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Influential Poets Of The Beat Generation

1499 words - 6 pages

The Beat Generation of poets was created by a group of poets in the 1950s that were part of a new culture in literature. They chose to use their experiences in their writings which were widely criticized as well as loved by many readers. Two of the most influential Beat Poets of that Generation of writers were Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The Beat Generation poetry was the first poets to write about non-conventional subjects as well as using different forms of expression in their works. This generation of poets greatly influenced poets such as Anne Sexton, who wrote about personal experiences as well. The Beat Generation’s style of poetry have influenced many generations of poets after them.
The Beat Generation of Poets started in the 1950s and was not only influential with their style of writing but also was radical with the content of their poetry. According the Ginsberg, an influential poet of the Beat Generation
The phrase “beat generation” arose of a specific conversation
between Jack Kerouac and John Clellan Holmes in 1948. They
were discussing the nature of generations, recollecting the glamour
of the Lost Generation, and Kerouac said, “Ah, this is nothing but a
beat generation” and the name stuck. (Waldman, xiii)
The term “beat” had several different meanings in the 1950s but the most common definition meant “run down, tired.” Within that decade the definition began to change to mean “beautiful” or “beatific” which was penned by Kerouac. Not long after the meaning became associated with the idea of a “group of friends who had worked together on their writings. But the most common known definition of “beat generation” is the influence of poets, filmmakers, writers, painters or novelists who believed in a different way of thinking and life, and it showed in their works. These people believed in a bohemian style of life (Ginsberg, xv, in Waldmen). The Beat Generation is characterized as a group of poets after World War II, they are widely known and recognized for their works because it is not only well documents but also because they inspired many future generation of writers.
The elements of the Beat Generation’s poetry are drugs, sexuality, religion centering on the Eastern World, rejection of materialism and freedom of expression. The members of this movement were known as non-conformists and were spontaneously creative in their writings. Thomas Merrill states that the influence of drugs in the movement was:
The incessant search for reality within (through drugs, meditation and intense feeling) was a quest for authenticity that reason, it was felt, deadened. It called for the reconnaissance at the extremes of human experience, as far beyond the limits of reason as possible, thus placing uncommon stress upon subjunctive moods. (Merrill, 2)
Influences of the Beat Movement can be noted in the next phase of American History: Hippie counter-culture of the 1960s. The Beat Generation was an important political...

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