The Beats, Black Mountain, and New Modes in American Poetry

BookThe Beats, Black Mountain, and New Modes in American Poetry

The Beats, Black Mountain, and New Modes in American Poetry

Clemson University Press: Beat Studies


September 15th, 2021

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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

Author Information

Matt Theado is a professor of American Culture at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies. He teaches courses on poetry, popular music, gender studies, textual studies, and television. His research focuses on the Beat Generation writers. Recently he has written about obscenity and the Beats, particularly in regard to teaching in today’s classrooms; about Jack Kerouac and country music; and about Kerouac’s interactions with Hollywood movie makers in the 1950s. He is currently preparing a scholarly edition of Kerouac’s On the Road.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
I: Interactions25
1. Anthology Landmark: Beat, Black Mountain, The New American Poetry 27
2. “One physical–mental inspiration of thought”: Allen Ginsberg and Black Mountain Poetics45
3. “There is a kind of revival you would dig taking place”: William Carlos Williams and the “Beat” Issue of The Black Mountain Review57
4. Yugen at the Front73
II: Themes89
5. “to open your ears”: Typing, Time, and the Body in Beat and Black Mountain Poetics91
6. “Imaginatively, go trans-ves”: John Wieners and the New American Poetry’s Queerer Measure105
7. The Janus-Face of American Rugged Individualism: Edward Dorn’s Gunslinger, the Beat Generation, and Simulacra119
8. SANE and Beyond Sane: Poets and the H-bomb, 1958–1960135
9. Hybrid Epistolary Poetic Persuasion: The Environmental Preservation Letters of Charles Olson and Diane di Prima149
10. A Theory of Organic Reading: Denise Levertov and the New American Poetry173
III Society189
11. “It’s always an adventure”: Verbal and Visual Collaborations in the Beat and Black Mountain Circles191
12. Towards an Aesthetic of the Demos209
13. Robert Creeley, Bebop, and the Aesthetics of Alienation225
14. The Pedagogy of Open Form Poetics: Charles Olson, Allen Ginsberg, and Anne Waldman239
15. Outside Inside: The Prison Writing and Teaching of Fielding Dawson257
Notes on Contributors321