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The definitive collection of anti-establishment American poetry, from Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac to Sapphire and Tupac Shakur "Welcome to the Wild West of American Poetry, the Hole-In-The-Wall of Blakean vision, a two-fisted saloon of New World dreams where you'll meet the greatest Outlaw voices from the post-war era to the present day. Here are the inventors of the Beat g The definitive collection of anti-establishment American poetry, from Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac to Sapphire and Tupac Shakur "Welcome to the Wild West of American Poetry, the Hole-In-The-Wall of Blakean vision, a two-fisted saloon of New World dreams where you'll meet the greatest Outlaw voices from the post-war era to the present day. Here are the inventors of the Beat generation and the heroes of today's Spoken Word movement, poets who don't get taught in American poetry 101, yet hold the literary future in their tattooed hands." So begins The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, a primer for generational revolt and poetic expression, and an enduring document of the visionary tradition of authenticity and nonconformity in literature. From the Beat poetry of the '50s to the spoken word of the 1990s, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry brings readers the words, visions, and extravagant lives of bohemians, beatniks, hippies, punks, and slackers. This exuberant manifesto includes lives of the poets, on-the-scene testimony, seminal underground articles never before collected, photographs of clubs and cafes, interviews, and, above all, the poems.


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The definitive collection of anti-establishment American poetry, from Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac to Sapphire and Tupac Shakur "Welcome to the Wild West of American Poetry, the Hole-In-The-Wall of Blakean vision, a two-fisted saloon of New World dreams where you'll meet the greatest Outlaw voices from the post-war era to the present day. Here are the inventors of the Beat g The definitive collection of anti-establishment American poetry, from Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac to Sapphire and Tupac Shakur "Welcome to the Wild West of American Poetry, the Hole-In-The-Wall of Blakean vision, a two-fisted saloon of New World dreams where you'll meet the greatest Outlaw voices from the post-war era to the present day. Here are the inventors of the Beat generation and the heroes of today's Spoken Word movement, poets who don't get taught in American poetry 101, yet hold the literary future in their tattooed hands." So begins The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, a primer for generational revolt and poetic expression, and an enduring document of the visionary tradition of authenticity and nonconformity in literature. From the Beat poetry of the '50s to the spoken word of the 1990s, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry brings readers the words, visions, and extravagant lives of bohemians, beatniks, hippies, punks, and slackers. This exuberant manifesto includes lives of the poets, on-the-scene testimony, seminal underground articles never before collected, photographs of clubs and cafes, interviews, and, above all, the poems.

30 review for The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Allen Taylor

    This is a fabulous book of poetry. Not the kind of poetry you're going to read in your high school English Lit class. This is real straight-from-the-gut poetry. But you'll recognize some of the names here - Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and other famous poets. But most of the poets here are real wild and not your straight-laced academics. My only criticism is that it is heavily weighted toward Beat poetry, probably a little too much, but the poetry it includes (most of it) is well worth the read. Hu This is a fabulous book of poetry. Not the kind of poetry you're going to read in your high school English Lit class. This is real straight-from-the-gut poetry. But you'll recognize some of the names here - Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and other famous poets. But most of the poets here are real wild and not your straight-laced academics. My only criticism is that it is heavily weighted toward Beat poetry, probably a little too much, but the poetry it includes (most of it) is well worth the read. Huge book!

  2. 4 out of 5

    K

    This collection made me believe in myself as a person, a writer, and a poet. I found it one day while browsing the book-store with my abusive ex-boyfriend in sophomore year of high school. I skimmed the pages and came across over a dozen poems that I could relate to. I begged to recieeve it as a christmas gift from my mom and when I got it and read the entire thing, it made me come to the realization, that just like all of these poets, musicians, and authors, I WAS JUST AS POWERFUL. After readin This collection made me believe in myself as a person, a writer, and a poet. I found it one day while browsing the book-store with my abusive ex-boyfriend in sophomore year of high school. I skimmed the pages and came across over a dozen poems that I could relate to. I begged to recieeve it as a christmas gift from my mom and when I got it and read the entire thing, it made me come to the realization, that just like all of these poets, musicians, and authors, I WAS JUST AS POWERFUL. After reading this collection, I took to writing poetry and came to my senses about everything that was hurting me in my life. I was able to gather the power to leave the abusive boyfriend, stand up for myself and what I believed in, and write with my heart and soul. This collection is truly inspiring. It is my favorite thing in my entire book collection,

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bill Chamberlain

    I liked the concept of the anthology, for these last several decades so much of “establishment poetry” seems indiscriminate. But this book, excluding maybe a half-dozen poems, was utterly bogus. It featured the same circle-jerk as “the establishment”, only these poems lacked any sort of craft or refinement. One especially memorable stanza said: “I want people to hear my poetry and vomit.” Mission accomplished.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tosh

    Now this is a fun little (well actually big) anthology of poetry by bad asses of all sorts. You are pissed. Angry even. This is the book that will add the salt to the open wound. Poor it on baby because you are going to eat this book like it's the last meal.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    OK...though this is one of my favorite books of poetry, I am selective about which poets I've really enjoyed from it. I do credit this book, however, with introducing me to slam poetry, the likes of which I'd never read or heard onstage before. At the time, I was in college, and The Outlaw Bible helped me discover such poetic "outlaws" as Tupac Shakur, Patricia Smith, Taylor Mali, Pedro Pietri, Mike Mollett, and Bob Flanagan (of Sick fame). The major difference, as I see it, between this book and OK...though this is one of my favorite books of poetry, I am selective about which poets I've really enjoyed from it. I do credit this book, however, with introducing me to slam poetry, the likes of which I'd never read or heard onstage before. At the time, I was in college, and The Outlaw Bible helped me discover such poetic "outlaws" as Tupac Shakur, Patricia Smith, Taylor Mali, Pedro Pietri, Mike Mollett, and Bob Flanagan (of Sick fame). The major difference, as I see it, between this book and most of the ones that you'll read in school is that The Outlaw Bible discusses openly subjects such as sex (both hetero- and homosexual), violence, sadism, masochism, drug abuse (in a positive light), and rape. Though the classical poets may have covered these subjects as well, it seems they were often disguised by flowery language, such that you'd never know what they meant. Not here! Actually, my major criticism of the book (and the reason I wouldn't give it 5 stars) is that it isn't particularly well organized. There is a chapter called "Slammers," and also "Prologue: Voices from Outlaw Heaven," which offers poems from those who are no longer with us. However, the majority are listed under "American Renegades"; maybe it's just that most poets aren't able to be classified, and that was the closest common thread that they had. So, for anyone who loves spoken word and beat poetry, or for those who are looking to expand their repertoire, I'd recommend The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry.

  6. 5 out of 5

    The Boogerhead

    Bombastic and overwhelming, missing a few key figures because their families wouldn't grant the publishing rights (Bukowski), but contains others that might not have been included, like Tupac Shakur & Tom Waits. A good intro. Bombastic and overwhelming, missing a few key figures because their families wouldn't grant the publishing rights (Bukowski), but contains others that might not have been included, like Tupac Shakur & Tom Waits. A good intro.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Seven

    you're not a poet if it's not on your shelf!!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

    Marvelous anthology of the poetry of some of America's most renegade poets...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    To the extent that any biker, anarchist, counter-culturist, revolutionary, atheist or artist should even have a "bible," this is the most varied, richly diverse -- yet often complementarily meaningful -- collections I have come across.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    It took me a year [with pauses] to read this book cover to cover. It changed me. I loved it. These are the poems of our times, the voice of real people. Read it!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kitty

    As stated in the publisher's note, "the anthology's intent is to create a forum for poetry that is urgent, visceral and at times redemptive". In this Bible there are poems which make me laugh, cry, and poems which turn my stomach that I would never call poems. There are poems which have nothing to do with changing society and poems which can ONLY change something about the person reading them, which will in fact, change society. Ezra Pound, the father of the maxim “Make it new” also said that “T As stated in the publisher's note, "the anthology's intent is to create a forum for poetry that is urgent, visceral and at times redemptive". In this Bible there are poems which make me laugh, cry, and poems which turn my stomach that I would never call poems. There are poems which have nothing to do with changing society and poems which can ONLY change something about the person reading them, which will in fact, change society. Ezra Pound, the father of the maxim “Make it new” also said that “The poet is the antenna of the species.” But further, to quote again the publishers, "The poets here have peeled back the skin of the heart... the result of so much heavy throttle tends to be that you've visited a place you'll remember." The anthology opens with Whitman’s “Shut not your doors”, closes with his “Poets to come” and on p. 194, “Song of the Open Road.”. The bible has examples of Renegades, abomunists (Bob Kaufman’s jail poems p. 69), the anti-establishment, be here, be now beats, who repeat the 14th century Villon like Gregory Corso, (p. 152) but know about Dada rocking horses of absurdity, surrealists, history; the meat poets and the slammers, who want recognition, not necessarily truth; the barbarians who met at the café Babar where “poetry is commited”... and the living theatre and happenings of the Carma Bums (1989) and Lost Tribe. In the “Bible” there are people like Henry Miller, who gives 20th c. advice to poets: “first, ask yourself if you have anything to say. Use an axe for your first draft.” There is correspondance between Wm. Carlos Wms. and Harold Norse. 1957 –a time before photocopiers, internet, personal computers; a time when writing poetry was to give in to the subconscious, and what was really going on through Williams’ variable foot – as well as experiments with density, complexity of language sounds and syntax. The question "when will man know how to live?" is indeed timeless, and this Outlaw Bible gives multiple ponderings. I was glad to see women activitists represented as well as working poets, and many poems about and inspired by art. A sampling of poems: some are merely poems of lyrical rage shaped for consumption and what Kenneth Patchen calls poems written in the evening of the two-fisted prayer. Some are merely personal diaries of frustration. There are poems which address the difficulty of being identified as American where you don’t feel like the American who is providing a reputation for you. (George Tsongas' summary of “The States” – It’s an/ amazing /place, where/ no one enjoys// life// but they/all want/to live/ forever ) and poem snapshots of McDonalds, poems which look at abstract art, fortune cookies and woody woodpecker and barbie (521). Poems which explain living on the edge, and embrace the slogan “NOW is THEN’S only tomorrow”. There is Father Daniel Berrigan next to mention of of a drunken Jack Kerouac and Burroughs who shot his wife. A short poem about relationship by Ken Kesey (One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest) next to the title "French rebel Rimbaud resurrected to see the dentist". Shock value can range from a graphic description of a condemned man who could request to humiliate a prisoner w/ oral sex to Mona Lisa’s alopiecia and Rodin’s Thinker’s bunions. In the end, it is hard not to feel a real call for engagement.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Matthew DeCostanza

    I hate this book because the editor's intent seems to be to turn off aspiring literates from poetry forever. The selection is mixed, Mike Topp, Frank O'Hara, Harold Norse, Tom Waits and other left-of-center artists representing the good side, and a pastiche of Ani DiFranco ripoffs and shitty Z-list beat poets champing the other. Some other questionable inclusions: Why, of all Ginsberg poems, would you put motherfucking Homage to Hersch in there? At least have Please Master so the kids can derp a I hate this book because the editor's intent seems to be to turn off aspiring literates from poetry forever. The selection is mixed, Mike Topp, Frank O'Hara, Harold Norse, Tom Waits and other left-of-center artists representing the good side, and a pastiche of Ani DiFranco ripoffs and shitty Z-list beat poets champing the other. Some other questionable inclusions: Why, of all Ginsberg poems, would you put motherfucking Homage to Hersch in there? At least have Please Master so the kids can derp at the anal sex. And why are Woody Guthrie and Tupac goddamn Shakur in there in the first place? ... I need to stop reading poetry. It angries up the blood. Someone in these reviews said that this is "not the kind of poetry you're going to read in your high school English Lit class", which is funny because that's exactly where I learned about this book. In my high school English lit class. One day the disgusting 30-going-on-55 instructor came in flaunting the book like a stein of manna, desperately pleading for acceptance with her cool book of punk rock poetry that she bought for 45 bucks at the local airport novel bookstore. Yuck.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Gallagher

    What a great collection of poetry - much of it rebellious in tone (the great American virtue). It literally is the "wafer thin mint" because it truly leaves you craving more. This collection really spans our literary history. The undergrounds, the Beats, the Punks and even Walt Whitman, for good measure. And it's not just their "best known works" - for instance, Ginsburg is here but "Howl" is not. It just gives you a tiny taste of what these artists created and you want to rush out and read more What a great collection of poetry - much of it rebellious in tone (the great American virtue). It literally is the "wafer thin mint" because it truly leaves you craving more. This collection really spans our literary history. The undergrounds, the Beats, the Punks and even Walt Whitman, for good measure. And it's not just their "best known works" - for instance, Ginsburg is here but "Howl" is not. It just gives you a tiny taste of what these artists created and you want to rush out and read more. For someone who has created poetry (and prose) for 25 years now, and knew who and what she liked, it was still really magical to discover something like David Lerner's "Mein Kampf".

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jason Robinson

    This pithy volume stayed in my backpack for months when I was living in Athens, Georgia during the early 2000's. Many nights I sat with drinks or coffee at restaurants and cafes poring over these postmodern and experimental poems. a must read for anyone who likes modern poetry and writing that truly pushes the boundaries.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Misti Rainwater-Lites

    I love David Lerner. He is the star of this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tory

    I read this in a library 5 years ago. Mostly I remember it for introducing me to Gregory Corso.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rena Sherwood

    I gave up after 100 pages. Honestly -- who the heck thought this would be a good idea for a book? I estmate at least three cases of beer went into the planning. I should have given the book back to the library as soon as I read in the incredibly long introduction that there would be no Charles Bukowski here because the editors were too cheap to pony up the fees to include any of his work here. Most of what I read seemed oh-so-desperate to be cooler than any other school of poetry ever. YAWN. And I gave up after 100 pages. Honestly -- who the heck thought this would be a good idea for a book? I estmate at least three cases of beer went into the planning. I should have given the book back to the library as soon as I read in the incredibly long introduction that there would be no Charles Bukowski here because the editors were too cheap to pony up the fees to include any of his work here. Most of what I read seemed oh-so-desperate to be cooler than any other school of poetry ever. YAWN. And the introductions for a one-page poem could go on for EVER. There were throw away things by Bob Dylan, Patti Smith and Tom Waits. Did the editors go through the garbage cans of these rockers just to get something to print? And it didn't help that the print is tiny. As in Gardner-Dozois'-year's-best-of-science-fiction tiny. And the book is heavy, which actually hurt my ribs when I tried to lean back on the couch to peruse. When reading a book is too much like work, you know you have a book worth no stars.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    I mean, it's fine for what it is, but to be honest the whole thing is really just supposed to be enticing based on the rebel yell promised by the title. A lot of good poetry, a lot of stupid poetry, not anything I'd recommend to people, outlaws or no. A lot of people have the wrong idea that poetry has to be rebellious to be good, or that Being A Poet means breaking all the rules, getting drunk and peeing everywhere, slapping asses and screaming in people's faces. If this were true, G.G. Allin I mean, it's fine for what it is, but to be honest the whole thing is really just supposed to be enticing based on the rebel yell promised by the title. A lot of good poetry, a lot of stupid poetry, not anything I'd recommend to people, outlaws or no. A lot of people have the wrong idea that poetry has to be rebellious to be good, or that Being A Poet means breaking all the rules, getting drunk and peeing everywhere, slapping asses and screaming in people's faces. If this were true, G.G. Allin would have been the greatest poet ever. What people generally don't realize that poetry is one of the most demanding art forms ever, and requires discipline and exactitude and zen-like attention to detail that gets lost in the glamour of barbaric yawps and seasons in hell, particularly for the sophomoric, wannabe, know-nothing types who need an excuse to act out. Forgive the rant, seeing the cover reminded me of my time in undergrad with a friend who couldn't stop reading from it like it gave him honorary badass status or something.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marvin Balzer

    The problem with this collection is, that it doesn't apply artistic criteria for inclusion but rather wants to encompass every single American poet of the second half of the 20th century with "outlaw-attitude", regardless of quality. The reader has to travail through endless swampland of poetic mediocrity to get to the more profiled writers like Ginsberg or Kerouac. Unfortunately, due to the anti-elitist approach of the editor, none of these were given the space of more than just a few poems and The problem with this collection is, that it doesn't apply artistic criteria for inclusion but rather wants to encompass every single American poet of the second half of the 20th century with "outlaw-attitude", regardless of quality. The reader has to travail through endless swampland of poetic mediocrity to get to the more profiled writers like Ginsberg or Kerouac. Unfortunately, due to the anti-elitist approach of the editor, none of these were given the space of more than just a few poems and as one can already guess, hardly ever the most important ones like "Howl", so that the reader cannot really get a basic opinion on these authors. For the many writers that appear in obscure groups like "The Carma Bums" or "Meat Poets" this limitation is for sure sufficient. Overall, real pearls with durability that can be measured in centuries I couldn't find here, maybe someone else did.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stan

    A great anthology of Poets.Raw real poetry not what you find in high school or college English. class. This is poetry of the streets and cities. While there are a number of Beat poets in the collection tit is heavily reliant on the Street poets. Like all anthologies there are some poets I did not care for but overall this was a great collection and gave me a list of poets to search out their books.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    The selections in this volume are superb. I chewed on this collection for over a year and I was never disappointed with the poets presented or the commentary on it all. The premise was promising- the idea of an American collection looking at the fringe, which with poets seemed like it might be redundant. It was not. Kaufman and Griffin look hard at the hows and whys that are rebellion and retort. A solid album. A keeper.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    Like any anthology, some of these poems struck me on a personal level and some didn't have any effect on me whatsoever. That being said, I enjoyed the majority of the works held within.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jim Manis

    A tome of late 20th century angry, counterculture, etc. poetry. Interesting, sometimes good, more often just fun.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mark Fulk

    The book has many fine poems and many not-so-fine ones as well.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jacob I

    Huge long read lots of good poetry from my favorite authors as well as unknowns

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jenifer

    See my review for The Outlaw Bible of American Literature, if you please.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Skull

    Absolutely awesome. Turned me on to d.a. levy, an absolute genius poet who I respect very much.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Restrepo

    Love Love Love

  29. 5 out of 5

    Phloem Box

    Such a great collection.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Miss.dee

    From the Beat poetry of the '50s to the spoken word of today, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry brings readers the words, visions, and extravagant lives of bohemians, beatniks, hippies, punks, and slackers. Like Donald Allen's epochal New American Poetry, The Outlaw Bible will serve as a primer for generational revolt and poetic expression, and is an enduring document of the visionary tradition of authenticity and nonconformity in literature. This exuberant manifesto includes lives of the poet From the Beat poetry of the '50s to the spoken word of today, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry brings readers the words, visions, and extravagant lives of bohemians, beatniks, hippies, punks, and slackers. Like Donald Allen's epochal New American Poetry, The Outlaw Bible will serve as a primer for generational revolt and poetic expression, and is an enduring document of the visionary tradition of authenticity and nonconformity in literature. This exuberant manifesto includes lives of the poets, on-the-scene testimony, seminal underground articles never before collected, photographs of clubs and cafes, interviews, and, above all, the poems. Editor and self-proclaimed Outlaw poet Kaufman has gathered into a single volume the voices of more than two hundred poets who don't get taught in American poetry 101. A multigenerational anthology of work by those who follow the off-road literary paths of Whitman and Ginsberg. ID-driven, political, and sexually explicit, these poems speak in the vernacular of the street, touting oppositional art as a weapon against poverty, corporate capitalism, discrimination, and violence. The renegades of the spoken word universe.

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