Paperback 6" x 9" 264 pages ISBN 978-1-4710-6455-5 Published March 2012
From Jim's Introduction
This third collection of essays and reviews is somewhat different in content to Beats, Bohemians and Intellectuals and Radicals, Beats and Beboppers. Those books were primarily concerned with American writers, whereas this one has a dozen or so pieces looking at aspects of British writing (and art and music) from the 1930s to the 1960s. Some forgotten writers and magazines of the 30s and 40s are dealt with, and several items focus on the 60s, a period often derided as producing a lot of bad poetry. It probably did, but I suspect that's true of any period and the 60s also produced some interesting work and it was a lively time for little magazines and small presses.
As the titles of the previous collections indicated, the Beats occupy what might be called a central role, and so it is here. I've included essays on leading lights of the movement, such as Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, but have also written about lesser-known poets like Ray Bremser and Stuart Perkoff . There are surveys, too, of Venice West and San Francisco, where numerous minor writers congregated. They may not have been all that talented, and are probably forgotten now, but they deserve a place in any history of the Beat movement.
The "outsiders" I've chosen are mostly poets and novelists who don't seem to slot neatly into any group. Ezra Pound is a major figure but the period I'm concerned with, when he edited the short-lived little magazine The Exile, shows him standing outside conventional categories.
It may seem a long jump from Pound to Ernest Haycox but I don't see it that way. I look for interesting writing in all kinds of places and Haycox always seemed to me a much better storyteller than many of those being praised in the review sections of daily and weekly papers. There is a long review of a book about the artists' colonies that were popular towards the end of the 19th Century and into the 20th. The final essay, "Confessions of an Unrepentant Bebopper," does, I agree, cover some of the same ground as "Jiviní with Jack the Bellboy" and "Bird Lives!" (in Radicals, Beats and Beboppers) but I think it has sufficient differences of interpretation of the basic material to make it relevant.
Finally, it's time for a confession. I've sometimes used different names when writing articles or reviewing, the most common ones being John Dunton and Jay Burnett. John Dunton was a name I found in Pope's The Dunciad, and I first used it in Jazz & Blues in 1972 when writing a tongue-in-cheek article about Screaming Jay Hawkins, an oddball rock'n'roll performer. Jay Burnett was born when the editor of Mayfair wanted a short story but because I'd already written a couple of humorous articles for the magazine he thought that the story, a slightly sleazy tale with a jazz background, needed a slicker name attached to it. I carried on using both names over the years.
Because the essays and reviews were written for a variety of publications over a number of years there are variations in formats. I have not attempted to standardise them in any way. Likewise I have not updated them in terms of references to individuals, publications, etc. I have in a few cases added some notes (pages 250 to 252) which may provide additional information.
PURELY BY CHANCE: TOM HANLIN'S FORGOTTEN NOVEL
THE COLLECTED GEORGE GARRETT
FROM THE FORTIES
MOVE & PALANTIR
THE LIVERPOOL SCENE
NOTES TOWARDS A HISTORY OF BRITISH BOP
LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI AND THE BEATS
THE BEAT HOTEL
STUART PERKOFF: THE FORGOTTEN BEAT
RAY BREMSER: A BEAT ANGEL
THE SAN FRANCISCO POETRY RENAISSANCE
ALLEN GINSBERG AND PARIS
LEROI JONES AND THE BEAT YEARS
OPEN DOOR AT THE RED DRUM
SWANK GOES BEAT
JIVIN' WITH JACK THE BELLBOY
EZRA POUND AND THE EXILE
THE BEST WESTERN STORIES OF ERNEST HAYCOX
THE PITY OF IT: HUBERT CRACKANTHORPE
WELDON KEES - MID-CENTURY MAN
THE STRANGE CASE OF MARTHA DODD
HENRY MURGER & BOHEMIA
JON EDGAR WEBB AND THE OUTSIDER
REPUBLIC OF DREAMS
WHAT IS REMEMBERED
ARTISTS ON THE EDGE:THE RISE OF COASTAL ARTISTS' COLONIES
CONFESSIONS OF AN UNREPENTANT BEBOPPER