Thursday, August 16, 2018

Curation #115 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory edited by Gerald Nicosia



Item #115 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 2009 Noodlebrain Press first edition (no printing number) of Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory edited by Gerald Nicosia. 187 pages, it measures about 6" x 9" and is in very good condition. The provenance is that I got it directly from the editor, who signed and inscribed the title page thus:
For Rick Dale--
Who's been on the Beat
trail a long time
(still some surprises)
[drawing of a rose]
a rose from
St. Theresa--
Peace &
friendship--
Gerry Nicosia
1-24-12
Corte Madera
As the author's website states:
Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory is the first biography of post-Beat novelist and poet Jan Kerouac. Edited by Gerald Nicosia, it contains contributions by Nicosia, Phil Cousineau, Brenda Knight, Aram Saroyan, Brad Parker, John Allen Cassady, R.B. Morris, Jacques Kirouac, Adiel Gorel, Lee Harris, Mary Emmerick, Lynn Kushel Archer, Carl Macki, John Zielinski, Buddah (John Paul Pirolli), and Dan McKenzie, as well as a long interview with Jan by Nicosia and over 40 photographs.
I reviewed this book on March 1, 2012 here, and I encourage readers to visit that link for my take on this book. If you're just joining us, Jan was a gifted writer, and we curated three of her works earlier in this project:

June 20, 2018 Baby Driver
June 21, 2018 Trainsong
June 25, 2018 Excerpts from Parrot Fever


You can contact the editor directly to see about getting a signed copy here.




Below is a picture of Shelf #4 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (9th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Mañana Means Heaven  by Tim Z. Hernandez.

Shelf #4 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Curation #114 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac by Gerald Nicosia


Item #114 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 1994 University of California Press 4th printing of Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac by Gerald Nicosia. 767 pages, it measures about 6" x 9" and is in fair condition (I refer to it frequently so it is well-used, annotated, sticky-noted, highlighted, underlined, and so on). The provenance is that I bought it used from Amazon in the early 2000s, but the title page was signed and inscribed by the author during his stay at my house in Belgrade Lakes, Maine in April 2013:
CHEZ DALE -- Belgrade Lakes
For Rick Dale --
Who keeps Jack's true
spirit alive -- in kindness
and care for justice --
in love of the simple things --
and remember the birds for
Gerard!
In peace &
friendship --
Love --
Gerry Nicosia
April 24, 2013

Memory Babe is one of the earliest  Kerouac biographies. First published by Grove Press, Inc. in 1983, it was preceded by Ann Charters' (1973) and Dennis McNally's (1979) works (curated here and here). It remains one of the most comprehensive and definitive. The title derives from the nickname young Jack's friends ascribed to him because of his prodigious memory. You can read The Washington Post's review of it here.

Memory Babe is a massive work, with biographical details of Kerouac's life (in part based on 300 some interviews Nicosia conducted) interwoven with literary criticism of Jack's major works. One of the things my great friend Richard Marsh taught me that is a fantastic thing to do is to read the sections of Memory Babe relevant to a Kerouac book and then immediately read the book. Or do it simultaneously. This takes some work with the index as all the comments about a novel are not necessarily in one spot (e.g., The Dharma Bums is listed in the index as being mentioned on pages 496, 547, 570, 573, 575, 577, 579, 585, 587, 599, 619, 627, and 640).

Memory Babe is divided into three "Books" that cover the time from Jack's birth through his death (1922-1946, 1947-1955, and 1956-1969). It includes 16 pages of pictures and a 21-page index. Author Nicosia created an archive of materials related to his work on the book, and that archive is open to the public in Jack's hometown of Lowell, MA. Richard and I visited the archive in March of 2015 and I blogged about it three times:

3-28-15
3-31-15
4-4-15 

If you are a Kerouac fan or scholar, Memory Babe is a must for your Kerouac bookshelf. Sadly, it is currently out-of-print, but you can contact the author directly to see about getting a signed copy (see #7 here), plus there are used copies available at the usual places.



Below is a picture of Shelf #4 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (8th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory edited by Gerald Nicosia.

Shelf #4 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Curation #113 from my Kerouac bookshelf: The Selected Letters of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder edited by Bill Morgan



Item #113 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this hardcover 2009 Counterpoint first printing of The Selected Letters of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder edited by Bill Morgan. 321 pages, it measures about 6" x 9" and is in very good condition. The provenance? I don't remember.

Years ago, friends and family wrote each other letters to communicate. Now, it seems, that practice has been largely usurped by e-mails and texts and Tweets and Facebook messages, etc. I continue the practice with my friends Charlie and Gerry, who live at great distance, and I must say that it is quite satisfying.

To wit, Beat triumvirate member Allen Ginsberg and Kerouac muse Gary Snyder, poets both, wrote each other more than 850 letters between 1956 and 1991. Ginsberg biographer Bill Morgan has selected the most significant letters from their long friendship and collected them in this volume.

This book provides a fascinating and intimate look into the friendship and lives of two major figures in the Beat Generation story. There are 16 pages of pictures and an index. Morgan lists who was writing to whom and where they were for each letter, and provides unobtrusive explanatory footnotes when necessary. The book begins with a short preface by Morgan and a brief note from Snyder, who is still alive at this writing (Ginsberg died in 1997).

I highly recommend this book to Kerouac or Beat Generation fans. It won't disappoint.






Below is a picture of Shelf #4 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (7th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac by Gerald Nicosia.

Shelf #4 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Monday, August 13, 2018

Curation #112 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Ring of Bone: Collected Poems by Lew Welch



Item #112 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 2012 City Lights (no printing number) copy of Ring of Bone: Collected Poems by Lew Welch. 262 pages, it measures about 5-1/2" x 8-3/4" and is in good condition (lots of dog-ears -- I don't remember doing that but it must have been me). The provenance is that this was a review copy I received from the publisher.

And, indeed, I did review this book here on The Daily Beat here on August 16, 2012. Lew Welch was a Hell of a poet, and as I said then, I love his poetry. I provided the following caveat important to a curation effort:
. . . do not confuse this with the 1979 edition of the same title, which was published not long after Lew "left his car and his camp and his plan, and walked off [from Gary Snyder's house] into the wilds of the northern Sierra" (p. 13), never to be heard from again (or found). This is a new (2012) edition from City Lights Books with a preface by Gary Snyder (Japhy Ryder in The Dharma Bums).
Regular readers need no introduction to Welch, but if you need one, check out my review at the link above. This book definitely deserves a spot on any Kerouac bookshelf worth its salt. That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.



Rather than an Amazon link, here is a link to City Lights where you can -- and should -- buy Ring of Bone directly from the publisher. You're welcome, Mr. Ferlinghetti. Sorry, Mr. Bezos.



Below is a picture of Shelf #4 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (6th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: The Selected Letters of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder edited by Bill Morgan.

Shelf #4 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Curation #111 from my Kerouac bookshelf: One and Only: The Untold Story of On The Road & Lu Anne Henderson, the Woman Who Started Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady on Their Journey by Gerald Nicosia and Anne Marie Santos



Item #111 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 2012 Viva Editions first edition first printing of One and Only: The Untold Story of On The Road & Lu Anne Henderson, the Woman Who Started Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady on Their Journey by Gerald Nicosia and Anne Marie Santos. 256 pages, it measures about 5-3/8" x8-1/8" and is in very good condition. The provenance is that I got it directly from the co-author, Gerald Nicosia, who inscribed and signed the title page.

Since we curated the hardback edition of this book yesterday (click here), there is not much else to be said. This edition does have a new preface in which Nicosia gives a behind-the-scenes look at the making of On The Road, the movie. We published an interview with Nicosia about this very topic here on The Daily Beat (with exclusive pictures) back in May of 2012.

Whether hardcover or paperback, this book definitely belongs on the bookshelf of any dedicated Kerouac fan or scholar.







Below is a picture of Shelf #4 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (5th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Ring of Bone: Collected Poems by Lew Welch.

Shelf #4 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Curation #110 from my Kerouac bookshelf: One and Only: The Untold Story of On The Road & Lu Anne Henderson, the Woman Who Started Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady on Their Journey by Gerald Nicosia and Anne Marie Santos



Item #110 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this hardcover 2011 Viva Editions first edition first printing of One and Only: The Untold Story of On The Road & Lu Anne Henderson, the Woman Who Started Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady on Their Journey by Gerald Nicosia and Anne Marie Santos. 244 pages. it measures about 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" and is in very good condition. The provenance is that this was a review copy I received directly from the publisher.

Gerald Nicosia is no stranger to regular readers of The Daily Beat. He is well-known as an early Kerouac biographer (Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac) and I have posted interviews with Gerry in the past. In this book, Nicosia teams up with Anne Marie Santos, the daughter of Lu Anne Henderson ("Marylou" in On The Road) to bring us an intimate and in-depth look at the woman who, as the title indicates, "started Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady on their journey."

I reviewed this book in-depth on February 24, 2012, so there is no need to go into detail here. You can read that review here.

This book definitely deserves a spot on your Kerouac bookshelf.







Below is a picture of Shelf #4 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (4th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: a paperback copy of One and Only: The Untold Story of On The Road & Lu Anne Henderson, the Woman Who Started Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady on Their Journey by Gerald Nicosia and Anne Marie Santos.

Shelf #4 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Friday, August 10, 2018

Curation #109 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs



Item #109 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this hardcover 1959 copyright Grove Press, Inc. 12th printing of William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch. 255 pages, it measures about 5-1/2" x 8" and is in very good condition. The provenance is that I bought it from Twice-Sold Tales, a used bookstore in Farmington, Maine, for $10.50 a few years ago.

Naked Lunch is widely acknowledged as Burroughs' masterpiece, the title of which was suggested by Jack Kerouac. It means "a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork" (p. v). The book is a series of vignettes that Burroughs would say can be read in any order. It deals with familiar Burroughs themes: drug addiction, sexuality, the "establishment." The book was banned in Boston for obscenity, but won on appeal as having "social value."

Confession: I've tried to read Naked Lunch twice and stopped both times. Most recently, last month, I made it to p. 51 (a section titled, "The Black Meat") before I stalled out. To me, it is as incoherent as The Wild Boys, which I opined about here (make sure to read Kurt Phaneuf's comment). But that is part of Burroughs' genius, the unsettling of the reader not only by topic but also by the writing itself.

I'll slog through it eventually.







Below is a picture of Shelf #4 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (3rd from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: One and Only: The Untold Story of On The Road & Lu Anne Henderson, the Woman Who Started Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady on Their Journey by Gerald Nicosia and Anne Marie Santos.

Shelf #4 of my Kerouac bookshelf