The Portable Beat Reader

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Ann Charters (Ed.): The Portable Beat Reader. London ... : Penguin, 1992 (Penguin Classics) (Englisch)


Introduction - “Variations On A Generation”

Part I - “The Best Minds Of A Generation”

East Coast Beats

1. Jack Kerouac

On the Road (excerpt)

The Subterraneans (excerpt)

Mexico City Blues (excerpt)

211th Chorus

239th Chorus

240th Chorus

241st Chorus

242nd Chorus

“Essentials of Spontaneous Prose”

“Belief & Technique for Modern Prose

2. Allen Ginsberg


“Footnote to Howl”

“A Supermarket in California”

“Sunflower Sutra”




“On Burroughs’ Work”

3. William Burroughs

Junky (excerpt)

The Yage Letters (excerpt)

Naked Lunch (excerpt)

“Deposition: Testimony Concerning a Sickness”

4. Herbert Huncke

“Elsie John”

“Joey Martinez”

5. John Clellon Holmes

Go (excerpt)

6. Carl Solomon

Mishaps, Perhaps (excerpt)

7. Gregory Corso

“I Am 25″

“The Mad Yak”

“Vision of Rotterdam”



“Variations on a Generation” (excerpt)

Part 2 - “Heart Beat”

Enter Neal Cassady

1. Neal Cassady

Letters to Jack Kerouac, 1947-1950

2. Jack Kerouac

Letter to Neal Cassady, early 1951

3. Neal Cassady

The First Third (excerpt)

4. Jack Kerouac

Visions of Cody (excerpt)

Part 3 - “Constantly Risking Absurdity”

Some San Francisco Renaissance Poets

1. Kenneth Rexroth

“Thou Shalt Not Kill”

“Poems from the Japanese”

“Rexroth: Shaker and Maker” by William Everson

2. Lawrence Ferlinghetti


“Constantly Risking Absurdity”

“In Goya’s greatest scenes . . .”

“One Thousand Fearful Words for Fidel Castro”

“Horn on Howl

3. Michael McClure

“Peyote Poem”

Scratching the Beat Surface (excerpt) Includes Snyder’s poem, “A Berry Feast,” Whalen’s poem, “Plus Ca Change…” McClure’s poems, “Point Lobos: Animism” and “For the Death of 100 Whales”

4. Gary Snyder

“Mid-August at Sourdough Montain Lookout

“Milton by Firelight”


“Praise for Sick Women”

“Night Highway Ninety-nine”


“Higashi Hongwanji”

“Notes on the Religious Tendencies”

5. Philip Whalen

“Sourdough Mountain Lookout”

“A Dim View of Berkeley in the Spring”

“Prose Take-Out, Portland 13:ix:58″

6. Philip Lamantia


“The night is a space of white marble”

“I have given fair warning”

“There is this distance between me and what I see”

“Fud at Foster’s”

7. Lew Welch

“Chicago Poem” “The Basic Con”

“Taxi Suite—After Anacreon”

“Not Yet 40, My Beard Is Already White”

“The Image, as in a Hexagram”

“I Saw Myself”

8. Bob Kaufman

“Round About Midnight”

“Jazz Chick”



Part 4 - “A Few Blue Words To The Wise”

Other Fellow Travelers

1. Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones)

“In Memory of Radio”

“Way Out West”

“The Screamers”

Letter About Kerouac’s Prose

2. Ray Bremser

“Funny Lotus Blues…”

3. Diane DiPrima

“Three Laments”

“Song for Baby-O, Unborn”

“The Practice of Magical Evocation”


“Brass Furnace Going Out”

4. Bob Dylan

“Blowin’ in the Wind”

“The Times They Are A-Changin'”

“A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”

Tarantula (excerpt)

5. Brenda Frazer (Bonni Bremser)

“Poem to Lee Forest”

6. Tuli Kupferberg

“Greenwich Village of My Dreams”

1001 Ways to Beat the Draft (excerpt)

7. Jack Micheline

“Poet of the Streets”

8. Frank O’Hara

“Les Luths”

“Post the Lake Poets Ballad”

“Personal Poem”

“The Day Lady Died”

9. Peter Orlovsky

“Lepers Cry”

10. Ed Sanders

“Poem from Jail” (excerpt)

“The Cutting Prow”

11. Anne Waldman

“Our Past”

12. John Wieners

“A poem for record players”

“A poem for tea heads”

“A poem for museum goers”

“A poem for the insane”

“Feminine Soliloquy”

“Children of the Working Class”

Part 5 - “Tales of Beatnik Glory”

Memoirs and Posthumous Tributes

1. Charles Bukowski

Notes of a Dirty Old Man (excerpt)

2. William Burroughs, Jr.

Kentucky Ham (excerpt)

3. Carolyn Cassady

Off the Road (excerpt)

4. Diane DiPrima

Dinners and Nightmares (excerpt)

5. Brenda Frazer (Bonnie Bremser)

Troia: Mexican Memoirs (excerpt)

6. Brion Gysin

“The Beat Hotel, Paris” (excerpt)

7. Joyce Johnson

Minor Characters (excerpt)

8. Hettie Jones

How I Became Hettie Jones (excerpt)

9. Jan Kerouac

Baby Driver (excerpt)

10. Ken Kesey

“The Day After Superman Died” (excerpt)

11. Michael McClure

The Mad Cub (excerpt)

12. Ed Sanders

Tales of Beatnik Glory (excerpt)

Part 6 - “The Unspeakable Visions Of The Individual”

Later Work

1. William Burroughs

Nova Express (excerpt)

2. Gregory Corso

“Columbia U Poesy Reading—1975″

“The Whole Mess . . . Almost”

3. Diane Di Prima

“April Fool Birthday Poem for Grandpa”

Loba: Parts I-VIII (excerpt)

4. Lawrence Ferlinghetti

“The Canticle of Jack Kerouac”

“Uses of Poetry”

“Short Story on a Painting of Gustav Klimt”

5. Allen Ginsberg

“First Party at Ken Kesey’s”

“Wichita Vortex Sutra”

“Anti-Vietnam War Peace Mobilization”


“Ode to Failure”

“White Shroud”

“Fourth Floor, Dawn, Up All Night”

Writing Letters

6. Michael McClure

“Song (I Work with the Shape)”

“It’s Nation Time”

“Watching the Stolen Rose”

“The Death of Kin Chuen Louie”

7. Ed Sanders

“Hymn to Archilochus”

“What Would Tom Paine Do?” (Song)

8. Gary Snyder

“Smokey the Bear Sutra”

“I Went into the Maverick Bar”

“Mother Earth: Her Whales”

“The Bath”

“Axe Handles”

“Pine Tree Tops”

Appendix—Three Commentators

1. Norman Mailer

“The White Negro”

2. Alan Watts

“Beat Zen, Square Zen, and Zen”

3. John Clellon Holmes

“The Game of the Name” (excerpt)


Books For Further Reading

Index Of Authors And Titles