“Women of the Beat weren’t afraid to get dirty. They were compassionate, careless,charismatic, marching to a different drummer, out of step. Muses who birthed a poetryso raw and new and full of power that it changed the world. Writers whose words weavespells, whose stories bind, whose vision blinds. Artists for whom curing the disease of artkills.” – Women of the Beat Generation (Brenda Knight, 1998)
This month, Film Streams presents Howl, a movie about Allen Ginsberg’s astounding poem.One of the original “beat” generation, which Jack Kerouac defined in 1957 as “a generationof furtives…a weariness of all the forms, all the conventions of the world,” Ginsberg’s poemignited a controversy over freedom of speech and expression; the publisher of “Howl” wasarrested but in 1957 the courts ruled the poem was not obscene.
Ginsberg and Kerouac, along with Charles Olson, William Burroughs and others are theusual Beat-writing mentionables; but what of the women of the group? The writings ofDenise Levertov, Hettie Jones, Joyce Johnson, Anne Waldman, Joan Vollmer, Diane DiPrima,Jane Bowles and others during that time exhibit enlightening spirit and inventiveness in away only the female spirit can.
Lit Undressed invites you to submit your poetry, short-short fiction or essays (up to 200words) inspired by the spirit of the women of the Beat movement. Selected works will beread during the next Lit Undressed performance at RNG Gallery in March live by nude figuremodels, by authors, or with excerpts painted by an artist on models’ bodies. Submit worksto LitUndressed@yahoo.com by December 15. See Facebook page for more information.
***The above text was written by the good people at Lit Undressed.