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Beat Movement

The “Beat Movement” in modern literature has become an important
period in the history of literature and society in America. Incorporating
influences such as jazz, art, literature, philosophy and religion, the beat
writers created a new and prophetic vision of modern life and changed the way a
generation of people sees the world. That generation is mow aging and its
representative voices are becoming lost to eternity, but the message is alive
and well. The Beats have forever altered the nature of American consciousness.


The Beat Generation of writers offered the world a new attitude. They brought to
society a consciousness of life worth living. They offered a method of escape
from the stultifying, unimaginative world we live in, through the exploration of
one’s intellect. Beat has had many different contemporary implications in music,
poetry and literature. Literature has been liberated considerably. The poetic
form has been changed to inaugurate a new poetic form, an American form.

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“There was less emphasis on tradition and more emphasis on the individual
talent. (www.rohan.sdsu.edu)” One of the most important contributions to
contemporary verse was to take poetry out of the classrooms and into
non-academic settingcoffee houses, jazz clubs, large public auditoriums and
even athletic stadiums. Poetry is more popular and more read than anytime in
history, not only spoken poetry but also sung poetry of a high order. “The
literature, coordinated by pop music, with a way of dressing, with a way of
life, it something that has influenced the youth of the world not only in
Western countries but Eastern countries as well. (www.charm.net)” Music has
been influenced greatly by Beat writing. The lyrics of many great songs have
forever been changed by the writing of the Beat Generation. “Bob Dylan’s
favorite poet was Allen Ginsberg. Ginsberg became one of Dylan’s greatest
friends. He worked on many projects with Dylan…The band Rage Against the
Machine has many of Ginsberg’s poems and words show up in their songs. For
instance the song ‘Bulls on Parade’ includes Ginsberg ‘Hadda Been Playing on the
Jukebox’ (www.charm.net)” Generation X writers are compared to the Beat
writers. Many people say that the “generation coming to age has the
potential to bring a new vision to society. The Beats thumbed their noses at the
corporate world just like Generation X does today. (www.altx.com/io/beatgeneration.html)”
Many writers of Generation X have been influenced by the writing like Andy
Clausen, Eliot Katz, Geoffrey Manough and Ed Sanders. There are many writers
that have been influenced but have not been included in the Generation X
section. These writers took up the flame of the Beat flavor, keeping it strong.


James Wright was one of the writers that kept the flame going. “He was much
admired poet of his generation…(www.rohan.sdsu.edu)” His works have a
“sense of Midwestern American bleakness…(www.rohan.sdsu)” One of his
poems goes like this “My bones turn to dark emeralds Your hands turn yellow
in the ruins of the sun Suddenly I realize That if I stepped out of my body I
would break Into blossom (www.rohan.sdsu.edu)” Another such writer with
Beat flavor would be Adrienne Rich. “Rich’s work established the importance
of gender in shaping a poetic consciousness and she became a mentor to thousands
of women, enabling them to ‘speak the unspeakable,’ to authenticate their unique
experience of reality. (www.rohan.sdsu.edu)” Beat writing has made a great
impact on the writing of today’s generation. It has allowed people to be more
open with themselves and the people that are reading their works. It is also
allowed people to be more open minded to new ideas that these works brought to
the surface for everybody to see. Where early writing was stiff, beat writing
allowed for the writing to come after it to beat to a different drummer. Beat
writing has expanded the world of literature, poetry and music to a higher level
for people to enjoy.


Bibliography
www.charm.net/brooklyn/Topics/BeatGen.html www.lib.virginia.edu/exhibits/sixties/index.html
www.rohan.sdsu.edu

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