I Saw the Best Minds of My Generation….
By Larry Beckett
Beatdom Books, $16.00, 149 pages
Beat Poetry by Larry Beckett is an intriguing exploration of the history of Beats and their poetry. The reader is likely to gain a deeper understanding of these poets who made more references and allusions than some may have known or been able to identify. The book is not an anthology or collection, but rather documentation of some of the styles and motivations of the poets assembled. Famous poets like Ferlinghetti, Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Corso have their own chapters, but the story does not end with them. There are also chapters of lesser known poets and those who followed the very famous ones.
“The name Beat was originally intended by Kerouac to mean beat down; he later revised it to include beatific-in his words, “beat, meaning down and out but full of intense conviction.””
The beat has gone on and one will also learn about and read Weiners, McClure, Lamantia, Snyder, Whalen, Welch, Meltzer and Kaufman in this book. Beat Poetry provides you with insight and explanation rather than making available all of the famous works. There is only Part 1 of Howl presented for example, but Beckett has taken you under the surface to understand why these poets wrote the way they did and sometimes what they were trying to achieve. The story continues since the 50s and 60s which brought this movement to light.
Reviewed by Ryder Miller