Beat Bop and Buddha (Canceled)

Jeffrey Perso, Senior Lecturer

Course: ENGLISH 192, SEM 004
Class Number: 28755
Credits: 3 HU
Time: MW 2:00 – 3:15 PM
Place: MER 142

Course Description:

What road are you on? What Monk was the high priest of Bop? What is the sound of one hand clapping? These and other questions will be investigated during this Seminar on the Beat Generation, Be-Bop jazz, & Buddhism. The course will examine the crossroads where Jack Kerouac intersected with jazz music and the Historical Buddha, giving rise to the so-called “Beat Generation” and later the 1960s countercultural “rucksack revolution.” Throughout the semester we will read Kerouac’s writing in order to understand how music and religion influenced his contribution to American literature and culture. We will also read Geoff Dyer’s “lyrical collection of jazz reveries,” listen to jazz recordings and poetry performances, and view documentary videos to further our appreciation of how jazz and Buddhism influenced Beat thinking and composition techniques. By semester’s end students will be able to identify and critically discuss the cross-currents connecting Beat writing, jazz and Buddhism, as well as continue to develop an awareness of how this “holy trinity” offers an alternative viewpoint on life and culture in 21st century America.

Work Involved:

Students will read and write about music and literature, use audio and video recordings to examine and discuss the evolution of the Beat Generation as it morphed into the Counterculture of the 1960s.

Sample Reading:

Some of the Dharma, Jack Kerouac; But Beautiful, Geoff Dyer.

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.