“The God is a Self After-all”: An Analysis on the Beat Poet-Shamans

Adonis Brooks : Comparative Literature and Film

Mentor: Michael Lucey, French and Comparative Literature

Most evaluations of Beat Generation authors tend to overlook the significance of race and sexuality in the formation of the quintessential identity of the 1960s culture of dissent. Adonis’ thesis will explore the Beat oeuvres of Bob Kaufman and Amiri Baraka primarily through queer theory and Fanonian Critical Race Theory.  He will examine the nexus of marginalized experiences between these poets, which centers on homophobia and racism, and produces cultural isolation, alienation/imprisonment, and a devastating psychic loneliness. He will also consider the subject of their poetry, who is extremely alien to the 1960s quintessential American, to understand how despite this subject’s loneliness, nonconformity, and bohemian ethos, its unprecedented relatability polarizes a shift in American Culture, thus redefining what it meant to be an American.