A few years ago, I became obsessed with the Beats.  I loved the fact that, in one of Americas most conservative decades, this tribe of folk ate glass, drank wine, got naked and, more importantly, documented it.  I loved Kerouac, particularly: I loved his sadness and his joy.  I loved Ginsberg too, in spite of the fact that much of his poetry made me feel uncomfortable and some of it was, quite simply, unreadable.

Burroughs, however, was more difficult: he is a hard man to love.  I think it was Kerouac who called him reptilian, a description that couldn’t be more apt.  I tried to read Naked Lunch on several occasions, and to tell you the truth, I am not sure if I ever did get all the way through it.  I did read his biography (written by the wonderful Barry Miles) however, and found that to be much more entertaining.

I think that if I ever really throw myself into Burroughs work, he is gonna have to read it to me.  He has a wonderful, cold voice; it is a voice that nightmares are made of.  I found this video today, which captures the voice and captures the people as well, several years after the beat generation ended.  Hope you enjoy.


A Perfect Image of the Boys.

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One Response to Burroughs

  1. tara says:

    I think it might be all about timing with Burroughs. I read Naked Lunch quite a few years ago and I devoured it. I loved it. It was disgusting, compelling, mysterious, unsettling, weird, and oddly moving in parts. But every time I’ve tried to read it since, I’ve just felt bored and put-off. I don’t know if it was my head space, or if it’s just the kind of book one can only enjoy the first time. To be sure, there’s little else like it out there, and I think it can only be fully appreciated in the context of its creation. I do love Burroughs’ voice. All of the beats are more engaging to listen to than to read, I think. Except maybe Kerouac, who is always a pleasure, in any medium. I’ve been a long-time fan of Ferlinghetti’s poetry. From ‘Pictures of the Gone World,’ this is my favourite: http://www.poetseers.org/poetry/the_world_is_beautiful/

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