From the time I started turning my hand to poetry, it was clear that my influences were writers, and musicians firmly placed in that world of “The Cool” I was inspired by Jazz loving Beatniks and the Original Beat Generation writers, but also by Gil Scott Heron, the jazz- hip hop style of Galliano, British musician Paul Weller, The lyricism Of Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes etc. I could go on and on. Even now I can be clearly influenced by what I define as “cool” Obviously what I term “Cool” is subjective. But, the point is, is that these things that shape me as a person, whether it be stylistically, musically or even literally are things that I have admired, sometimes trying to emulate in some way (more often than not failing), that which drives me. It has allowed me to discover myself. Maybe I am a little obsessive, and even insecure- but if it wasn’t for what I have discovered on my personal “road trip” I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing now. In 1996 I wrote a very slim collection of poetry titled The New Beat Generation. This title came from a poem I had written. It’s not a ground shaking Howl or a great opus. It was just a call for something to happen. The writers I admire are the ones that say things as they are, and highlight things that are sometimes wrong, or are so perfectly wonderful that there should be more of it. Things can be fickle and fast moving, or languishing in a luxurious state of enrichment, enlightenment and wellbeing. It could be simple or not – but we are signposted by their eloquence to put into words or music that which needs to be said.
The New Beat Generation
Remember the Beat Generation?
Black rollnecks and shades, Jazz clubs and blades
Open minds and open hearts
On the Road is where Jack Kerouac starts
Take his example
Take to the highway
New sights and sounds
Interests with no bounds
Lap it all up like a bowl of cream
Make this reality realise it’s dream
Look and observe different lives come and go
Enjoy, recognise and learn to know
The Beat Generation knew the score –
And after all what are our lives for?
The time has come for a New Beat Generation
The time has come for a New Beat Generation
Where excess beats moderation
And love rules over the nation.
Jason Disley (1995)
That poem was the catalyst too my endeavours as a poet. Roll on to the present day and my style has evolved as it naturally would, although my ideas of influences remain the same. I am constantly looking for inspiration from somewhere.
Now for me as an individual the call for The New Beat Generation is long gone. There are many great poets and artists out there. Each generation brings about their voice. Some are heard, like say Kate Tempest for example, who is very popular these days. Others are heard more locally in their own areas – all spreading their words, some are full of angst, some are full of romance, but all are full of passion. But, moving on and back to what I write. Many that know me know what my influences are – and this is where Modernist Beat comes in. I am in many ways a product of my own influences, like a sponge I soak in what enthrals me. I then take it in the direction I want. I write being true to myself. Serving up spontaneous verse that reveals where my head is at, at that time. Sometimes it works, sometimes it may not. But my efforts are always about creating something. Poetry is my thing. Not everyone will understand it, not everyone will appreciate it. Some will think it’s namby pamby nonsense. But to those who do read my work, I hope that there is something they recognise and identify with. These days like the Original Beats, I get to perform. Something a couple of years I never thought I’d ever do. But it is the natural progression. It is the evolving path I find myself on.
My new book Songs of Benevolence & Rage is a collection in two parts. It shows that I am still as angst ridden as I was when I was in my twenties when I started writing, but it also shows how I perhaps understand life a little better.
There are poems about enlightenment, love, war, frustration, kindness, thankfulness, loss, anger and the needs for change. All brought together to give you -as fellow poet Robert Garnham writes –
a fantastic collection of heart and feeling, which leaves the reader genuinely uplifted
Songs of Benevolence & Rage is available for £7.99
So for now – The New Beat has become The Modernist Beat, and I hope to continue to evolve. and maybe other writers will join me along the way.
Jason Disley (February 2018)