The poets behind the trip

One of the most prominent roots of psychedelic rock is poetry. Pyshcadelic rock is mainly influenced by the poets of the Beat Generation. The term Beat Generation was coined by author of “On the Road” Jack Kerouac after meeting with other famous poets of the time: Allen Ginsberg, Herbert Huncke, and William S. Burroughs. The Beats’ goal: to “live life as they defined it.” Beat poetry was defined by free verse that was rooted in an awareness of society as it was, notions and influences stemming from the children of strict parents who saw WWII and the Depression. Ginsberg’s “Howl” and Kerouac’s “On the Road” made the Beat generation prominent, creating a public subculture, especially in the San Francisco area. Another huge member of the moment was former New York poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who owned and operated City Lights bookstore in the 1950s which sold books banned by the U.S. Justice Department. Member’s of the Baby boomer generation worshipped the work of these poets along with others that joined their ranks and the poetry’s free flowing sound and trippy subject matter became the basis for the psychedelic music that was ubiquitous in the 1960’s. It’s kind of interesting how the same “stick it to the man” and read between the lines type of counterculture existed decades before the 1960’s. Most of the time we hear about the fifties being the “Americana” era and not much about this. I really would have liked to have lived in San Francisco during this time it just seems so interesting. However I wonder how out there and present this group of people actually was. When I think of the psychedelic rock era, I think of people protesting and smoking pot on ever corner to Hendrix’s “Little Wing” and I’m sure that wasn’t the case.

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