Day: July 30, 1994


Buddhism, the ancient and highly philosophical Asian tradition, was the religion of the Beats. It began to influence the lives of the major New York Beat writers in the mid-1950s, when Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg each began delving into it, unaware at first that the other was doing so … Read the rest

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A small industrial city on the Passaic River in northern New Jersey, Paterson was the subject of an epic poem by William Carlos Williams, who celebrated its grimy, unspectacular American-ness. Years later Allen Ginsberg would emerge from Paterson’s Jewish neighborhoods.

Ginsberg’s Paterson is strikingly similar to Jack Kerouac‘s … Read the rest

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In the autumn of 1947, 25-year-old Jack Kerouac left San Francisco and headed for Southern California in search of unforeseen adventures. He met a Mexican girl named Bea Franco on a bus and ended up following her to an encampment of Mexican grape- and cotton-pickers, where they briefly contemplated a … Read the rest

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St. Louis

When young Lucien Carr left his hometown of St. Louis to study at Columbia University in the early forties, he was setting off a chain reaction that would have effects beyond what he could have possibly imagined. An older St. Louis man named David Kammerer was in love with Carr … Read the rest

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San Francisco

Like several people who have more money than I do, The Beat Generation had two homes, one in New York and one on the San Francisco Bay. The Beat movement originated in New York City, but San Francisco’s West Coast ways helped to mellow the hard-edged New York Beats — … Read the rest

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Greenwich Village

Centuries ago, the term ‘New-York City’ referred to a tiny but bustling commercial center on the southern tip of Manhattan Island. Greenwich Village, a long walk away from what was then ‘the city,’ was an actual village; that is, people lived there because they didn’t want to live in the … Read the rest

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