Beckett’s vivid, highly readable testament to the Beats provides a useful introduction to this wild-side school-out-of-school of American poetry, identifying the movement’s twentieth century “oral scripture” (to quote his essay on Philip Whalen) as enduring Gospel for the Millennium.
Oh sure, it’s all these poems by poets whose names sing in our blood as the heart pumps; but it took Larry Beckett to marry ink to paper in such a way that it appears the words are written on wedding sheets.
Larry Beckett’s long poems are a sequence in progress called American Cycle, inspired by our folklore and past. His work has appeared in Zyzzyva, Margie, and FIELD. His book Songs and Sonnets was published by Rainy Day Women Press.