William S. Burroughs’ Scathing “Thanksgiving Prayer,” Shot by Gus Van Sant

“Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1986” first appeared in print in Tornado Alley, a chapbook published by William S. Burroughs in 1989. Two years later, Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, My Own Private Idaho, Milk) shot a montage that brought the poem to film, making it at least the second time the director adapted the beat writer to film.

If you’ve seen Burroughs use Shakepseare’s face for target practice, or if you’ve watched The Junky’s Christmasyou’ll know that he wasn’t kind to convention or tradition. And there are no prisoners taken here, as you’ll see above.

For background on Burroughs read the New Yorker piece, “The Outlaw, The extraordinary life of William S. Burroughs.” Find the text for “Thanksgiving Prayer” here.

Now time for a little Thanksgiving dinner….

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Related Content:

Hear a Great Radio Documentary on William S. Burroughs Narrated by Iggy Pop

Gus Van Sant Adapts William S. Burroughs: An Early 16mm Short

William S. Burroughs’ Short Class on Creative Reading

How to Jumpstart Your Creative Process with William S. Burroughs’ Cut-Up Technique

William S. Burroughs’ Class on Writing Sources (1976)

A Look Inside William S. Burroughs’ Bunker

A Short Visual History of America, According to the Irreverent Comic Satirist R. Crumb


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