In the USA, there has been a tradition of poets and artists who were considered to go counter-culture, especially in the 1950s. This mythologizing has painted vivid images of Kerouac and James Dean, on bikes puffing mean cigarettes. And these artists, musicians, writers and poets rose up from the ashes of WWII and created a new world. Their work stands as a monument to change and revolution, things we almost dare not speak about today. Although art is ‘rooted’ in imagination, it is often through art that we begin to see clearly. “In a dark time the eye begins to see,” wrote poet, Theodore Roethke. Although these rebellious trends are less evident in Canada, which traditionally has played it safe (except perhaps for some Quebecois rebels), the US imagination spills over borders and infects. This is a good thing with true art, and not with the vacuous cacophony of Hollywood, pop or fashion trends. Being true to oneself as far as one’s honest voice goes is important. When things are not right, the artist will rebel. It is a kind of law of nature.
Here is a link to a great synopsis of the ‘rebel poets’ or movements of the 1950s.