From Publishers Weekly
For a fresh take on an often simplified historical moment, look at Beat Down to Your Soul: What Was the Beat Generation? in which Ann Charters has assembled some obscure and some familiar material by and about beatniks. In a letter to poet and critic Richard Eberhart, Allen Ginsberg says, "I was flattered... by the idea of recognition but really didn't agree with your evaluation of my own poetry," and explains, for 11 pages, his aesthetic and social intentions. Henry Louis Gates Jr. explores how writer Anatole Broyard, whose essay "A Portrait of the Hipster" appeared in the Partisan Review in 1948, passed as white early in his career in New York. Diane di Prima's piece about her newsletter with LeRoi Jones, Floating Bear, evokes the excitement of the early '60s East Village poetry scene.
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About the Author
Ann Charters has had a thirty-year involvement with Beat literature. She was the editor of The Portable Beat Reader
, The Portable Jack Kerouac
, and two volumes of Jack Kerouac Selected Letters
. She teaches at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.