9:30 am - 12:30 pm
This seminar will explore questions of gender and power in the poetry of canonical and lesser-known poets of the Beat Generation. Even though Beat writers thrived on the margins of the post-World War II United States, they often reproduced the same gender inequities of a dominant culture that they felt was stifling. Female Beat writers sought a place for themselves within a community of mostly male fellow artists who spoke loudly and visibly against postwar conformity—yet who themselves could not escape the pressures and privilege of their historical moment. The “boy gang,” as Allen Ginsberg described his idealist conception of the Beat community, seems no longer an adequate characterization of the movement now that scholars are working to recover previously marginalized texts by Beat women. Seminar participants will examine the texts and historical contexts of Beat Generation poetry, with special attention to recent scholarly work on the wide-ranging, and sometimes anxious, role of gender in Beat writing.
Seminar led by Tony Trigilio, Columbia College
Newberry Teachers’ Consortium is a subscription program open to Chicago-area teachers.