Born to the Beat, the New Orleans event for the National Beat Poetry Festival, is set for September 12, 2015, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at City Park outside the Morning Call Coffee Stand. Invited poets will read selections of their own poetry or prose, and some many even read a poem by their favorite Beat poet or a short selection of prose by a Beat Generation writer. It's also possible that there will be an open mic for poets who attend the event. Music will be provided by local Indie band The Shiz, featuring Liz Hogan and Lilli Lewis.
The National Beat Poetry Festival commemorates the expression of Beat Generation poets and writers. The Beats challenged traditional poetic forms, addressed political and cultural issues, and pushed for a change of consciousness following World War II. They were ushers of the 1960s calls for social change.
While the movement began in New York and San Francisco, the city of New Orleans may claim one of the original Beat poets as a native son, the late Bob Kaufman. In 1959, with Allen Ginsberg and other Beat writers, Kaufman started the provocative poetry journal Beatitude Despite his role in literary history, he is often left out of encyclopedic articles about the Beat Movement.
If you've heard of Allen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Diane DiPrima, Amiri Baraka, and so on, then you've probably already had some exposure to The Beat Generation's work. The word beat for them meant both beaten down and beatific, and much of their writing was influenced by jazz. They were tagged with another name, too: beatniks, which was probably not endearing. You may listen to samples of beat artists via Rhino Record's disc set "The Beat Generation."
For a list of participating poets, please click here