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To celebrate National Poetry Month, a new exhibit showcasing works of Beat writers in various media from 1957 to 1966 opens April 6, 2009 at the Dodd Research Center.  The exhibit features letters, manuscripts, little magazines, photographs and audio recordings from the extensive literary collections held by the Center’s Archives and Special Collections.

 

Post-war America of the 1950s witnessed a blending of cultural influences and the emergence of new forms of performance, music, and visual arts.  Recent scholarship on writers and writings during this period emphasizes the role that art, media and popular culture had on the American literary imagination and on expressions of the individual in society.

 

Beat writers including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and William S. Burroughs experimented with literary narrative, forms and mediums whether in reaction to or as a result of social and cultural influences of their time.  This exhibit highlights the works and collaborations of Beat writers from the 1950s and invites viewers to explore further questions.  What role did form and media play in making the work of the Beats known, available and accessible to readers?  How or did the threat of media censorship impact expression?  Did Beat writers help to usher in a new print culture or, rather, did they aim to dismantle it?  How or can literature shape a movement?

 

View “Words ‘Alive Like Animals’: An Exhibit of Beat Writers” at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, McDonald Reading Room Gallery, April 6 to May 2, 2009.  Gallery hours: 12:00 to 4:00, Monday through Friday.

 

Exhibit curated by Benjamin Miller, B. A. candidate in English, University of Connecticut.

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