Favourite poets from YouTube — Part 8: Beat Generation


So, as you all know, I am a bit of a Beat Generation nut… and a lot of people say “I don’t know much Beat stuff, where should I start?” Well, YouTube is not the greatest Beat resource, but there are some gems there. Here’s good old Allen with ‘Father Death Blues’ — see also America (music by Tom Waits), Howl (read by John Turturro and Allen Ginsberg), & A Supermarket in California (poem starts at about 1:28).


Here’s Bill Burroughs with ‘What Keeps Mankind Alive. There is a fair bit of Burroughs on YouTube… see also Words of Advice for Young People (try to ignore the terrible video montage!), When I Stopped Wanting To Be President, The Do-Rights and what?! William Burroughs advertising for Nike?!


I absolutely love Diane Di Prima and want her to be my crazy poet aunt. Here she is doing a few on ‘Lunch Poems.’ See also April Fool Birthday Poem For Grandpa and a sample from Coming to terms with impermanence.


Undoubtedly the weirdest-looking (and possibly just the weirdest) Beat, here’s Gregory Corso reading Bomb (and telling off the audience at 0:38!). See also Marriage (read by the wonderful Ian Dury), and a snippet of Corso: The Film.

Others: Not fully “a Beat,” but here’s a sweet visualisation of Frank O Hara’s ‘As Planned’ // Jack Kerouac reading from American Haiku and from one of his novels (I can’t work out which — anyone know?).

As always, tell me your favourite YouTube poems!

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2 Responses to “Favourite poets from YouTube — Part 8: Beat Generation”

  1. Desmond Swords Says:

    Jack Kerouac on the Steve Allen show in 1959, the daddy of the bunch who was published after the rest, the best saved till last, the most original of the lot, and if you have not seen this reading before, you (well i did) will immediately see what all the fuss was about.

    An artist in the moment flawless delivery, not your average ranter rambling at the open mic, but a man who had devoted his life to the Muse and this the moment the world saw just who he was.

  2. Regina Says:

    Wow- what great vids, Claire- thanks so much for the links! And I do love Diane… maybe she would consider being my crazy poet aunt too!
    :)

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