Beat Atlas by Bill Morgan

Bill Morgan’s new book is just out from City Lights.Rick Dale of The Daily Beat, one of the earliest reviews, gives it an enthusiastic “thumbs-up” – “I absolutely love this book. It’s quirky, interesting, and practical.. Beat Atlas has my highest recommendation”.

Nancy Peters, in her introduction, writes “Bill Morgan provides a comprehensive bird’s-eye view of the proto-Beat presence across America, and this alone illuminates an important area of literary history and geography. But even better, he also maps the complex, ever widening nexus of poets and visionaries who, for half a century, wrote to each other, performed together, supported one another’s work, and sustained a movement that was dissident, controversial, and, ultimately dominant”.

The author himself explains: “This is the third book in a series from City Lights. The first two cover the Beat Generation in New York and San Francisco, respectively, and were organized as walking tours to those cities. This volume mentions only a few locations in those two places, but, unlike those, this one is not designed to be followed in any predetermined sequence. It is organized first by region and then by state and town within each region. No attempt has been made to put the towns in any order other than alphabetical. Within each section, one location has been selected to highlight a notable place of interest.

Lowell, Massachusetts, the birthplace of Jack Kerouac, introduces the book for no other reason than its importance as a Beat site. Other towns within that state follow in alphabetical order. By working with this guidebook in one hand and a trusted map in the other, you can plot your own tour around the country, just like Jack, Neal, and Allen did more than sixty years ago. Grab your rucksack and hit the road!”

One comment

  1. I recently cited the Atlas in a term paper on Howl, Ginsberg's life, and the geography of the Beat movement. It is a wonderful resource, and I will be consulting it during my summer trip down the West coast!

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