(B) Beat Poetry

In the early 1950s, beat poetry took over San Francisco, California and was led by poets such as Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac. Beat poetry was typically fast-paced, free verse, and jazz-like and questioned issues in society. Lawrence Ferlinghetti founded the legendary San Francisco bookstore City Lights, once a gathering place for beat poets. Here is the poem People Getting Divorced by Lawrence Ferlinghetti:

People getting divorced 
          riding around with their clothes in the car   
   and wondering what happened 
                      to everyone and everything   
                         including their other 
                                                pair of shoes 
         And if you spy one 
             then who knows what happened 
                                             to the other 
                                           with tongue alack   
   and years later not even knowing 
                               if the other ever 
                                        found a mate 
                                  without splitting the seams   
                                     or remained intact 
    and the sole 
                     ah the soul 
                                     a curious conception   
         hanging on somehow 
                                     to walk again 
                                                   in the free air   
                            once the heel 
                                                 has been replaced


Read more about Lawrence Ferlinghetti or the beat poetry movement.

Find out more about poetry a to z.