ENGL 4310 – Heart Beats Exhibit








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The Heart Beats exhibition offers insight into the people and concepts most essential to the Beat movement (also known as the Beat Generation) of the 1950s and 1960s. The Beat movement first attracted public attention when Beat writers from the East Coast joined Beats from the West Coast at the Six Gallery reading in San Francisco on October 7, 1955. It was at Six Gallery that Allen Ginsberg first read “Howl” and delivered what amounted to a poetic jolt to the heart of mainstream American culture. The movement attracted those who were disillusioned with the materialist values of the time and rejected the virtues of social conformity.

The Beat writers and artists included in this exhibition are central contributors to the literature and visual arts that characterized the Beat movement. The work of these writers and artists sparked national conversation about society, politics, and religion. The unique voices of writers Jack Kerouac, Anne Waldman, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Diane di Prima reached a growing audience through the pages of the “little magazines” that served as the lifeblood of the Beat community. The magazines, which provided the true pulse of the movement, encouraged a feverish urgency through rapid publication. While the movement was primarily literary, it also reflected the spontaneity and improvisation of jazz music.

The sequence of writers reflects a conscious decision to avoid a hierarchy of importance or a strict chronology. Consequently, the placement is random. The artworks displayed were paired with specific writers and chosen by the following student curators: Maddie Barker, Tanner Benson, Terin Crane, Brecken Duve, Jayden Hamling, Paige Hammer, Samantha Hanson, Nate Hardy, Nicole King, Sarah Lueckler, Megan Mattinson, Kortland Phillips, Bennett Robinett, Andrea Sagers, Erin Searle, Maysen Smith.

Publication Date



Poetry, exhibit, Beat Generation, 1950s, 1960s, literary movement


Arts and Humanities