Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Beats of Summer - A Different Beat

A Different Beat: Writing by Women of the Beat GenerationA Different Beat: Writing by Women of the Beat Generation by Richard Peabody
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am so happy I read this book, it saved this whole reading challenge for me.  I was starting to think there was nothing of Beat writing that I would enjoy or understand.

Here is a quick rundown of the pieces I enjoyed most in his book:

Carolyn Cassady - from Off the Road: My Years with Cassady, Kerouac, and Ginsberg
What was really interesting about reading this pieces was reading it after reading On the Road.  Jack Kerouac really did pull from real life in creating the character of Dean and basing it on Neil Cassady.  In this passage Carolyn recounts how Neil had been living with a woman in NYC while she was still in California.  His new girlfriend calls Carolyn everyday to relate what's going on with her and Neil.  Carolyn grants the divorce but before it can be finalized Neil is already down in Mexico marrying his girl.  Then no sooner does he marry her than he's leaving and trying to get Carolyn back.  Of course Carolyn being a strong woman told him no, but he could be a part of the lives of his children.

Leo Skir - Elise Cowen: A brief memoir of the fifties
I didn't care for the poetry of Elise Cowen, but this account of her life was interesting.  She seemed to float around not really connected to any one, but not completely separate either.

Eileen Kaufman - from Who Wouldn't Walk with Tigers
This excerpt was about how Eileen met Bob Kaufman and became his woman.  I finished it and was like 'what?'.  Bob just tells her "You're my woman now." and she just accepts it and goes with it all. She was dedicated to him and his poetry so maybe it all made sense to her.

I thought the two excepts of work from two of the wives of Jack Kerouac were interesting. They both show that he was selfish and did what he wanted based on what he felt he needed.  There was also some work by his one daughter, one he claimed wasn't his. I really enjoyed the accounts of life during this time period in this social set.  Everyone kind of drifted along and did their own thing.  I don't know how they survived but they did and they really did impact American culture.

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  1. I don't get those beat poets... I remember talking about it in one of my English classes at Rowan but I could never get behind it. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it though!

    1. A lot of these were essays or chapters out of books. Those were easy to read and those I could understand.