The San Franciso School blends into the next grouping -- the "Beat" poets, who emerged in the 1950s. Most of the important Beats (beatniks) migrated to San Francisco from the East Coast, gaining their initial national recognition in California. Major Beat writers have included Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs. Beat poetry is oral, repetitive, and immensely effective in readings, largely because it developed out of poetry readings in underground clubs. Some might correctly see it as a great-grandparent of the rap music that became prevalent in the 1990s.
Beat poetry was the most anti-establishment form of literature in the United States, but beneath its shocking words lies a love of country. The poetry is a cry of pain and rage at what the poets see as the loss of America's innocence and the tragic waste of its human and material resources.
Poems like Allen Ginsberg's Howl (1956) revolutionized traditional poetry:
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,
starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking
for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection
to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night...