Sunday, April 5, 2020

Remembering Alan Ginsberg

Alan Ginsberg (left) with Jack Kerouac

Poet and core Beat Generation member, Alan Ginsberg, died on this date -- April 5 -- in 1997. Ginsberg needs no introduction to understand the Kerouac connection. He appeared in too many Kerouac works, under aliases of course, to mention here, but you can determine what those were by visiting the excellent Character Key to Jack Kerou ac's Duluoz Legend. I will point out that in the two Kerouac novels -- On The Road and The Dharma Bums -- that inspired my book, The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions, Ginsberg appeared as Carlo Marx and Alvah Goldbrook, respectively.

Allen would be honored if you read -- or listen to him read -- some of his poetry today. You can find it in several places on-line. Here are a couple of links to get you started:

Poetry Foundation

Ginsberg reading "Howl"

It is an instructive exercise to read along while listening to Ginsberg read "Howl."

Despite his living until 1997, when I was 41, I never saw Ginsberg in person. I came into the Kerouac fold late in life, around 2002, 5 years after Allen passed.

RIP, Mr. Ginsberg. I'm sorry I never got to meet you.




Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Reminder of our comments policy



The President has reminded me -- by using the term "snarky" to describe legitimate questions coming from the press during  his daily stroke-fest -- that on occasion I need to remind readers of our comment policy.

It's over there on the right------->
(you may need to scroll down)


Here is what it says:

1. Anonymous comments will not be published.
2. Comments unrelated to the target post will not be published.
3. Snark and ad hominem comments will not be published.


In other words, you need to identify yourself by a username or it comes through as being from "Anonymous," and in such cases I will not publish the comment. Even if you identify yourself in the body of the comment you still may get deleted because I batch delete comments from "Anonymous" and don't always catch those.

Comments about cheap Viagra and how to make your own Fleshlight will likewise get deleted.

Rude comments and personal attacks on me or others will likewise get deleted.

My spam filters are not foolproof and it may be that you send a comment and I never see it because I am not about to police the hundreds of automatically filtered spam comments.

Sorry if you sent a legit comment and didn't see it posted. That's just the way it goes. Chalk it up to another of life's little losses.

Remember what Ellis said about loss in No Country For Old Men:
Well, all time you spend trying to get back what's been took from you, more is going out the door. After a while you just have to try to get a tourniquet on it.



Monday, March 30, 2020

A "three-fer" date in the Kerouac world

John Clellon Holmes, Robert Creeley, Carl Solomon (L-R)

Today is a "three-fer" date in the Kerouac world.

Jack Kerouac's "soul brother" John Clellon Holmes died on this date in 1988. He appeared in a number of Kerouac's works: as Ian MacArthur in On The Road; Mac Jones and Balliol MacJones in The Subterraneans; Wilson and John Watson in Visions of Cody; James Watson in Book of Dreams; Clellon Holmes in Maggie Cassidy; and, Eugene Pasternak in Doctor Sax.

Poet Robert Creeley died on this date in 2005. He appeared as Rainey in two Kerouac books, Desolation Angels and Book of Dreams (expanded edition)

"Howl" muse Carl Solomon was born on this date in 1930. He appeared in two of Jack Kerouac's works: as Carl Rappaport in Visions of Cody and as Carl Solobone in Book of Sketches.

Want more info? We wished Holmes and Creeley happy birthday HERE and HERE, and remembered Solomon HERE.

March 30! Who knew?


Friday, March 27, 2020

Happy Belated Birthday to Gregory Corso



Yesterday was Beat poet Gregory Corso's birthday (born March 26, 1930). Corso appeared in a number of Jack Kerouac's works: Yuri Gligoric in The Subterraneans; Raphael Urso in Book of Dreams and Desolation Angels (also as Gregory in the latter); and, Manuel in Beat Generation.

We remembered Gregory back on January 17 (click HERE).

You can read a bio and some of his poetry HERE.

Happy Belated Birthday in Beat heaven, Mr. Corso.




Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Happy 101st Birthday to Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Lawrence Ferlinghetti reading in front of City Lights

Today is Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 101st birthday! He appeared in Jack Kerouac's Big Sur as Lorenzo Monsanto. Click HERE for a brief bio. Click HERE for his official Facebook page.

Well-known for being the co-founder of San Francisco's City Lights Booksellers & Publishers and publishing Beat literature, Ferlinghetti is an accomplished writer and a well-regarded poet. To wit, here is an apropos example:


"PITY THE NATION"
(After Khalil Gibran)

Pity the nation whose people are sheep
   And whose shepherds mislead them
 Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
            Whose sages are silenced
  And whose bigots haunt the airwaves
 Pity the nation that raises not its voice
          Except  to praise conquerers
       And acclaim the bully as hero
          And aims to rule the world
              By force and by torture
          Pity the nation that knows
        No other language but its own
      And no other culture but its own
 Pity the nation whose breath is money
 And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
      Pity the nation oh pity the people
        who allow their rights to  erode
   and their freedoms to be washed away
               My country, tears of thee
                   Sweet land of liberty!



Click HERE for the source and for more poems. Unfortunately, City Lights is closed because of the Trump virus. They are thus practicing "spacious solidarity," which sounds less alienating than "social distancing."

Happy Birthday, Mr. Ferlinghetti.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Previously unpublished 2012 interview with Gerald Nicosia

Gerald Nicosia with Jan Kerouac at Naropa in 1982

In my previous post I mentioned my friend, Kerouac biographer Gerald Nicosia. Recently, a previously unpublished 2012 interview with him appeared in Mill Valley Literary Review. You can read that interview by clicking HERE.


Remembering Joanne Kyger

Joanne Kyger
Today we remember poet Joanne Kyger, who died on this date -- March 22 -- in 2017. I don't think she appeared in any of Jack Kerouac's works, but she was married for 5 years or so to Gary Snyder (Japhy in The Dharma Bums).

We wished her a happy birthday on November 19. You can read that post by clicking HERE (it includes a link to some of her poems).

On the synchronicity front, yesterday I received a postcard (actually it came two days ago, but we are letting our mail "percolate" for 24 hours in the mailbox outside before we bring it into the house for fear of exposure to the coronavirus currently plaguing the world) from my friend, Kerouac biographer Gerry Nicosia, and it just so happened to be the Allen Ginsberg picture of Joanne Kyger and Gary Snyder on a dock in the Sea of Japan. Gerry mentioned in his card that he knew Joanne quite well and that she was "lively, witty, + lots of fun!"

The aforementioned postcard on my laptop (BTW, that Google Chrome pic is Salzburg, Austria)

RIP, Ms. Kyger.