I love The Doors’ song “Strange Days,” and I think applies to this weeks reflections from my Burris students: “Strange days have found us. Strange days have tracked us down. They’re going to destroy us, our casual joys. We shall go on playing or find a new town.” I don’t expect my students to love everything I love, but I find it hard to believe the fact that the Beat poets aren’t at least liked by some of them. Maybe it is because I wanted to spend an entire week on them, but since we missed two days, which we still have to make up, for the swine flu, we only got to talk about them for two days. I despise teaching all of American Literature in one semester. I think it short changes the students. However, I am still amazed that the Beat poets aren’t some of their favorites. To each his or her own, though. I still love my Burris kids. They rock.
When I was in high school, I absolutely loved the Beat poets. I remember thinking they were my saving grace because they talked so much about how corrupt our culture was/is and how we needed to majorly overhaul it if we were going to survive. I loved the apocalyptic nature of their writings and how they sought to confuse the boundaries between the sacred and the secular. I mean, how genius is it to resurrect a dead poet, Walt Whitman, and then talk about how the speaker follows him through grocery store while he is eying the grocery boys, stealing food, and avoiding the store security? It’s fucking brilliant.
Maybe this is a sign of a generational shift. Or maybe I am simply abnormal, which is probably more likely. I can remember Jaymes and I being (or fantasizing about being) so counter-cultural. We read Kerouac and ate him up with a spoon. We started an underground newspaper to rage against the machine before the band was even popular. I just think I should have been born in the late 40s so I could be a hippie. My blood runs pinko and sentiments do too. Either way, at least my students have been exposed to a group of writers whose influence is still felt in many ways.
I am thankful for the ability to agree to disagree with people. And, I am thankful there are multiple churches that reach multiple audiences.
Exercise: none, absolutely none, I read all day
Food: banana, juice, strawberry Belgian waffle, nachos at La Palma, black bean burger and veggies at Chili’s, chips and salsa
Which poem is it that has a dead Walt Whitman? I could get behind a beat poem like that …
Every Beat writer mentions Walt Whitman somehow, either by name or in spirit, which is why I never understood why you don’t like them. Both Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti mention him by name. They loved the guy! The Beats also loved William Blake, Henry David Thoreau, and jazz music. I’m just sayin’ you should give them a chance. 🙂
it’s awfully nice to read your blog again. i’ve been non-interneting for the past week and a half or so.
miss you, buddy.