California's Beat Poet Laureate Rich Ferguson Creates Editorial Dream Team for an Anthology of the Ages: Beat Not Beat, published by Moon Tide Press
LA, October 2022
Beat Not Beat, an anthology of living and legendary Beat and Beat Not Beat poets is being released by Moon Tide Press this fall. With over 90 artists from across California included, the book is already starting to tour major cities.
This dynamic anthology spans the postwar, atomic-bomb-obsessed American landscape to the here and now: a period when Beat poets, the Vortex, Baby Beats, and their progenitors inspired one another through cultural, political, and humorous means to create new forms of consciousness weaponizing pen and paper to enact mighty forms of lyrical rebellion.
What’s different about this Beat-inspired collection is that it isn’t a history book glorifying the past, separating values of rebellion and artistic freedom from now. Rather,this book includes the work of influential poets Bob Kaufman, Charles Bukowski, Diane di Prima alongside contemporary poets Lynne Thompson, Luis J. Rodriguez and Robert Hass. This anthology moves the beat along, integrating the words of the living and the dead, bringing attention to the continued spirit of a time and place.
During its inception, beat poetry was a response to the conventions of mainstream life and writing in the 1940s and 1950s. But what about today? Where did that courageous anti-establishment spark lead to in terms of poetry now? What are artists today keeping from that time, and what aspects have been updated?
Anyone paying attention to the American political landscape of 2020 could see that a racial reckoning played a major role in the cultural re-creation in American arts. While many groups had advocated for better representation amongst women and people of colour for decades, this particular year saw accelerated protest and change to usher in diverse representation. The Beat Not Beat anthology, born in this time, reconsiders the movement as more than a group of white men at the centre, but instead, a historical and current inclusion of poets from all backgrounds who identify with the original concept ofpoetic and political dissidence.
There are big names in this small publisher book thanks to the team that head editor Rich Ferguson assembled, including LA's S.A. Griffin and Alexis Rhone Fancher, + San Francisco Poet Laureate Kim Shuck. Poets in the book that are California household names include Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Kenneth Patchen, Neal & Carolyn Cassady, and names that should be on everyone's tongue like Wanda Coleman, Richard Brautigan, Jack Hirschman and Amy Gerstler.
Artists who identify as coming from the Beat tradition, yet aligning with what's not beat will be performing and reading on stages across California in 2022 and 2023. Upcoming dates are on the main website: www.beatnotbeat.com. It's where you can learn more about ordering a book, sponsoring an event or supporting the whole road trip.