I’m emotional and aggressive, I’m probably on my period
Let me cook for you and clean for you, I’ll wash all your pants
Do you need anything ironing, I’m good at that too?
How about a sandwich, brown bread or white? Anything for you!
I’m a jealous crazed lunatic, I’m probably hungry
Let me listen to you, console you and tell you you’re right
Do you need a cup of tea, one sugar or two?
How about putting the football back on? Only watched 6 hours of it tonight!
I’m neurotic and picky, I’m probably just tired
Let me get your slippers darling, your feet must be cold
I’m sorry I was wrong because you’re always right
How about you talk to me about politics and religion? I’m not very bright
I don’t know anything about sport
I’m a gossip
I love reality shows
I like makeup and hair
I can’t throw or catch
I’m scared to walk home alone
I need a man
I’m a woman
The Beat Generation was a literary movement in the 1950’s. The founders of the Beat generation met at Columbia university, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Their work explored and was influenced by American culture and politics in the post-World War II era. The bulk of their work was published and popularised throughout the 1950s. Ginsberg is quoted as saying “We were not trying to make a social revolution; we were just trying to propose our own souls to ourselves”. In America at the time there was a strong sense of conformity and they were an anti-conformist youth movement that rejected standard narrative values and materialism. They were searching and they new that they were not satisfied with that was. They began a spiritual quest, exploration of American and Eastern religions, experimentation with psychedelic drugs, and sexual liberation and exploration.
They were heavily influenced by African American culture and Jazz, Specifically Bebop. Other influences include Romantic poets such as Shelley and Blake and the American Transcendental movement, this influenced the confrontational politics often seen in works of the Beats. The works of Beat authors were seen as obscene and threatening to the establishment. Too many the artistic productions of the beats crossed the line into pornography and therefore merited censorship. Criticism of the beat generations behavior came from many corners of society, the academic community insisted the beats were anti-intellectual and unrefined. Mainstream America was horrified by their supposed sexual deviancy and illicit drug use.
Beat poetry is something I have not come across before however after reading/listening to some I am very interested in it. To me it seems closer to lyrics of a song or rap than poetry. The rhythm is very music like and the content is very evocative of emotion and feeling. I can see how it is likely that beats poetry was influenced by romantic authors such as Blake. I understand the reasoning behind the movement. As a young person at university similarly to them at the time it is difficult to want to or to be able to conform to the ideals presented to you as being goals and benchmarks to aim for. For example, it is often expected in todays society that your goals in life are to get a degree, get a good job, get married, have children and retire. It is difficult to believe that that is all there is. This feeling I have now over 60 years after the beats generation are the same feelings they encountered at that time. However, they wrote about it, they started a conversation and they challenged the status quo.
It’s the beat generation, its beat, it’s the beat to keep, it’s the beat of the heart, it’s being beat and down in the world and like old time lowdown and like in ancient civilizations the slave boatmen rowing galleys to a beat and servants spinning pottery to a beat. – Jack Kerouac
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