Hard to Be a Saint in the City

The Spiritual Vision of the Beats
By Robert Inchausti
 - Paperback


Shambhala Publications
Pages: 208
Size: 5.5 x 8.5
ISBN: 9781611804171
Related Topics
It’s been said that Jack Kerouac made it cool to be a thinking person seeking a spiritual experience. And there is no doubt that the writers he knew and inspired—iconic figures like Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Gary Snyder, and Michael McClure—were thinkers seeking exactly that. In this re-claiming of their vision, Robert Inchausti explores the Beat canon to reveal that the movement was at heart a spiritual one. It goes deeper than the Buddhism with which many of the key figures became identified. It’s about their shared perception of an existence in which the Divine reveals itself in the ordinary. Theirs is a spirituality where real life triumphs over airy ideals and personal authenticity becomes both the content and the vehicle for a kind of refurbished American Transcendentalism.
News & Reviews

"In Hard to be a Saint in the City, the rigorous and dynamic Robert Inchausti threads the singular voices of the Beat Generation into an inspired ensemble of edited voices that lifts up insight after insight. As a whole, their depth and innovation speak to the strength and tear of American life and, even more, to the enduring proposition held in the chapter title “The Universe Is the Messiah.” This book offers a one-of-a-kind recording from the basement of America where spiritual riffs awakened our sudden connection to a timeless consciousness that gave rise to the sixties. More relevant than ever!" —Mark Nepo, author of The Book of Awakening and More Together Than Alone

"Long ago a ‘commonplace book’ was a widely known and useful tool for preserving pithy statements and nuggets of wisdom. In the last century, this type of book virtually disappeared. However, Robert Inchausti has single-handedly revived the form with his new book Hard to Be a Saint in the City. The collection vibrates with quotations by and about the writers of the Beat Generation and reveals their basic (and often overlooked) spiritual quests. You can read it from cover to cover or dip into it anywhere and you won't go away disappointed." —Bill Morgan, author of The Beat Atlas and The Beats Abroad: A Global Guide to the Beat Generation

"A marvelous book. What better way to present the wild wisdom and beatitude of the Beats than by letting them speak for themselves in their own untamed voices? Here, Inchausti orchestrates those voices into a slowly unfolding revelation that feels symphonic in its scope and complexity." —David Hinton, author of Hunger Mountain and The Wilds of Poetry

"Inchausti has compiled this treasury of excerpts from the luminary and the lesser figures of the generation in a way that explains the spiritual beliefs, motivations, and actualizations of the Beat Movement in their own words." —The Advocate

Reader Reviews