Blog 1 – The Beats – Harry Evans

The busy streets never stop buzzing, jumping or swaying with the feet of the city, merchandise and shopping and retail sales propel these disparate groups of worshippers.

Exchanging funds and items neither party are really in need of, waiting for the next sale or refund neither party really wants, 

Countless hours wasted behind the till willing the hours away watching the fights and the surprises and the shooting the breeze of the faceless crowd that passes by,

Countless hours wasted trying to be unique as part of the faceless crowd all buying the same things thinking they’ll impress, shock or seduce,

Countless hours wasted seduced by sales and shocked by shops but never impressed by imprinted desires and dreams that account to nothing inside the not-so-complex multiplex

This short beat poem is inspired by the beat movement of the 1950s on the west coast of America and the group that formed the movement; Lucien Carr, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. It’s Ginsberg’s poem Howl that inspired this piece the most, as it is the first beat poem I thoroughly  enjoyed. In comparison to Howl Jack Kerouac’s On The Road shows a different interpretation of the beat generation’s writing. Kerouac’s novel uses the same techniques as Ginsberg but in the format of the writing is different due to the nature of a poem vs novel.

Reading and writing beat poetry I only see panning images of what is described and I think the use of a longer and more colloquial sentence structure helps give the writer a certain creative freedom; this allows them to freely explore numerous ideas  within the same line. The sparsity of full stops allows this blurring of ideas between one another and I find this to be a very interesting idea.

In my poem I have tried to explore consumerism and manic scenes we’ve become very familiar with, especially after the advent of Black Friday sales…

The repeated phrase of “countless hours wasted” is directly inspired by Ginsberg’s repeated opening to many lines through Howl: “Who”, “Moloch” and “I’m”.

Herbert Huncke is credited with inspiring the name of the Beat Generation and to the generation who would soon become the Beat Generation the word beat was associated with being beaten down and disheartened. This is how I’ve perceived the word ‘beat’ too, which is why my – admittedly short – beat poem portrays the necessary mundanity of shopping as a negative soul destroying experience.

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