The Beats, Black Mountain, and New Modes of American Poetry explores correspondences amongst the Black Mountain and Beat Generation writers, two of most well-known and influential groups of poets in the 1950s. The division of writers as Beat or Black Mountain has hindered our understanding of the ways that these poets developed from mutual influences, benefitted from direct relations, and overlapped their boundaries. This collection of academic essays refines and adds context to Beat Studies and Black Mountain Studies by investigating the groups’ intersections and undercurrents. One goal of the book is to deconstruct the Beat and Black Mountain labels in order to reveal the shifting and fluid relationships among the individual poets who developed a revolutionary poetics in the 1950s and beyond. Taken together, these essays clarify the radical experimentation with poetics undertaken by these poets.
'Grace’s collection contains a range of insightful close readings, astute contextualizing, and inventive lateral pedagogical thinking, charting the transformation of the Beat scene from its free-wheeling, self-help, heady revolutionary 1960’s days to its contemporary position as an increasingly respectable component of the curriculum. [...] The Beats: A Teaching Companion is successful on a number of levels; it is a noteworthy contribution to the ever-expanding field of Beat studies and, more broadly, cultural studies; and it is a collection that at its best gives hope that in referring to its ideas the inspired teacher may still be able to enlarge the lives of his/her students.'
John Shapcott, European Beats Studies Network