Friday, March 16, 2018

A Different Beat - Writings from the Women of the Beat Generation

An interesting premise, and one long-overlooked and under-valued, the women of the Beat Generation were artists in their own right but were overshadowed by the men. Of course, some of this was due to the politics of the time - women were not respected by general society at this point and many of the Beat men were all-too-usual men  Some of it, too, was that some of the women's work was not as powerful as the men's - at least at the time.

In this volume we hear from numerous women of the 50's, some who later became well known (the women in Kerouac's life are accounted for) and many who faded into obscurity. They write frankly about sex - a taboo subject especially for women at the time - and about their relationships with the men of the scene - as supporters, as lovers, as friends. They speak of lesbianism, and of abortion but not that often of their own dreams and careers. Drugs, of course, are a big topic, as well - grass, natch, heroin and later, LSD.

I tend to prefer the prose to the poetry - as with a lot of people, poetry has to be something special to really grab me - but the stories are interesting and it's good to know that there were women speaking eloquently about their lives at this time.

Not great, overall, but intriguing and makes me want to read more from some of these women.