Category Archives: Beat Generation

William Burroughs, Truth, and Storytelling

The young Burroughs liked to read adventure stories. The older Burroughs did too. Stories are about characters. What’s infuriating and gripping about a good character is that she’ll have blind spots, things the reader can see that she cannot. It … Continue reading

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Lessons from Los Alamos

Albert James Connell ran the Los Alamos Ranch school, which William S. Burroughs attended when he was a boy. “Many of Connell’s ideas were taken on board by Burroughs, such as that there was no such thing as an accident: … Continue reading

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Inhuman Indifference

When Kenneth Rexroth heard Dylan Thomas had died, he wrote a poem. He wrote about who he blamed for the poet’s death: and he finds fault with us, with society. He uses “You” in the poem, addressing all of us. … Continue reading

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Where Cows Are More Real Than Policemen

Lawrence Ferlinghetti wrote a poem about a dog. This dog is a “real realist,” which means he looks up and down and smells with his nose and asks questions and doesn’t have any smart answers. “Dog” is a poem about … Continue reading

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How To Make Word Dust

Besides being a science fiction novel, Nova Express is a how-to book.  It tells us how to make cut-ups and create “word dust”. For example, Burroughs has a character called “The Subliminal Kid” use tape recorders to create cut-ups: “‘The … Continue reading

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William S. Burroughs: Vision and Intuition

Reading Queer by William S. Burroughs, I’m struck not just by the sharp clear quality of the prose, but also by the insights themselves, the things Burroughs can see and points out to us. If he had been a worse … Continue reading

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The Myth of Burroughs

It’s no use trying to cut through the myth of William S. Burroughs to get to the truth of the man himself. The truth of Burroughs is found in the myth: “the idea of Burroughs has its own realities, its … Continue reading

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