Friday, March 11, 2005

3 Generations of Beat Women

Ronna Johnson, in her periphrastic “Mapping Women Writers of the Beat Generation” (in Breaking the Rule of Cool: Interviewing and Reading Women Beat Writers) identifies three generations of women Beat writers.

First Generation:
Helen Adam
Carol Bérge
Madeline Gleason
Sheri Martinelli
ruth weiss

Second Generation:
Ann Charters
Elise Cowen
Brenda Frazer (Bonnie Bremser)
Joyce Johnson
Hettie Jones
Lenore Kandel
Joanne Kyger
Joanna McClure
Diane di Prima

Third Generation:
Laurie Anderson
Patti Smith
Janine Pommy Vega
Anne Waldman

It’s a wide net that she casts, and if I were really to take on a bibliography of Beat women, I would have to consider all of them. For my purposes, however, I’m mostly concentrating on the second generation, with the addition of Carolyn Cassady. This means that my search terms must include all of these women’s names individually as subject or author, as well as keywords=“Beat generation” or “Beats” and “women” or “woman.” In an attempt to place Beat women at the center of my study, I will concentrate on works expressly by or about them, rather than works that deal with them in a peripheral manner.

Tonight, I spent some time searching the abstracting and indexing services that I can access from home through the Simmons library network. I found some great looking citations for unique articles in the MLA Bibliography (which goes back to 1963, further than any of the other humanities databases on the Simmons network, though still not far enough for this project). Academic Search Premier, on the other hand, retrieved mostly book reviews, which I’ve decided to stay away from. I was particularly excited by my first successful use of Refworks, the unbelievably complicated program that’s supposed to make it easier to manage bibliographic citations. When I took the course offered by the Simmons library last week, my feeling was that the database required so much manual tweaking that it was just as easy to handle citations the old fashioned way. But today I’m feeling hopeful. I have 60 citations in my personal folder (articles, books, essays, short stories, poems), and I can sort them in multiple ways. Now I should be able to print them out on one page and carry that with me instead of lugging around a whole binder full of scribbled and printed citations. And I’m supposed to be able to output the whole thing into a bibliography with the click of a button. We’ll see about that when the time comes.

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