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December 3, 2010 > Beatitude: Golden Anniversary 1959-2009

Beatitude: Golden Anniversary 1959-2009

A Book Review by Robert A. Garfinkle

Beatitude is a showcase of talented poets for those interested in the San Francisco Beat Movement of the late 1950s and poets of that era still practicing their art today. This wonderful anthology is filled of not only poetry of the era, but numerous photographs and illustrations. As stated in the book, "The original BEATITUDE magazine was conceived by Allan Ginsberg, Bob Kaufman, John Kelly and someone at Cassandra's coffee house in May 1959." Original issues were produced weekly on a mimeograph machine. (Remember those contraptions?); sheets were sold for 15¢ each.

Works of about 200 poets; some famous, like Allan Ginsberg, Diane Di Palma, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack Kerouac, Michael McClure and others who did not achieve stardom are included as well as an excerpt from Allen Ginsberg's diary. The entire book is enjoyable just the same. Pages are not typeset so they appear as if they were just typed on an old manual typewriter.

The last 111 pages of the book consist of a reprint of the 1960 "BEATITUDE Anthology" just like City Lights Books published it. The reprint section is a marvelous collection containing six Ginsberg poems and an excerpt destined for the then soon-to-be-published Book of Dreams by Jack Kerouac.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the variety of poetic styles and subjects and strongly recommend this anthology to anyone interested in the Beat poets or poetry in general. You will have hours of enjoyment as this book takes you back to a simpler time.

Beatitude: Golden Anniversary1959-2009 edited by Latif Harris and Neeli Cherkovski, 2009 Pp 582, $25.00, paperback, San Francisco: Latif Harris (ISBN 978-0-615-29394-3)

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