Youth workshop at the Karma Birdhouse in Burlington, Vermont.
In this workshop, we will explore the work of the Beat Poets, who emerged from the literary counterculture of the1950s and included Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and William S. Burroughs. Quoting Plato, Allen Ginsberg once said of the Beat Poets, “When the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake.” In this workshop, we’ll learn about the midcentury counterculture Beat Poets and how they shook the city walls of their generation, influenced poetry and music, and impacted decades of American culture. We’ll practice some of their techniques, including Ginsberg’s “first thought, best thought,” Burroughs’ cut ups, and a rejection of traditional meter and form. We’ll write new poems that capture the Beat Generation’s spirit and aim to view life in America in a new way.