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The Portable Beat Reader (Viking Portable Library) (1992)

by Ann Charters (Editor)

Other authors: Amiri Baraka (Contributor), Ray Bremser (Contributor), Charles Bukowski (Contributor), William S. Burroughs Jr. (Contributor), William S. Burroughs (Contributor)32 more, Neal Cassady (Contributor), Gregory Corso (Contributor), Diane DiPrima (Contributor), Bob Dylan (Contributor), William Everson (Contributor), Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Contributor), Brenda Frazer (Contributor), Allen Ginsberg (Contributor), Brion Gysin (Contributor), John Clellon Homles (Contributor), Herbert Huncke (Contributor), Joyce Johnson (Contributor), Hettie Jones (Contributor), Bob Kaufman (Contributor), Jack Kerouac (Contributor), Ken Kesey (Contributor), Tuli Kupferberg (Contributor), Philip Lamantia (Author), Norman Mailer (Contributor), Michael McClure (Contributor), Jack Micheline (Contributor), Frank O'Hara (Contributor), Peter Orlovsky (Contributor), Kenneth Rexroth (Contributor), Ed Sanders (Contributor), Gary Snyder (Contributor), Carl Solomon (Contributor), Anne Walman (Contributor), Alan W. Watts (Contributor), Lew Welch (Contributor), Philip Whalen (Contributor), John Wieners (Contributor)

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1,4431011,987 (4.02)15
Collection of poetry, prose and excerts from writers who were part of the "Beat Generation."

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» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Signed by Chartes, Ginsberg, orlovsky, Ted Joan’s, Ed Sanders
  AdrianHood | Nov 26, 2022 |
  laplantelibrary | Sep 14, 2022 |
As an anthology, The Portable Beat Reader excellently showcases the 'best' work of 'The Beat Writers' of the 1950’s and later. Its contents include poems, short stories, and selections from lengthier works. The title of the book probably accurately describes its content.
I read the book as a part of required reading for a class in which I enrolled. Beat Writers have never resonated with me and I generally dislike their work. I took the class hoping that if I understood the work and the creators of it a little better, I might come to understand and like their works. Both the class, the professor, and this book thoroughly explained Beat Writing and its particular niche in literature. The teacher presented the writers, which he thinks highly of, as "ahead of their time."
Frankly, for me, their nichę is still the trash-can.
Now that I understand them, I dislike them even more than I had.
I do have more accurate insights into these writers and this is what I now understand about them.
1. They were a group of self-righteous and arrogant people blessed with natural talent but too lazy to do the work that would develop their talent into actual literary skill.
2. Instead of working on becoming serious writers, they chose to admire their own drivel and then fruitlessly justify it to people who actually understand what good writing is. They did succeed in self-delusion, however, and succeeded in finding publishers with poor judgment.
3. They regularly and vociferously bemoaned how misunderstood they were. This perception of their work shows that, in addition to being arrogant, they were delusional.
4. Some writers today even attempt this same kind of poor craftsmanship. Avoid them! Even poor writers are better than writers who believe themselves good in spite of the evidence.

What these writers needed rather than hapless publishers and foolish book-buyers was a qualified sophomore high school composition teacher, a different occupation that they'd actually be good at, a lesson in the difference between talent and vanity, and a good stout spanking. ( )
  PaulLoesch | Apr 2, 2022 |
Poets, drug addicts, criminals, alcoholics, hedonists, ne'er-do-wells, agitators, college dropouts, social revolutionaries; the Beats were the voice of the Lost Generation born (mostly) between two world wars, looking for fresh artistic outlets and ideas away from those approved by contemporary academe. They found them. ( )
  piquant00 | Oct 20, 2018 |
A really nice sampling of “beat” literature! Sort of like a greatest hits compilation! Parts 1-3 were full of writings that I love, and that were wonderful to revisit! I especially enjoyed reading the "Joan Anderson" piece! Part 4 fell pretty flat for me, as did part 6 and the appendix. But Part 5 was my joy! The writings in it gave me the feeling of the people on the periphery of the Beats - the children, lovers, spouses, etc.! I really glorify and romanticize many of the Beat authors and literature, and this section grounded me a bit, showing some of the real consequences of that lifestyle and movement. Strong stuff. And strong book! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Dec 19, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charters, AnnEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baraka, AmiriContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bremser, RayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bukowski, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burroughs Jr., William S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burroughs, William S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cassady, NealContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Corso, GregoryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
DiPrima, DianeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dylan, BobContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Everson, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferlinghetti, LawrenceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Frazer, BrendaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ginsberg, AllenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gysin, BrionContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Homles, John ClellonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Huncke, HerbertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnson, JoyceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, HettieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kaufman, BobContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kerouac, JackContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kesey, KenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kupferberg, TuliContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lamantia, PhilipAuthorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mailer, NormanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McClure, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Micheline, JackContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Hara, FrankContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Orlovsky, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rexroth, KennethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sanders, EdContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Snyder, GaryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Solomon, CarlContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Walman, AnneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Watts, Alan W.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Welch, LewContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Whalen, PhilipContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wieners, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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We were so many,
We were working as one,
We were miles of moiling wheat
In a sizzling summer's heat.
But now we are scattered
And flung far apart,
But you and I still live as one
Through coals in the heart.
And if anything is left
Of the coal in the soul,
Oh, flash it to me.

--Ed Sanders, "Keeping the Issues Alive" (Song)


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[Introduction] Earlier in the history of American literature, the novelist Henry James acknowledged in his biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne that "the best things come, as a general thing, from the talents that are members of a group; every man works better when he has companions working in the same line, and yielding the stimulus of suggestion, comparison, emulation."
The poet Gary Snyder once joked there was no Beat Generation - it consisted of only three or four people, and four people don't make up a generation.
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Collection of poetry, prose and excerts from writers who were part of the "Beat Generation."

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