Friday, November 19, 2010

When The Beats Go Marching In

The Beats are alive and well thanks to a slew of new releases. One example: Yony Leyser's William S. Burroughs: A Man Within (2010). I love Burroughs' work and persona -- though a little of his writing at one time can go a long way, I could listen to him speak for a great while longer. Like Gore Vidal's, his delivery is often damned near perfect. It's always seemed to me that Burroughs will be perceived as a primary 20th century literary figure, ahead of his time. I Compare him to the now well-recieved visual artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century who were belittled or virtually ignored in their own time. It's worth noting that artists like Patti Smith and Iggy Pop have always advocated for Burroughs.

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's Howl (2010) looks to be good, too. Like most librarians and writers and artists, I've always held free speech as a cornerstone and seen obscenity trials and book bannings/burnings a pernicious joke, the end of freedom. 

Along the same lines as Allen Ginsberg, consider the cases of James Joyce, Henry Miller, Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, and suppressed voices like Costa-Gavras (try finding even in 2010 a copy of his films État de Siège / State of Siege or Hannah K., in the USA).

Today's Rune: Wholeness.


the walking man said...

Anything but HOWL. Torture to the mind and eyes. Burroughs is well accepted in his experimental work but not a one of them of the era rises to the level of them who rejected the experimental for living their insanity. Bukowski and Brautigan.

I could listen to Buk's gravelly voice making threats to cut his audience as he mocked the "San Fran" fella's who would travel south to visit and when he'd drunk their money away he'd send them away home.

I am happy though that *shudder* (for even using his name) Ginsburg won the trial over Howl. Made so much more work possible. Like everything the Sex Pistols ever sang.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm pretty far out of the loop as far as this literary movement is concerned. while it was going on I was reading Bradbury, clarke, Anderson and others in the genres. When I finally came around to sampling the Beats I just couldn't get into it. Never saw the relationship with my own life.

Erik Donald France said...

WM, chuckles ~ Ginsberg is not one of my faves, either, but he was an interesting figure, certainly. I also lole Bukowski and Brautigan, They all in their own ways lived the Bohemian life, though Jack K did go back to his Mama fairly regularly. Viva Sex Pistols!
Charles, these folks did inspire me at 20-23 to set out and see the world. That was around the time of the 25th aniversary of On the Road. Now we've blown by the 50th anniversdary; such are the sands of time.