Women of the Beat Generation

This is a space that focuses on giving voice to and sharing ideas about the women of the Beat Generation.

Photo of Elise Cowen and Allen Ginsberg

Revolutionary Letter #2 by Diane di Prima

Sharing in celebration of her 80th Birthday! 

The Allen Ginsberg Project: Diane Di Prima's 80th Birthday   

Wishing this amazing woman and poet a fantastic 80th birthday!!

Fun Maps: The Beat Generation in NYC, Across the Country, and France | Untapped Cities

“i have never worked with straight lines”

—   ruth weiss (via irresponsiblewanderlustofthesoul)

Women of the Beat Generation has reached 500+ followers!

Thanks for following and supporting the recovery of these wonderful women’s voices and work. 

"It is only her silence that I wish to give up" - Joyce Johnson, Minor Characters

Hettie Jones

Bea Franco: the woman who inspired "Terry" in Kerouac's On The Road| Donald Munro | FresnoBee.com      

“A woman from the audience asks: ‘Why were there so few women among the Beat writers?’ and [Gregory] Corso, suddenly utterly serious, leans forward and says: “There were women, they were there, I knew them, their families put them in institutions, they were given electric shock. In the ’50s if you were male you could be a rebel, but if you were female your families had you locked up.”


Stephen Scobie, on the Naropa Institute’s 1994 tribute to Allen Ginsberg  (via thisisendless)


(via femmeboyant)

I’m just frozen. Absences of women in history don’t “just happen,” they are made.

(via queereyes-queerminds)

irresponsiblewanderlustofthesoul (via love-some-gallifrey-boys)

(Source: fuckyeahbeatniks, via love-some-gallifrey-boys)

Meet the Beats: Helen Adam (1909 - 1992)

Heralded by Brenda Knight as the “Bardic Matriarch” of the San Francisco Renaissance and one of the precursors of the Beat Generation, Helen Adam published her first book of poetry at just 14 years old. Adam was born in Scotland where she published The Elfin Peddlar to great acclaim in 1923. After briefly attending the University of Edinburgh, Adam moved to America, settling first in New York and then eventually moving to San Francisco in 1949. 

Here, Adam became known for her ballads and her increasingly popular poetry readings, during which she would sing and chant her work. She formed close connections with fellow poets Robert Duncan, Madeline Gleason, and Jack Spicer, and, in 1957, she joined with Duncan and Gleason to begin a poetry and performance troop called the Maidens. Adam’s contribution to the burgeoning poetry scene was recognized as she became one of only four women included in Donald Allen’s anthology, New American Poetry 1945-1960. 

Beyond poetry, Adam experimented with other art forms including collage, film, and theatre. She wrote a lyric play, San Francisco’s Burning, which she would read/perform single handedly until it was produced in 1964. You can listen to a 1977 production here

For more info check out:

The Scottish Poetry Library 

Brenda Knight’s Women of the Beat Generation

The Helen Adam Reader with editorial work and introduction by poet, essayist, and Helen Adam biographer Kristen Prevallet