Beat scholar and archivist Bill Morgan, author of the year-by-year biography of Allen Ginsberg I Celebrate Myself: The Sometimes Private Life of Allen Ginsberg, has published a new book, The Typewriter is Holy: The Complete, Uncensored History of the Beat Generation.
Bill Morgan worked with Allen Ginsberg for many years as his archivist and as such has been intimately linked with Allen and all-things-Beat. I Celebrate Myself is a solid, well-researched biography (though not without occasional factual missteps), one that is a valuable tool for Ginsberg scholars writing about AG and other Beat story lines. The chronological framework allows users to quickly place Beat-related events on the time continuum of 20th century history. Morgan is not a great prose stylist – he’s an archivist after all and his prose style reflects that; straightforward, matter-of-fact, a little wooden.
The title of his new work of literary history comes from the fifth line of the “Footnote to Howl” section of Howl: “The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is holy the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!” An excellent selection. AG’s Howl alone could provide a thousand Beat titles given the many, many great phrases contained therein:
- the starry dynamo in the machinery of night
- eyeball kicks
- the lamb stew of the imagination
- a belt of marijuana for New York
- goldhorn shadow of the band
- cannibal dynamo
- robot apartments