Kerouac himself published the definition of the Beats in Esquire Magazine: "[the beats are] a generation of crazy, illuminated hipsters suddenly rising and roaming America, serious, curious, bumming and hitchhiking everywhere. Ragged, beatific, beautiful in an ugly graceful new way . . . Beat, meaning down and out but full of intense conviction."
The beats asked questions with a different rhythm. They delivered answers with new syncopation, a rift of who went before, while simultaneously creating something new. Creating anything new in the middle of the 20th century was a risky venture. American society wanted to recover from world war II and settle down, not ask any more questions, not make waves. Or as Diane de Prima said, "In the fifties... we were so busy being cool that we didn't know how to say the word love."
The Beats risked rejection, careers, arrest, jail, and the asylum, for their art. Not that mental instability or extreme drug experimentation is a prerequisite for creativity but a little lunacy, an afternoon stroll along the edge of perception and society, can help create the new, the mad, the insightful. And that's what our poets do, walk that line, balanced between everyday life and something wild.
We invite you to take as many moments as you have, and swing with us.