The Best Minds of My Generation: A Literary History of the Beats (Paperback)
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In 1977, twenty years after the publication of his landmark poem "Howl," and Jack Kerouac's seminal book On the Road, Allen Ginsberg decided it was time to teach a course on the literary history of the Beat Generation. Through the creation of this course, which he ended up teaching five times, first at the Naropa Institute and later at Brooklyn College, Ginsberg saw an opportunity to present the history of Beat Literature in his own inimitable way. Compiled and edited by renowned Beat scholar Bill Morgan, and with an introduction by Anne Waldman, The Best Minds of My Generation presents the lectures in edited form, complete with notes, and paints a portrait of the Beats as Ginsberg knew them: friends, confidantes, literary mentors, and fellow revolutionaries. Ginsberg was seminal to the creation of a public perception of Beat writers and knew all of the major figures personally, making him uniquely qualified to be the historian of the movement. In The Best Minds of My Generation, Ginsberg shares anecdotes of meeting Kerouac, Burroughs, and other writers for the first time, explains his own poetics, elucidates the importance of music to Beat writing, discusses visual influences and the cut-up method, and paints a portrait of a group who were leading a literary revolution. For Beat aficionados and neophytes alike, The Best Minds of My Generation is a personal yet critical look at one of the most important literary movements of the twentieth century.
About the Author
Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) was a poet, activist, and one of the Beat Generation's most renowned writers. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and co-founder of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute. He won the National Book Award for Poetry and his groundbreaking poem Howl is one of the most widely read and translated poems of the century. Bill Morgan has written and edited thirty-nine books, including I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg. Anne Waldman is an internationally acclaimed poet, scholar, and activist. She is the author of more than 40 books, including Fast Speaking Woman, Vow to Poetry, and Helping the Dreamer. She is a recipient of the American Book Award's Lifetime Achievement and the Poetry Society of America's Shelley Memorial Award. She divides her time between New York City and Boulder, Colorado.