Okay, we sort of tell kids that art is a good thing. We tell them that artists are to be admired. We sort of tell them poetry is a fine thing, but God forbid anyone really teaches this stuff any more! When looking through this book I was awed and angered. Presented here are some of the most influential artists, of nearly every medium, that worked in America during the late 20th Century, but I would like to see how many of these names have any familiarity to people.
I conducted my own little experiment. I asked people to tell me who Allen Ginsberg was. I chose Ginsberg because I thought he had the most recognizable name. Out of the 20 I asked, three were able to tell me they "thought" he was a writer. One told me he was a poet, but when I asked if he wrote "Howl!" or "A Coney Island of the Mind", he didn't know. (He wrote "Howl!" Lawrence Ferlinghetti wrote the other.)
Get this book and let it lead you to dozens more books and see the depth of artistic experiment that Wallace Berman encouraged. Then go get outraged and start loudly reciting poetry on the train platform while you're waiting to get into the city for your job at the bank.
This beautiful coffee table book is an intriguing study of the people and their lasting contributions to our culture. It should be in every library and in every school that claims it is educating our children.