Jello Biafra (1958)
Musician, spoken word artist, and political activist, Biafra’s role as lead vocalist for the Dead Kennedys first brought him national recognition in the late 1970s. He continued to use his own brand of acid humor to endorse his political beliefs during spoken word performances in the 1980s and has collaborated in many recordings and films.
Stan Brakhage (1933-2003)
Experimental filmmaker, author, and teacher, Brakhage produced an enormous body of work from the 1950s up until the time of his death. In his non-narrative approach to filmmaking Brakhage used techniques such as hand painting, scratched emulsion, or combinations of multiple layers of images to enhance the visual experience, creating light poems of intense beauty. He has influenced a generation of filmmakers that have come behind him.
William S. Burroughs (1914-1997)
Author of numerous novels, short stories and essays, Burroughs is perhaps best known for his controversial novel Naked Lunch (1959) and for popularizing the cut-up technique: a literary version of the collage in which pages of written text are cut with scissors and the pieces rearranged at random. Together with Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, Burroughs became the foundation of the countercultural movement known as the Beat Generation.
Jim Carroll (1949-2009)
Author, poet, and musician, Carroll is perhaps best known for The Basketball Diaries (1978), which chronicles his teen years in New York City as a high school star basketball player and heroin addict. The Diaries, along with other published works of poetry, brought him literary acclaim, and he associated with Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith, Andy Warhol and other New York artists before moving to California and forming The Jim Carroll Band.
Andrei Codrescu (1946)
Poet, author, and radio commentator, Codrescu is the author of forty books of poetry and fiction which explore themes of identity, exile, and transformation. He associated with Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman and others in the Lower East Side literary scene in the late 1960s before moving to San Francisco, and later New Orleans, where he founded the online journal Exquisite Corpse. Codrescu has been a commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered since 1983.
Ed Dorn (1929-1999)
Poet and author of numerous works, Dorn is perhaps best known for his five part poem Gunslinger and as an alumni of the experimental, interdisciplinary Black Mountain College. His fictional character Wayne Kimball from the poem The Cosmology of Finding your Spot, which takes place in Lawrence, Kansas is the compilation of two Lawrence residents and fellow writers Wayne Propst and George Kimball.
Marianne Faithfull (1946)
Singer-songwriter and actress since the early 1960s, Faithfull’s career has been marked by alcohol and drug addiction. She has recorded numerous albums, most notably Broken English in 1979 and has had a career as an actress in theatre, television and film.
Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)
Poet, activist, and guru to many, Ginsberg published Howl and Other Poems in 1956, which became the subject of a well-publicized obscenity trial the following year, bringing him international acclaim. He was an eloquent spokesman and promoted the writings of other authors associated with the Beat Generation. With poet Anne Waldman Ginsberg co-founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, an interactive meeting ground that continues to serve the community of writers in the 21st century.
John Giorno (1936)
New York poet and performance artist, Giorno orchestrated early multimedia poetry experiments including the Dial-A-Poem poetry installation in the late 1960s, in which callers could dial a number to listen to pre-recorded poems. He toured with William Burroughs in the 1970s, perfecting his renowned performance style and producing a large number of books and recordings.
James Grauerholz (1953)
Writer, editor, and organizer of the River City Reunion, Grauerholz was friend and business manager to William Burroughs from the 1970s on. He helped edit some of Burroughs’ work, and was responsible for arranging Burrough's reading tours in the 1980s and 90s.
Keith Haring (1958-1990)
Visual artist and social activist, Haring became internationally known in the early 1980s for his bold line drawings which he produced by the hundreds using white chalk to adorn subway stations in New York City. He devoted much of his career to creating public works and, after being diagnosed with AIDS, used his imagery to increase public awareness about the disease.
Frankie Edie Kerouac Parker (1922-1993)
Kerouac Parker is an author and was the first wife of Jack Kerouac. In You’ll Be Okay, she recounts the story of Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs in the early days in New York City, providing a female perspective on the lives of some of the central figures of the Beat Generation.
George Kimball (1943-2011)
Author and journalist, Kimball was a student at the University of Kansas, where he became associated with the counterculture movement in the 1960s and later ran a spirited campaign for sheriff of Douglas County. Kimball worked as a sports journalist for the Boston Herald for 25 years, and is considered one of the foremost writers on boxing.
Timothy Leary (1920-1996)
Psychologist and writer, Leary began experimenting with psychedelic drugs in the 1960s, championing their use for therapeutic treatment in psychiatry, and later as a path for spiritual development. As part of the Harvard Psilocybin Project he gave psilocybin to volunteers including Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Neal Cassady among others. Leary continued to support the use of psychedelics, despite multiple arrests and jail sentences, and is considered one of the most prominent figures of the counterculture movement of the 1960s.
Leonard Magruder (1928)
Founder of Vietnam Veterans for Academic Reform, Magruder's writings cover topics such as educational reform, evolution, and Vietnam veteran issues.
Michael McClure (1932)
Poet, novelist and spoken word artist, McClure has been performing to critical acclaim ever since he read Point Lobos Animism at the legendary Six Gallery Reading in San Francisco in 1955, where Allen Ginsberg first presented Howl. He has authored numerous books of poetry and prose, and has often collaborated with musicians and other artists, most notably Ray Manzarek, original keyboardist of the Doors.
Wayne Propst (1946)
Poet, raconteur, and artist Propst has been part of the Lawrence literary scene since he studied at the University of Kansas in the 1960s. Friend and student of William Burroughs, Propst has participated in many poetry readings, art happenings, and exhibitions.
Ed Sanders (1939)
Poet, author, songwriter, and social activist, Sanders was one of the founding members of The Fugs rock band in 1964. He authored numerous books, most notably The Family in 1971, a detailed account of the Charles Manson murders. In his manifesto Investigative Poetry (1976) Sanders devised the principles which he later employed to create book-length poems on literary figures such as Chekhov and Allen Ginsberg.
Danny Sugerman (1954-2005)
In No One Here Gets Out Alive (1980), co-authored with Jerry Hopkins, Sugerman draws on his intimate knowledge of The Doors and the life of singer Jim Morrison to reveal the complex personality of this charismatic artist. The book includes an afterword by Michael McClure. Wonderland Avenue (1989), an autobiographical account of Sugerman's heroin addiction as an early teen in LA in the 1970s, parallels the experiences chronicled by Jim Carroll in his diaries from a decade earlier.
Anne Waldman (1945)
Poet, performer, and teacher, Waldman ran the St. Mark’s Church Poetry Project in New York City in the late 1960s before co-founding the Jack Kerouac School for Disembodied Poetics with Allen Ginsberg in Boulder Colorado. She has published over 40 books of poetry and is known as an expressive performer and for her vision of poetry as a performance art.