So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Beats: A Graphic History

This book is "by Harvey Pekar et al." with "art by Ed Piskor et al." While the majority of the text and art are by Pekar and Piskor, the book is actually 25 different pieces on various people and topics of the Beat Generation created by a diverse group of writers and artists.
In the first half of the book Pekar and Piskor tackle the lives of the three major figures: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. This is followed by shorter pieces on other people associated with the movement: Kenneth Rexroth, Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, William Everson, Robert Duncan, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Philip Lamantia, Gary Snyder, Diane di Prima, Slim Brundage, Jay DeFeo, d.a. levy, and my favorites Kenneth Patchen and Tuli Kupferberg.
To set these biographic pieces in context there are chapters on Jazz, Art, the City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, and women in the Beat movement.
All together Pekar writes 18 of the 25 chapters, giving the book a continuity yet allowing for diversity of views, while Piskor inks just over half the graphics which keeps the book visually interesting.
Highly recommended even if you only read the two chapters on Patchen and Kupferberg.