ACLA 2021 Virtual Conference “Beat Internationalism” EBSN Seminar CFP

EBSN members Benjamin J. Heal and Erik Mortenson are co-organizing a seminar titled “Beat Internationalism” for next year’s American Comparative Literature Association’s virtual conference (April 8-11 2021). If you are interested in submitting an abstract time is short – please follow the instructions to upload here by 31st October 2020:

The Beat Generation as literary movement is usually regarded as quintessentially American, rooted in the great American tropes of free expression, border crossing and anti-materialism. Often overlooked in favor of other literary movements, this seminar proposes to look beyond the familiar figures of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs to investigate the relations between their works, aesthetics and techniques and those of Beat voices from across the globe. The shock waves of the radical poetics of Howl, publicized via the anti-obscenity court case, and the success of On the Road reverberated globally, and can be seen to form a foundation for experimental, politically radical works published around the world. Building on the developing and widening formulations of ‘Beat’ by scholars such as Jimmy Fazzino, this seminar will work towards a definition of ‘Beat Internationalism’ as applied to the works examined, and consider areas of convergence. More theoretical questions pertaining to the transnational turn in American literary studies, and the para-textual nature of Beat literature are also welcome. The Beat legacy continues to be felt across popular culture; with retrospectives and exhibitions featuring work by the Beats continuing to be a success. What do the Beats mean to contemporary audiences, and how are their techniques and styles employed in the works of contemporary writers and artists? How has the radicalism of the Beats manifested internationally?

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Soft Need 23

Soft Need 23 will be the final issue of a little mag founded by Udo Breger back in 1973. Planned as another mag, Soft Need 23 ended up as a book of 260 pages with more than 80 contributors from all over the world & 190 illustrations.

Soft Need 23 is a book conceived in the spirit of friendship. Dedicated to Ian Sommerville, mathematician, friend & collaborator of William Burroughs & Brion Gysin, it will contain literary essays, photographs, poetry, visual art, caricature, memories & and all kinds of bits & pieces.

After two years of intense work, Soft Need 23 is now ready for printing. As to its production the editors have gone to their limits already, investing more than CHF 35’000 so far. They do hope that this wonderful project will meet your benevolent consideration and support, so the funds can be assembled to finally print Soft Need 23.

To find more details, please click on the link below:

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Podcast Interview with Oliver Harris

First episode in a planned regular feature for the EBSN website. “Playback – The EBSN Podcast” will attempt to fill some of the void left by Covid 19, by providing our members with some new and varied content.
In this episode Harris discusses the postponed CUT-UPS@60 conferences, his new editions of Burroughs’ classic cut-up texts, the future for the EBSN and more. Find out more and listen here.

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ruth weiss

We are very saddened to hear about the passing of ruth weiss, the Berlin-born Austrian-American performance poet who pioneered jazz performance poetry, inspired Jack Kerouac’s experiments with Haiku, and whose delicate, abstract works defied easy definition.

weiss’ work has been central to the studies of several EBSN scholars, notably Estíbaliz Encarnación-Pinedo, Stefanie Pointl, and Thomas Antonic, whose interview with ruth can be found here, and his touching obituary here.

EBSN Board member Frida Forsgren also co-edited the 2015 book Out of the Shadows with Michael J. Prince, in which weiss’ work is featured.

Thomas and Estíbaliz are also the editors of a soon to be published collection of essays on weiss which also features work by several EBSN members including Benjamin J. Heal, Polina Mackay, Frida Forsgren, Chad Weidner, Lars Movin and Stefanie Pointl.

Also upcoming is Thomas’ feature length documentary film “ruth weiss: One More Step West Is The Sea” (2021), and a full biography of weiss’ life and works.

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Final Call For T-Shirt Orders!

Unfortunately, no orders can be taken after the August 1 deadline, so please help to keep the EBSN going, and grab a piece of Coronavirus memorobilia by buying one of our awesome shirts, HERE.

Please note payments can be made via Visa and Mastercard credit cards, or bank transfer only (no PayPal either, sorry). The order form does not verify payments, so you may receive confirmation of your order before you receive a payment confirmation.

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Burroughs and Cohen – New Publications

Check out our New Publications section for details of some very interesting new books, including new editions of early cut-up texts featuring William Burroughs, and a collection of Ira Cohen’s mylar chamber photographs.

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Podcast Interview with A. Robert Lee

Produced to celebrate Lee’s recent and upcoming publications, and in part to prepare for the launch of a regular EBSN podcast, to be made available from this website. Topics discussed include American Studies in the UK, Eric Mottram, Harold Norse and more. Watch this space! [Interview conducted and produced by Benjamin Heal]


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Letter from Oliver Harris on CUT-UPS@60

2020 is the tenth anniversary of the EBSN and we wanted to celebrate the occasion with our most ambitious plans: the special Cut-Ups@60 double conference in Paris and London this September, featuring terrific line-ups of creative and critical participants.

At the end of March, I said we’d review in June our plans in light of the virus pandemic, and there’s no point delaying the inevitable decision to cancel. The health and safety of everyone involved must come first. We aim to reschedule for September 2021, however, and will update you as plans develop.

Unfortunately, cancelling our conferences is not just a massive disappointment for everyone involved, but an emergency for the EBSN itself. Quite simply, without conference income, the EBSN cannot cover its annual running costs and will need to be wound up unless we find revenue from other sources.

Our hope is that you, our members, can help sustain the EBSN through the current crisis and indeed enable us to develop in new ways into the future.

We want to reach out beyond our annual conferences and to move forward by creating opportunities for authors, poets, artists, academics, activists or anyone working in the Beat area to share their work with others online. In particular, we’re looking to organise one-off short events online, which would be accesible for a small fee, and if you have any ideas or would like to participate, please contact Polina (,cy).

I realise the financial future for many people has become precarious, but if you have found the EBSN has lived up to its ambitions to be a community of scholars and artists, open to all, crossing national borders and disciplinary divisions, then I’d like to invite you to help keep it alive by pledging financial support, however modest.

There are several ways you can help keep the EBSN going:

  1. Order our Anniversary T-Shirt (, which generates a small profit to the EBSN because we can order in bulk and still sell at cost. We need a hundred orders to make this viable, and have extended the deadline until August 1st with a view to mailing out all orders by September. Please order ASAP and show your support for the EBSN by wearing our shirt with pride!
  2. Make a donation online (; even just €10 or €20 would make a great difference.
  3. If you’ve registered and paid for the Paris and/or London conference, we will refund your fees in full; but you could consider letting us hold onto the payment for the rescheduled conference in 2021 or, better still, donate the money to the EBSN. Please email me ( whatever you prefer to do.
  4. Sponsor the EBSN! As a registered charity, it may be possible for you to make a tax-deductible donation. For more information see here (

Finally, to end on a terribly sad note, I wanted to pass on the news that Jürgen Ploog died on May 21. Jürgen, who was to have been our keynote in Paris, was one of the few writers to truly take cut-up methods further. He was also a man of great charm and dignity who graced several EBSN conferences. On our website, we honour his life and work, as we have other greats who have recently passed away, Genesis P’Orridge and Michael McClure (

With thanks for any support you can offer, and hoping you and your loved ones stay well,

All best wishes,

Oliver and the EBSN Board

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CUT-UPS@60 Postponed

Yes, sadly we have been forced to postpone our plans for the double conference in September until at least 2021. More info to come soon…

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Jürgen Ploog

We are terribly sad at the loss of Jürgen, who passed away on May 21. We were lucky to have his presence at several of our conferences, and he was due to be a keynote at CUT-UPS@60.

See the warm words of Oliver Harris and Edward Robinson here.

See Peter Oehler’s fascinating in-depth obituary (in German) here.

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