Companion to our Beat tour guides to San Francisco and New York, Beat Atlas: The Beat Generation in America is a state-by-state guide to the rest of the nation's significant Beat locales. Beginning with Jack Kerouac's Lowell, Beat Atlas takes us through the terrain mapped out in his novels, as well as to sites depicted by poets like Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder. From William Burroughs' Lawrence, KS, to Neal Cassady's Denver—and everywhere in between—Beat Atlas contains a wealth of historical information subdivided by region and state for easy reference and is illustrated with photographs by Ginsberg. It also follows the movements of Beat contemporaries like the New York School, the Black Mountain Poets, and the San Francisco Renaissance. Written by Beat authority Bill Morgan, and rich with literary lore, Beat Atlas makes an ideal companion for armchair travelers as well as those "on the road."
"It's fun to imagine just what building Dashiell Hammet had in mind when he wrote about Sam Spade's office, or whether Melville was looking at the whale-like form of Mt. Greylock when he wrote Moby Dick, but with the Beat writers there is no need to speculate. When Kerouac wrote about the Stations of the Cross at the grotto in Doctor Sax, he was describing an actual spot that still exists in Lowell. The 'houseless brown farmland plains rolling heavenward in every direction' that inspired a Ginsberg poem can still be seen in Kansas today. All you need is a map and the desire to get out there and see it yourself. This guide is designed to help you follow your own interests to some unusual parts of the literary landscape." —from the introduction by Bill Morgan
Praise for Beat Atlas:
"As worthy of a place on the shelf as in the backpack." —Bloomsbury Review
"Morgan's San Francisco and New York City tour guides were especially wonderful for people visiting the two cities with a keen interest in digging up the old Beat haunts – Beat Atlas, though, covers so much more ground, and creates widespread intrigue, bringing literary history into the reader’s home state and far beyond." —Verbicide
"A gold mine of information on the homes and haunts of the Beat Generation, this book will especially interest those who are already Beat enthusiasts." —Library Journal
"I absolutely love this book. It's quirky, interesting, and practical. This is a travel guide that you will pick up just to read, in addition to using it for finding Beat destinations to visit. Beat Atlas has my highest recommendation." —Rick Dale, The Daily Beat
"A decade ago, Beat Generation chronicler Morgan created a walking tour guide to Jack Kerouac's New York City. A couple of years later he did the same for San Francisco, tracking the haunts of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and their associates. With this new guide, Morgan has gone national, listing where the Beats lived, worked and traveled. That they managed to hit all the 48 contiguous states is no surprise, but some of the places are. Lincoln makes the list for Ginsberg's 1960s poetry reading visit, and Omaha, Grand Island and North Platte were all part of Kerouac's cross-country journeys recorded in "On The Road." For Beat aficionados, it's fascinating and fun." —Lincoln Star Journal
"Whether you're a road-tested backpacker or just an armchair traveler, this guide, by archivist and author Bill Morgan, will lead you to noteworthy Beat locales in all 50 states, beyond Greenwich Village and North Beach, the main hubs for the post-WWII literary movement." —Newsday
"But without a copy of Beat Atlas: A State by State Guide to the Beat Generation in America (City Lights) tucked into your rucksack you're likely to overlook the Atlantic Whiteflash station in Manchester, Connecticut, where Kerouac pumped gas to earn a bit of money while living in nearby Hartford during the fall of 1941; or the small home at 116th and Greenwood in Seattle, where the poet Michael McClure lived with his maternal grandparents as a young boy; or Buena Vista, Colorado, where the eighteen-year-old Neal Cassady was sentenced to a year in the Colorado State Reformatory in July 1944." —Michael Hayward, Geist
"Beat Atlas invites readers to retrace Beat paths, not along the familiar terrain of Greenwich Village or North Beach, but down the highways and byways in between, through diners and dive bars, communes and college campuses across the US. Like its predecessors, Beat Atlas so brims with information that even readers who consider themselves well versed in Beat lore are bound to learn something new." —Beat Review
"Morgan has all the big names you might expect but he goes further to rope in Philip Whalen, John Ashbery, Bob Kaufman, Robert Duncan, John Wieners, Philip Lamantia and countless others. Bukowski is documented and I'm cheered to see him included." —Colin Cooper, Beat Scene
Bill Morgan is a painter and archival consultant working in New York City. He is the author of numerous books about Beat Generation history and its writers, most recently Peter Orlovsky: A Life in Words, and The Typewriter is Holy: The Complete, Uncensored History of the Beat Generation. He has edited collections of writing and correspondence of many of the Beat Generation's most important authors, including Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Kerouac, Burroughs, Snyder and Corso. He is a painter and a civil war expert, and has worked as an archivist for Lawrence Ferlinghtetti, Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman, Diane diPrima, Oliver Sacks, Arthur Miller and Timothy Leary among others.