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BRITS, BEATS AND OUTSIDERS

Jim Burns

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 "Jivin’ 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.

CONTENTS

PURELY BY CHANCE: TOM HANLIN'S FORGOTTEN NOVEL   

THE COLLECTED GEORGE GARRETT 

FROM THE FORTIES  

BLACKBURN BEATS  

POETMEAT   

MOVE & PALANTIR   

UNDERGROUND REVOLUTION      

THE LIVERPOOL SCENE      

ENGLISH-ENGLISH POETRY        

NOTES TOWARDS A HISTORY OF BRITISH BOP         

BRYAN WYNTER  

LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI AND THE BEATS  

BIG TABLE    

THE BEAT HOTEL     

STUART PERKOFF: THE FORGOTTEN BEAT 

RAY BREMSER: A BEAT ANGEL  

PHILIP LAMANTIA   

VENICE WEST      

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  

DAVID MARKSON 

REPUBLIC OF DREAMS  

EDWARD FIELD  

WHAT IS REMEMBERED 

ARTISTS ON THE EDGE:THE RISE OF COASTAL ARTISTS' COLONIES   

CONFESSIONS OF AN UNREPENTANT BEBOPPER  

Paperback 6" x 9" 264 pages ISBN 978-1-4710-6455-5 Published March 2012

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