Beat: used to describe both a literary and lifestyle movement popular among a group of post-World War II American writers, including Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. Beat writers concerned themselves with a rejection of materialism and capitalism, as well as an exuberant, unexpurgated means of expression and being.

Free verse: a form of poetry that refrains from consistent meter patterns, rhyme, or any other musical pattern.

Manifest destiny: the 19th century American belief that the United States was destined to expand across the North American continent.

Modernist poetry: refers to poetry written between 1890 and 1950 in the tradition of modernist literature in the English language. The questions of impersonality and objectivity seem to be crucial to Modernist poetry. Modernism developed out of a tradition of lyrical expression, emphasizing the personal imagination, culture, emotions and memories of the poet. For the modernists, it was essential to move away from the merely personal towards an intellectual statement that poetry could make about the world.

Romanticism: a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, it was also a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature. The movement validated strong emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as trepidation, horror and terror, and awe—especially that which is experienced in confronting the sublimity of untamed nature and its picturesque qualities, both new aesthetic categories.