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ANARCHISTS, BEATS AND DADAISTS

Jim Burns

Paperback 6" x 9" 213pp ISBN 978-1-326-44654-3  published January 2016

This seventh collection of essays and reviews follows on from the previous six in bringing together what I like to think is largely a survey of mostly lesser-known writers, poets, artists, musicians, and related people and their publications. Some names in the list of contents will be immediately identifiable, but it could be that certain aspects of their work may not be familiar to most readers. Walt Whitman’s links to a group of early American bohemians is an example of what I’m suggesting.

As with the previous books, the Beats have a central role, though I hope I’ve looked at a few lesser-known poets, such as Bob Kaufman, along with pieces on Kerouac and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. And the magazines that published them, like Exodus, and Between Worlds, seem to me worth writing about in order to record their contributions towards circulating interesting literature. I doubt that little magazines now have the importance they once had, but prior to the arrival of the internet they were key methods of communication. They were, also, the organs of expression for bohemia, and that, too, no longer exists in the way it once did. I’m perhaps beginning to sound like an old man lamenting the decline of everything he once loved, and there may be some truth in that. I do miss the magazines and the bookshops where you could find them.

 

What is poetry? It is all sorts of things. "Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful", according to Rita Dove.
"Poetry is an act of peace" - Pablo Neruda. If you want to get really poetic, try Wallace Stevens: "The poet is the priest
of the invisible".

It is more mundane things, too. Ask Jim Burns, a genial recorder of the alternative scene on both sides of the Atlantic
and a veteran of the poetry reading circuit. When he writes, "Most poets will know about places where the given address
doesn't exist", he isn't trying on his hieratic mysticism: he's talking about turning up for a gig in a strange town and being
unable to locate the venue. "Or the premises are closed", he goes on, "or someone says,  'But the reading was last week'."
When Mr Burns recited his verse at a college near Blackpool, everything went well until after the interval, when no one
returned. "'It's not your fault', the organizer said. 'The Miss World competition is on TV.'" He has been on the bill when
the poets outnumbered the audience, has read in a pub, when "someone decided to put a coin in the jukebox", and on
one occasion out­doors in the Lake District, where the wind swept his words away. "To the audience I was simply
a man opening and closing his mouth."

These recollections are to be found in Anarchists, Beats and Dadaists, Mr Burns's latest collection of articles from
Penniless Press. Among its contents, gathered from various little magazines, are pieces on Woody Guthrie, Alan Ansen,
Tristan Tzara and "British Writers and MI5". Some may have been written while standing outside a locked hall in the
rain, awaiting the organizer of a reading, or on a station platform. "Once I was dropped at a railway station to catch
a last train that had stopped running six months before. All in a day's work."

 James Campbell (JC) Times Literary Supplement January 15th 2016

Comments on previous collections:

“This collection of reviews and essays is an entertaining homage to bohemia by one of its own. Jim Burns – a veteran fringe poet recently celebrated in these pages as ‘an offbeat prowler’ – takes a ‘personal’ look at various post-Second World War writers, artists, musicians and patrons whose talents and innovations have been obscured by the glare of their more famous contemporaries.”

                                                                                                                 Times Literary Supplement

“The vast majority of these essays are as fresh and original today as they were when first written a few decades ago and many are a sheer joy to read. Partly this is due to Jim Burns’s encyclopaedic knowledge, though equally enjoyable is the clear, thoughtful style and boundless enthusiasm for the subjects he brings to the book.”

                                                                                                                 Morning Star

“What Jim Burns seems to do very well is dust off the years from forgotten figures, the neglected, the overlooked, even those who never truly reached any level of recognition. Burns sees in many of them qualities that have been missed.”

                                                                                                                 Beat Scene

“Jim Burns’ fourth collections, Bohemians, Beats and Blues People, illuminates neglected twentieth century bohemians through wide-ranging highly informative and entertaining essays.”

                                                                                                                  Tears in the Fence    

Jim Burns’s earlier collections of essays were Beats, Bohemians and Intellectuals (Trent Books, 2000); Radicals, Beats and Beboppers (Penniless Press, 2011); Brits, Beats & Outsiders (Penniless Press, 2012); Bohemians, Beats and Blues People (Penniless Press, 2013); Artists, Beats & Cool Cats (Penniless Press, 2014). His poetry collections were Laying Something Down (Shoestring Press, 2007) and Streetsinger (Shoestring Press, 2010).      

 

 CONTENTS

PERSONAL MODERNISMS

ALGER HISS

BLOOD ON STEEL

BRITISH WRITERS AND MI5

WOODY GUTHRIE

EDWARD DORN/AMIRI BARAKA

ALAN ANSEN

LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI

BOB KAUFMAN

KEROUAC AND THE BEATS

CATCHING UP WITH KEROUAC

WRITING BEAT

BRION GYSIN

EXODUS

JANET RICHARDS

DISCOVERY

THE BEAT SCENE

BETWEEN WORLDS

FIELDING DAWSON

DESTRUCTION WAS MY BEATRICE

TRISTAN TZARA

JOAN GILBERT 

TWO AMERICAN POETS

EDDIE LINDEN

MALCOLM COWLEY

NEW FICTION, 1972

WALT WHITMAN

THE HOSANNA MAN

THE STREET OF WONDERFUL POSSIBILITIES

THE TASTE IN MY MIND

AN UNHOLY ROW

TUBBY HAYES

UNDERGROUND LONDON

BOPPER

BORDER TROUBLE

LOVE FROM UNCLES BERT AND JOE

ARE YOU SURE IT’S TONIGHT?

 

 

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