Spirituality In Beat Poetry

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II. Spirituality in Beat Poetry
A. Buddhism and Beat
The Beats wanted to find the way things connect with one another through a common idea that they all shared. They wanted to see how all of the things in the world are like each other and how to understand the way living things coexist with one another. They did not care for what was the world said they should be or were they believed life was greater than the labels put on you. According to Chandler (2007), “the Beat poets were not a philosophical monolith but a loosely-knit fellowship drawn by a vision. This vision was an antidote for addressing the paranoia and conformity that pervaded the United States”. The vision was to find a way to represent the world around us through different contexts
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Supermarket in California Supermarket in California is an excellent example of eastern religion in Ginsberg’s poetry due to the many devices taught and used in Buddhism. The poem begins with an unlikely scene between Ginsberg,the speaker, and the late Walt Whitman. Ginsberg was known for admiring Whitman. Ginsberg mimics the writing style of Whitman in his usage of enumeration in lines 5-7: “ What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the…show more content…
In Howl he alludes to religious symbols from Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and many more. In line 5 he says “ who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated”. In this line he brings up angels who belong to Islam and not Christianity. Throughout the poem we see how he references to multiple religions and beliefs but there is not a clear focus on a single belief. Other such examples of this are: “who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying for each other’s salvation…”(line 62) and “rose reincarnate in the ghostly clothes of jazz in the goldhorn shadow of the band and blew the suffering of America’s naked mind for love into an eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani saxophone cry..”. The first example describes someone who prays for others despite the lack of result. The second example compares a bum that played jazz to Christ and how his music was like when Christ called out to God saying “ My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me”. The use of religion and spirituality in poems was common amongst the beats. Jack Kerouac used it in his works such as The Dharma Bums, and Big Sur. Kerouac “ reveled in the Buddhist notion of rejecting our corporeal selves”(Simpson, 2003 p.7) and this appealed to him as he often struggled with himself about Catholicism and the guilt that it instilled in him about intimacy. Many of the other Beats
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