To the editor:
In February, the Journal-World published an editorial questioning the importance of recognizing the late William S. Burroughs and his connections and legacy with regard to Lawrence.
Burroughs is a significant figure in the history of modern American literature, specifically of what is called “The Beat Generation.” He was part of our community in his later years, and I think that it is in the best interest of our town and university to claim and to promote the creativity of his work both in art and literature.
A quotation of the late Allen Ginsburg stands out as a good summary of the importance of Burroughs and of his colleagues:
“This ‘Beat generation’ or ‘sixties’ tolerant worldview provoked an intoxicated right wing into denial of reality, and reinforced its codependency with repressive laws, incipient police state, death-penalty demagoguery, sex demagoguery, art censorship, fundamentalist monotheist televangelist quasi-fascist wrath, racism, and homophobia. This counterreaction seems a by-product of the further gulf between the rich and poor classes, growth of a massive abused underclass, increased power and luxury for the rich who control politics and their minions in the media. Prescription: more art, meditation, lifestyles of relative penury, avoidance of conspicuous consumption that’s burning down the planet.
“I think younger generations have been attracted by the exuberance, libertarian optimism, erotic humor, frankness, continuous energy, invention, and collaborative amity of these poets and singers. We had a great job to do, and we’re doing it, trying to save and heal the spirit of America.”