The Legacy Project at County College of Morris (CCM) will host a forum on the influential Beat Generation, a time period in American literary history that saw writers breaking from the pack and developing their own countercultural voices.
The forum, Women of the Beat Generation, will feature author Joyce Johnson and poet Hettie Jones, two significant Beat generation figures.
The event takes place Tuesday, April 22, in the Davidson Rooms in the Student Community Center, from 12:30 – 1:45 p.m., on CCM’s Randolph campus, 214 Center Grove Road. The program is free and open to the public. A book signing will be held immediately after the forum.
“The Legacy Project is an interdisciplinary initiative that strives to bring important speakers to campus to discuss historical events and their present-day context,” explains Professor Michelle Altieri, co-chair of The Legacy Project.
For an event remembering the Beat Generation, project members wanted speakers who lived and wrote about this time period to discuss their experiences.
During the Beat Generation, Johnson published her first novel, Come and Join the Dance, which is considered the first Beat novel by a woman. In 1957, Johnson met Jack Kerouac on a blind date arranged by Allen Ginsberg. Their affair lasted two years and Johnson was with Kerouac the night The New York Times called him the voice of his generation. Johnson would go on to become an important Beat scholar and her 1983 memoir, Minor Characters, won a National Book Critics Circle Award.
Jones is a distinguished poet who now teaches at The New School in New York City. Her book, How I Became Hettie Jones, is a memoir of the Beat scene of the 1950s and 1960s that she wrote in remembrance of her marriage to LeRoi Jones (the late Amiri Baraka). She has won the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award and for more than a decade ran a writing workshop at the New York State Correctional Facility for Women at Bedford Hills.
The Legacy Project was established at CCM by the newly formed Communication department with the interdisciplinary help of professors in a variety of departments in the Division of Liberal Arts. The Legacy Project, which is co-sponsored by the Bridging Cultures Initiative and Diversity Committee at CCM, is co-chaired by Professor Michelle Altieri, Communication; Professor Emily Birx, English and Philosophy; and Professor John Soltes, Communication.
The Legacy Project’s first program took place last December and focused on the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement. At that event, the CCM community and others heard from speakers who talked about their personal work with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., poetry in South Africa and current obstacles in American society.
For more information, contact Professor Michelle Altieri at 973-328-2498
. Groups can reserve space at the April 22 event by contacting Professor Altieri.