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

Edited by Matt Theado

The Beats, Black Mountain, and New Modes of American Poetry explores correspondences among 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 book refines and adds context to both 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, the chapters of this study clarify the radical experimentation with poetics undertaken by this generation of poets.

Introduction | Matt Theado

I. Interactions
1. Anthology Landmark: Beat, Black Mountain, The New American Poetry | A. Robert Lee
2. “One physical-mental inspiration of thought”: Allen Ginsberg and Black Mountain Poetics | Luke Walker
3. “There is a kind of revival you would dig taking place”: William Carlos Williams and the “Beat” Issue of The Black Mountain Review | Paul Cappucci
4. Yugen at the Front | Steven Belletto

II. Themes
5. “to open your ears”: Typing, Time, and the Body in Beat and Black Mountain Poetics | George Hart
6. “Imaginatively, go trans-ves”: John Wieners and the New American Poetry’s Queerer Measure | Eric Keenaghan
7. The Janus-Face of American Rugged Individualism: Edward Dorn’s Gunslinger, the Beat Generation, and Simulacra | Kurt Hemmer
8. SANE and Beyond Sane: Poets and the H-bomb, 1958-1960 | Daniel Belgrad
9. Hybrid Epistolary Poetic Persuasion: The Environmental Preservation Letters of Charles Olson and Diane di Prima | Nancy M. Grace
10. A Theory of Organic Reading: Denise Levertov and the New American Poetry | John Wrighton

III. Society
11. “It’s always an adventure“: Verbal and Visual Collaborations in the Beat and Black Mountain Circles | Barbara Montefalcone
12. Towards an Aesthetic of the Demos| Todd Tietchen
13. Robert Creeley, Bebop, and the Aesthetics of Alienation | Fiona Paton
14. The Pedagogy of Open Form Poetics: Charles Olson, Anne Waldman, and Allen Ginsberg | Erik Mortenson
15. Outside Inside: The Prison Writing and Teaching of Fielding Dawson | Joseph Bathanti

About the Editor

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.

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Pages: 344 pages

Published: October 2021


ISBN: 978-1-94997-993-0

ISBN: 978-1-94997-994-7




Beat Studies Series