The Beat Writers

Jeffrey Perso, Senior Lecturer

Course: ENGLISH 192, SEM 010
Class Number: 43174
Credits: 3 HU
Time: MW 2:00 – 3:15 PM
Place: CRT 321

Course Description:

This seminar will investigate the writers known collectively as the Beat Generation. Students will read major Beat writers, such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, as well as their critics. Students will also examine how jazz and religion influenced the style and content of Beat writing. Through their reading, writing and research, seminar participants, will experience the literary and cultural phenomenon which was the Beat writers.

Work Involved:

Students will write 3 response papers and one critical biography of a beat writer of their choosing. Students will also participate in workshops writing experimental prose and poetry following the spontaneous composition method of Jack Kerouac and the cut-up method of William Burroughs and Dada precursors.

Sample Reading:

"The Last Hitchhiker," Jeffrey Perso; "Lonesome Traveler" and "Big Sur," Jack Kerouac; "Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir," Joyce Johnson; poems by Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso.

About the Instructor:

Journalist, fiction writer and educator, seminar instructor Jeffrey Perso has written extensively on the Beat writers and the '60's counterculture. His work has appeared in The Alternative Press Review, Milwaukee Weekly, Porcupine Literary Arts Magazine, San Francisco Phoenix, and elsewhere, and he received the English Department's Teaching Excellence Award for 2005. An avid, though lumbering runner, most days he can be seen panting through Milwaukee lake shore parks.