Beat poetry evolved during the 1940s in both New York City and on the West Coast, although San Francisco became the heart of the movement in the early 1950s. The end of World War II left many poets questioning mainstream politics and culture. These poets would become known as the Beat generation, a group of writers interested in changing consciousness and defying conventional writing. The Beats were also closely intertwined with poets of the San Francisco Renaissance movement. The battle against social conformity and literary tradition was central to the work of the Beats.

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John Wieners 1934-2002 New York School, San Francisco Renaissance, Beat, Black Mountain
Anne Waldman 1945- New York School, Slam/Spoken Word, Beat
Gary Snyder 1930- Beat, Ethnopoetics, San Francisco Renaissance, Surrealism
Kenneth Rexroth 1905-1982 Objectivists, San Francisco Renaissance, Beat, Jazz Poetry
Rochelle Owens 1936- Beat, Ethnopoetics
David Meltzer 1937-2016 San Francisco Renaissance, Beat
Jack Kerouac 1922-1969 Beat
Bob Kaufman 1925-1986 Beat
Bobbie Louise Hawkins 1930-2018 Beat
Allen Ginsberg 1926-1997 San Francisco Renaissance, Slam/Spoken Word, Beat