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Chapter 3 - The Beats and the San Francisco Renaissance

from Part I - American Poetry from 1945 to 1970

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 2022

Andrew Epstein
Affiliation:
Florida State University
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Summary

This chapter introduces the Beat movement and traces its origins, its history, and its legacy. The chapter examines the Beats’ most important formal innovations, thematic concerns, historic importance, and cultural influence by focusing especially on the poet at the center of the Beats, Allen Ginsberg and his controversial groundbreaking poem “Howl” and other major works. The chapter also discusses other Beat poets, including Gregory Corso and Diane Di Prima, as well as issues of gender and race in relation to the Beat movement. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the San Francisco Renaissance and focuses especially on one of the most influential poets of that movement, Jack Spicer.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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