Thursday, July 19, 2018

Curation #88 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters, 1957-1958 by Jack Kerouac and Joyce Johnson



Item #88 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this hardcover 2000 Viking first edition first printing of Joyce Johnson's Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters, 1957-1958. 182 pages, it measures about 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" and is in very good condition. The provenance is uncertain but it was likely an Amazon purchase. Sorry for the glare in the picture above.

This is a collection of letters between Jack Kerouac and his then girlfriend Joyce Glassman (now  Johnson). Jack's words are all in the letters, but Johnson supplements her letters with an introduction and helpful explanatory matter throughout. There is an index.

These letters cover the time immediately before, during, and after the publication of On The Road, making this a significant contribution to Kerouac scholarship and offering firsthand insights into his life and thought process at the time. It likewise offers insights into Johnson's life and thought process; she is an often unheralded but important writer and figure in the Beat story (as are many other woman in that circle). You can read Part I here as well as access a link to the NY Times review of the book.

Highly recommended for your Kerouac bookshelf.







Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (8th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Gerard: The Influence of Jack Kerouac's Brother on His Life and Writing by Donald Motier.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Curation #87 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Understanding Jack Kerouac's ON THE ROAD by Edward Renehan



Item #87 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this 2012 New Street Communications edition (no printing number) of Edward Renehan's Understanding Jack Kerouac's ON THE ROAD. 63 pages, it measures about 6" x 9" and is in very good condition. The provenance is likely that I bought it via Amazon.

I purchased this book when I was teaching On The Road in my first year seminar at the University of Maine at Farmington, thinking I would get some new insights to share with students. There are points with which I strongly agree. For example, regarding On The Road:
Notably, just about every review, whether positive or negative, failed to acknowledge Kerouac's vision of the work as the narrative of a journey toward spiritual enlightenment: a holy pilgrimage by flawed mortals seeking some semblance of Truth. (p. 51)
On The Road is a spiritual book, yet many miss that. This is something I learned from Gerry Nicosia, and that has been reinforced since by others including Renehan.

There are other points in the book that were new to me. For example, Oswald Spengler's notion of "second religiousness." I may have read about that somewhere else, but it stuck out to me in Renehan's treatise (perhaps because it is a chapter title). To wit, the book includes the following chapters/sections:

Preface
Beats
Revelation
Second Religousness
Stigmata
Purgatory
Bibliography


This book could use some serious editing, but a theme (spirituality) does come through and Kerouac fans would likely enjoy this quick read.








Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (7th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affir in Letters, 1957-1958 by Jack Kerouac and Joyce Johnson.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Curation #86 from my Kerouac bookshelf: The Portable Jack Kerouac edited by Ann Charters



Item #86 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 1996 Penguin Books 1st printing of The Portable Jack Kerouac edited by Ann Charters. 621 pages, it measures about 5" x 7-5/8" and is in good condition. The provenance is that I bought it from a used bookstore (the name escapes me) in Belgrade Lakes, Maine.

As the back cover indicates,
This one volume omnibus, planned by the author before his death [Jack was inspired when he saw The Portable Steinbeck] and now completed by his biographer, Ann Charters, makes clear the ambition and accomplishment of Jack Kerouac's "Legend of Duluoz"--the story of his life told in the course of his many "true-story novels," including On the Road.
This collection includes selected prose from his books (Duluoz Legend and beyond), poetry, essays, and letters. It really can serve its titular purpose -- to be the one Kerouac book that comprises a thoughtful, representative sampling of his works. That, in fact, is why I bought it; unfortunately, I haven't used it that way. It strikes me now that it might be just the book to leave at camp for when I'm jonesing for some Kerouac. I had a copy of On The Road out there last year but it didn't always fit my mood.

There is a preface and an introduction, a chronology of Jack's life, Jack's own introduction (from Lonesome Traveler), an editor's introduction including a letter from Jack to John Clellon Holmes musing about such a book, a character identity key, and a Kerouac bibliography. Many of the selections are introduced with a brief editor's note.

If the purpose of this book is to, as Jack described it, capture the "'essence'" of his prose and poetry "'in one binder to carry around and read at leisure'" (p. 4), this book fits the bill. It deserves a spot on your Kerouac bookshelf, or, better yet, in your canvas rucksack.

There are over 100 books in the portable library series (purchased from Viking Press by Penguin Books in 1975). You can see a list here.










Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (6th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Understanding Kerouac's ON THE ROAD by Edward Renehan.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Monday, July 16, 2018

Curation #86 from my Kerouac bookshelf: A second copy of Ann Charters' Jack Kerouac: A Biography




Item #86 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback Warner Paperback Library edition of Ann Charter's Kerouac: A Biography. The only copyright date shown is 1974 and there is no printing number. 416 pages and measuring about  4" x 7", this copy is in rough shape: the pages are yellowed and, as evidenced by the above photo, the binding is broken completely, separating the book into two pieces around page 193. The provenance is that I bought it from a used bookstore in Portland, Maine. I already had the copy curated yesterday, but I liked the cover (illustration by Jim Sharpe, design by Gene Light).

Since I curated this book yesterday, there is no need to opine more about Charters' seminal Kerouac biography. It's the same book minus the updated preface from Charters in the newer edition. I got to see Ann Charters for the first (and only, so far) time in NYC in 2016 when Richard and I attended the Beat and Beyond event at the Howl! Happening arts center. Click here to read the stupid thing I said to Ann when I met her.








Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (5th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: The Portable Jack Kerouac edited by Ann Charters.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Curation #85 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Jack Kerouac: A Biography by Ann Charters



Item #85 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback St. Martin's Press 1994 edition (no printing number) of Ann Charters' Jack Kerouac A Biography. 416 pages, it measures about 5-1/2" x 8" and is in fair condition. The provenance is that I bought it used from Goodwill of NNE via Amazon on August 25, 2012 for $.08. Yes, you read that correctly. Shipping was $3.99 so I paid a total of $4.07.

First published in 1973, Charters' book is recognized as the earliest comprehensive Kerouac biography. It met with a positive review from the NY Times (click here). This edition includes a foreword by Allen Ginsberg, a preface and an introduction by the author, a set of photos, and 5 appendices (chronology, notes and sources, bibliographical chronology, character identity key, and index).

Since Charters' biography there have been many more. Click here for Dave Moore's flickr set of Kerouac biography cover photos, which includes 27 titles (including Bernice Lemire's Master's Thesis).

Many have pointed out errors in Charters' work, but it still stands as a solid Kerouac biography and it paved the way for much Kerouac scholarship to come. It's a compelling read and deserves a spot on your Kerouac bookshelf.









Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (4th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: another copy of Kerouac: A Biography by Ann Charters.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf

The Daily Beat reaches 10 years of Kerouac blogging!


My first post on The Daily Beat was 10 years ago today on July 15, 2008. It was a test post, and I didn't start posting in earnest until September when my book, The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions, appeared for sale on Amazon. I started blogging without really knowing what I was getting into, and since that time a lot has happened. For one thing, we have posted 1,453 times, which averages 145 times per year or once every 2.5 days. Not bad for a non-income generating (mostly -- if you don't count book sales spurred by my posts) blog and most of that time I was working full-time (having retired in May 2017). For another, I've interviewed some well-known Beat figures. For example, you can read my interview with Al Hinkle (Big Ed Dunkel from On The Road) here, my interview with Gerald Nicosia here, and my interview with Kerouac paramour Helen Weaver here.

We've done some serial posts over the 10 years. For a time in 2011, we posted about each entry in my book, including a picture of the relevant passage in The Dharma Bums or On The Road (start here and move forward in time). We've also done some recurring posts. For example, a few times we played 6 Degrees of Jack Kerouac (click here for the original).

Which reminds me, if you ever want to search this blog (or any website, for that matter) you only need to type in the address bar the search word and then the word site with a colon and the URL. So if you want to search my blog for instances where I mention the word Richard, it would look like this:

Richard site:https://thedailybeatblog.blogspot.com/

Regular readers know we are in the midst of curating my Kerouac bookshelf, with entry #85 up next. That's a serial that will run over 160 posts total.

We started a series called Beat Hero, but never got very far, having only completed two: Travis Tribble and John Wight. We ruminated on North Pond Hermit Christopher Knight being Beat Hero #3, but scoring an interview with him would be next to impossible. As always, if you think you are  a Beat Hero or know someone who is, let us know. (Note: Don't be fooled by my use of plural pronouns -- this is a one-person operation. Consider it a nod to a favorite Beat movie: The Big Lebowski and the Dude's explaining his use of the "royal we.")

We occasionally post blog stats. Kristen Stewart topless in On The Road continues to be #1 in pageviews (9,170), with Full text of On The Road plus #2 at 7,156 and How to pronounce "Cannes" #3 with 5,730. #4 is The joys and pitfalls of blogging, coming in at 3,045 pageviews. And #5 is A Kerouac favorite word: fellaheen (the latter is an example of me being schooled by readers).

Traffic here is a mystery to me. Posts usually get a few dozen pageviews in the early stages, but every once in a while a routine post will get hundreds right away (given enough time, many get into the thousands). I assume that high early number comes from others linking to my post. Or maybe it's Russian bots. Who knows? While I appreciate pageviews, that's not what it's about: this blog is a labor of love for Jack Kerouac.

I've spoiled some Kerouac myths on The Daily Beat, opined that Jack Kerouac was murdered, reviewed a number of books, reported on road trips to places like Lowell and San Francisco and Big Sur and France and NYC, posted spontaneous prose, linked to Kerouac news and resources, defended Jack's honor, explored the enigmatic number 23, reminded of important dates, written about requesting Jack's FBI files, held a Beat poetry contest, collected pictures of Kerouac license plates, archived a Beat dictionary, reported on visiting the Memory Babe archive in Lowell, posted pictures of Kerouac tattoos (mine and others'), published a post by a guest author (one more is in the works), reported on my efforts to get the USPS to issue a Jack Kerouac stamp, posted guest poetry, and given away a number of free books.

Which brings me to the end of this ramble. Perhaps you are expecting another book give-away, but if so, you are mistaken. That has not gone well in the past couple of tries (winners don't contact me with address details so I can't send them a book). So how are we going to celebrate our 10-year anniversary?

Simple: by posting a blog entry. And here it is. Feel free to tell us congratulations in a comment. Or support our efforts by purchasing a book -- I don't get rich but it's motivational.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE DAILY BEAT ON 10 YEARS OF KEROUAC BLOGGING!




Saturday, July 14, 2018

Tune in tomorrow for a special anniversary post!

The Daily Beat will hit a big anniversary milestone tomorrow, so tune in for a special post to commemorate the occasion.

Curation #84 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Jack Kerouac: A Biography by Tom Clark


Item #84 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback Thunder's Mouth Press 1990 edition (no printing number) of Tom Clark's Jack Kerouac: A Biography. It's 254 pages, measures about 6" x 9", and is in very good condition. The provenance is that I bought it for $1.09 via Amazon from HPB-Outlet in July 2012 (for once I kept the packing slip with the book).

This book, first published in 1984, includes a Kerouac chronology, an introduction by Carolyn Cassady, a bibliography, an index, and quite a few photos (many are quite grainy).The San Francisco Chronicle said it was "the only book about Kerouac worth reading" (cover blurb). Jacob Lititz, in a review of the book in Western American Literature in 1986, said:
Tom Clark's biography of Kerouac is pure biography. It isn't a thesis about Kerouac's life, his times, or his works. Clark goes directly to his job of giving a short, coherent, vivid picture of the life of Jack Kerouac.
Clark wrote this, of course, with several published biographies to reference, the most prominent being Charters' and McNally's, which he cites. Interestingly, he does not cite Nicosia's, but that may be because of timing (Memory Babe came out the year before).

It may be a function of my failing memory and not Clark's fault, but I read this book one time and so long ago (6 years) that I have no unique memories or opinions about it. I guess given the reviews above I should put it on my bucket list of books to re-read.








Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (3rd from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Kerouac: A Biography by Ann Charters.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Curation #83 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beat Generation, and America by Dennis McNally



Item #83 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 2003 Da Capo Press edition of Dennis McNally's Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beat Generation, and America. I cannot discern a printing number from this: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10--06   05   04   03. Maybe you can. Let me know. This copy is 404 pages, measures about 6" x 9" and is in very good condition. The provenance is that it was a Christmas present from my son, Jason, and daughter-in-law, Adri.

McNally first published this Kerouac biography in 1979, making it one of the earliest in-depth Kerouac biographies (Ann Charters', to be curated soon, came out in 1973; Gerald Nicosia's, also to be curated in the future, came out in 1983). McNally is the author of a Grateful Dead biography, A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead.

This book met with a fairly positive review from the NY Times. They called it a "nostalgic manifesto," indicating that McNally was not only a biographer but an inheritor of the spirit of his subject. It's been years since I read it but my memory is that it was an engaging read and full of details.

As McNally says in the 2002 Afterword:
But our need to venture out, to look for the heart of the dream, to travel in Whitman's and Jack's and Neal Cassady's footsteps--that need is greater than ever. That is a faith worth cherishing, and that is why Jack, however desolate, was an angel. Twenty-three years after publishing Desolate Angel, I think this book still honors that faith.
The book concludes: "The myths and dreams and the art remain, to disturb or inspire. Above all else, the road endures."

The road endures. Amen.








Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (2nd from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Jack Kerouac: A Biography by Tom Clark.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Curation #82 from my Kerouac bookshelf: The Voice is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac by Joyce Johnson



Item #82 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this hardcover 2012 Viking 3rd printing of Joyce Johnson's The Voice is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac. 489 pages (60 pages comprise the notes and index), it measures about 6-1/4" x 9-1/4" and is in very good condition. The provenance is uncertain but I probably bought it from Amazon or received it as a gift.

As the title suggests, this book is an exploration of how Jack Kerouac found his writer's voice amidst the conflict of being "caught between two cultures and two languages" (inside cover flap). It is a well-written book, which is no surprise given Joyce Johnson's credentials. She won the 1983 National Book Critics Circle Award for her Kerouac memoir, Minor Characters, to be curated later. Johnson was Kerouac's girlfriend at the time On The Road was published in 1957 (something she talks about in Minor Characters but not so much here as this story ends in 1951). She published a book of letters to and from Kerouac titled, Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters, 1957-1958 (also to be curated later).

Johnson based this biography in large part on her access to the Berg Collection's Kerouac archive at the New York Public Library (which you can read about here), access to which I understand is tightly controlled by the Kerouac estate.

You can read the NY Times' mixed review of Johnson's book here. And here is the Boston Globe's review, which nitpicks over Johnson's use of the term "joual" to refer to the type of French Jack spoke.

I liked this book. A lot. It was in-depth and engaging, and while I get the NY Times' quibble about not using actual passages from Kerouac's work, I don't think that omission interfered with the big picture Johnson paints here on how Jack developed his writing voice. Opinion, as always, vary. This Kirkus Review called the book a "triumph of scholarship."

I think this is an important contribution to the genre of Kerouac biographies and you'll want it on your Kerouac bookshelf.






Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (1st on the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beat Generation, and America by Dennis McNally.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Curation #81 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Departed Angels: The Lost Paintings by Jack Kerouac, text by Ed Adler



Item #81 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this 2004 copyright Thunder's Mouth Press first printing of Departed Angels: The Lost Paintings by Jack Kerouac with text by Ed Adler. Weirdly, the copyright page is at the end of the book. 285 pages, it measures about 8-1/2" square and is in good condition. The provenance is that it was a gift from Crystal for Christmas 2016 (purchased from Friends of Duncan Library 2 on Amazon Marketplace).

If you didn't already know that Jack Kerouac the writer was also a visual artist, this book provides evidence of same. As the back cover indicates:
Jack Kerouac took himself seriously as a visual artist and on a number of occasions told friends he would have been a painter if he weren't a writer. His enthusiasm for art was omnivorous, he drew, he painted, he designed covers for his books, and as he sketched with words, so he sketched with images: organized and deliberate but spontaneous, and supported by typically Kerouac, methodically detailed theory.

This book includes 129 pages of Jack's notebook pages, sketches, and paintings as well as relevant pictures of Jack and others. The next half of the book is text, with a a preface by Douglas Brinkley, foreword by the late John Sampas, and then 17 chapters of informative exposition by Ed Adler.

Adler sums it all up nicely at the end, quoting Kerouac from Big Sur: "The world is too old for us to talk about with our new words."

Recommended. 








Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (sideways on top of the row) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: The Voice is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac by Joyce Johnson (beginning Shelf #3).

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Monday, July 9, 2018

Curation #80 from my Kerouac bookshelf: The Beats Abroad: A Global Guide to the Beat Generation by Bill Morgan



Item #80 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 2015 City Lights Books (no printing number) copy of Bill Morgan's The Beats Abroad: A Global Guide to the Beat Generation. It's 298 pages, 4-3/8" x 8-3/8", and in very good condition. The provenance is Amazon.

As with the other three Bill Morgan tour guides we've curated (one for NYC, one for the U.S., and one for San Francisco), this book is chock full of detailed information on the Beats relevant to places -- in this case, around the world -- they lived and played and wrote. It's divided into 9 sections from France and Mediterranean Europe to Latin America and the Caribbean. Although not set up as a walking tour, there's enough information in some instances to find exact sites. In others instances, only a city is identified with no street address details.

There is a brief introduction, a bibliography, and a helpful index. I bought this book in advance of going to Europe last September but ended up not taking it with me for the sake of weight (we were trying to fly with just carry-ons), but I did use it in advance to confirm the location of a couple of spots we visited in Paris (The Beat Hotel and Shakespeare and Company). After the fact, I learned from the book that a great place we saw some wonderful jazz -- the Caveau de la Huchette in Paris -- was frequented by Allen Ginsberg, who went there with Alan Ansen looking to pick up men.

Like Morgan's other guides, this is a handy reference to have on hand while traveling as well as an enjoyable read at home. Highly recommended.








Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (sideways on top of the row) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Departed Angels: The Lost Paintings by Jack Kerouac, text by Ed Adler.

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Curation #79 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Kerouac & Friends: A Beat Generation Album by Fred W. McDarrah



Item #79 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this hardcover 1985 William Morrow and Company first edition first printing of Fred W. McDarrah's Kerouac & Friends: A Beat Generation Album. 338 pages and about 6-1/4" x 9-1/2", this copy is in very good condition. I don't recall the provenance.

This book comprises 29 written pieces by Beat Generation writers, critics, journalists, and historians along with many pictures (more than 190) from the era (McDarrah was the picture editor for The Village Voice for many years and hung out with the Beats). As McDarrah says in the preface:
Kerouac and Friends is more than a collection of photos and articles from the 1950s; it's a living memoir of the wonderful carefree days when I had nothing to do except go to poetry readings, the Artist's Club, the Living Theatre,, and the Cedar Street Tavern. I stayed out all night with friends and with Gloria. This book is about me and Gloria and a specific time in our lives in New York's Greenwich Village.
The book also contains a section of biographical section, a bibliography, and an index. I must admit that I have not read this book straight through. It's more of the kind of book you pick up from time to time and read an article or two and enjoy the pictures. There's a lot here to digest, including a picture of Allen Ginsberg's kitchen sink from his flat at 170 East 2nd Street. So you can't say it includes "everything but the kitchen sink."

If you've never seen this book, I suspect there are a few pictures in it you haven't seen before -- making it a worthwhile addition to your Kerouac bookshelf.








Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (29th item from the left -- last book on the right) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: The Beats Abroad: A Global Guide to the Beat Generation by Bill Morgan.

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Curation #78 from my Kerouac bookshelf: John Montgomery's JACK KEROUAC: A Memoir In Which Is Revealed Secret Lives & West Coast Whispers, Being The Confessions Of Henry Morley, Alex Fairbrother & JOHN MONTGOMERY, Triune Madman Of The Dharma Bums, Desolation Angels & Other Trips


Item #78 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 1970 Gilagia Press (no printing number) edition of John Montgomery's JACK KEROUAC: A Memoir In Which Is Revealed Secret Lives & West Coast Whispers, Being The Confessions Of Henry Morley, Alex Fairbrother & JOHN MONTGOMERY, Triune Madman Of The Dharma Bums, Desolation Angels & Other Trips. It's really a chapbook, with 2,000 copies printed (200 clothbound), amounting to 16 pages. It measures about 6" x 8'3/4" and is in good condition.

This book has a specific provenance. It was given to me by Dr. Celeste Branham, a colleague from University of Maine at Farmington (from which I am now retired). She had held on to it from her college days and when she learned I was a Kerouac fanatic, she gave it to me.

Jack Kerouac: A Memoir... is simply two chapters ("Takes") about Jack by his friend, John Montgomery. We provide information about Montgomery in yesterday's post. Click here for some thoughts, including excerpts, about this book that I posted in September 2016.

That's it until next time. It's July 4 and I have things to do. Happy Fourth of July. Try to appreciate both red and blue in the fireworks tonight.







Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (28th item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Kerouac & Friends: A Beat Generation Album by Fred W. McDarrah.

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Curation #77 from my Kerouac bookshelf:The Kerouac We Knew: unposed portraits; action shots compiled by John Montgomery



Item #77 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 1987 Fels & Firn Press (no printing number but only 1500 copies were made) edition of The Kerouac We Knew: unposed portraits; action shots, compiled by John Montgomery. This copy is 46 pages, 5-1/2" x 8-1/4", and in very good condition (I keep it in the plastic slipcover it came in, shown above). The provenance, I think, is that I bought it from The Bookery in Ithaca, NY, around 2005 for $25.00.

For those of you who may not know who John Montgomery was, below is a screenshot from Dave Moore's fantastic Character Key To Kerouac's Duluoz Legend (click here for the whole key).


John Montgomery was a friend of Kerouac's who, along with Gary Snyder (Japhy Ryder), scaled Matterhorn Peak in the Sierra Nevada range with Jack in The Dharma Bums (his character's name was Henry Morley in Bums, and he shows up as Alex Fairbrother in two other of Jack's books). In The Kerouac We Knew..., we find an introduction by Montgomery and then 9 essays about Jack by various authors from Gerald Nicosia (author of Memory Babe, to be curated later in the project) to Jim Christy (author of The Long Slow Death of Jack Kerouac, to be curated later in the project). There are several pictures, including the great cover shot by Jerry Bauer of Jack with one of his beloved cats.

The one other Montgomery book I'd like to own is Kerouac at the "Wild Boar" and Other Skirmishes. That would make a trifecta of his books about Kerouac for my collection. I see it on eBay and my birthday and Christmas are coming. Hint, hint....

Anyway, there are some great insights into Jack in The Kerouac We Knew..., and while it's a small book, it's well worth having on your Kerouac bookshelf.






Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (27th item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: JACK KEROUAC: A Memoir In Which Is Revealed Secret Lives & West Coast Whispers, Being The Confessions Of Henry Morley, Alex Fairbrother & JOHN MONTGOMERY, Triune Madman Of The Dharma Bums, Desolation Angels & Other Trips by John Montgomery.

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Monday, July 2, 2018

Curation #76 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Go by John Clellon Holmes




Item #76 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback Thunder's Mouth Press edition with the newest date showing as 1997 and having no printing number. It is in fair condition (a few underlinings and annotations and dog-eared cover and page corners), 311+ pages, and it's about 5" x 8". The provenance is lost in memory, but it may have been an Amazon purchase (used). This is hand-printed on the inside, sideways: Jennifer Shaw 870-0131 481-5762. If you're reading this and you think you know who that is, let us know in a comment. I always like to learn the provenance of used books I buy. Of course, Jennifer was unlikely the owner. It looks like something the book's owner wrote down in order to remember Jennifer's phone number (area codes unknown).

Now for the big confession: I've never read Go. I started it once and got bogged down and never returned to it. It's an important book for a Kerouac or Beat fan to read, as Holmes and Kerouac were close friends -- soulmate level -- and Go is about the Beat inner circle, being semi-autobiographical like Kerouac's novels, using pseudonyms for real life characters. I have them listed on an inside cover page for easy reference (see pic below).



Go is considered the first published novel about the Beat Generation, beating Kerouac's On The Road to the punch by 5 years. According to Gerald Nicosia in Memory Babe, Holmes was the first person Jack showed the roll manuscript of On The Road. That's how close they were. In fact, there is book my friend Richard highly recommends about the two of them called Brother Souls by Ann and Samuel Charters. I want to read that.

I have no excuse not to read Go, and after I finish my current library-borrowed book -- The Yale Gertrude Stein (because she influenced Lew Welch) -- I intend to take it up in earnest.







Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (26th item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: The Kerouac We Knew: unused portraits; action shots compiled by John Montgomery.

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Curation #75 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Bill Morgan's The Beat Generation in San Francisco: A Literary Tour



Item #75 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 2003 City Lights Books (no printing number) edition of Bill Morgan's The Beat Generation in San Francisco: A Literary Tour. 231 pages, the book measures about 4-1/2" x 8-3/8" and is in very good condition. The provenance is likely that I purchased it via Amazon (remind me that I should own stock in that company).

As with the last two curations, this is a Beat tour guide -- in this case for one of the two most important cities in Beatdom: San Francisco (the other being, of course, New York). I've hung out in San Francisco three times, the first before I got into Kerouac and the second two before I had Morgan's book (click here for my description of my 2013 trip and here for my talk at the San Francisco Public Library). Thus, unlike his New York guide, I have not had a chance to use it in situ. Nevertheless, it looks like an excellent resource. It contains 13 tours with detailed descriptions about and directions to 243 Beat-relevant sites in San Francisco and surrounds. There is an introduction by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, lots of pictures, maps, and a helpful index (Kerouac appears on some 60-odd pages according to the latter).

Like Morgan's other Beat tour guides, this one has enough interesting information per site that it can serve as an interesting straight-through read as well as provide an excellent resource for getting to various Beat sites in and around San Francisco.

I hope to use this guide in San Francisco some day. If you have done so and have an opinion about its usefulness or accuracy, let us know with a comment!







Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (25th item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Go by John Clellon Holmes.

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Curation #74 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Beat Atlas: A State by State Guide to the BEAT GENERATION in America by Bill Morgan



Item #74 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 2011 City Light Books (no printing number) edition of Bill Morgan's Beat Atlas: A State by State Guide to the BEAT GENERATION in America. 262 pages, it's about 4-3/8" x 8-3/8" and in very good condition. The provenance is likely that I bought it via Amazon (which you can do below).

Pretty much everything I said yesterday about Morgan's book, The Beat Generation in New York: A Walking Tour of Jack Kerouac's City, can be said about this book. It has well-researched information on relevant Beat places, only in this case it encompasses all of America. It obviously cannot go into detail about places like New York City and San Francisco -- that is why Morgan has stand-alone guides for those. There are pictures and a handy index and a preface by Morgan.

As with all of his guides, this one is indispensable and stands up as a straight-ahead read as well as a travel guide. If you live and travel in America, it's a good book to always have with you when you travel as there are entries for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Highly recommended.








Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (24th item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: The Beat Generation in San Francisco: A Literary Tour by Bill Morgan.

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Friday, June 29, 2018

Curation #73 from my Kerouac bookshelf: The Beat Generation in New York: A Walking Tour of Jack Kerouac's City by Bill Morgan



Item #73 in my Kerouac bookshelf creation project is this paperback 1997 City Lights Books 2nd printing of Bill Morgan's The Beat Generation in New York: A Walking Tour of Jack Kerouac's City. 166+ pages, it measures about 4-1/2" x 8-1/2" and is in good condition. The provenance is likely that I purchased it via Amazon.

This is only one of several books by Morgan that provide geographically based information on the Beats, and we will be curating 3 others in this project. These guides are indispensable for the Kerouac or Beat fan and I cannot commend them highly enough. The Beat Generation in New York is one that I have used in situ, so to speak, and you can read about my adventure in NYC using this book in September 2015 with Richard Marsh here.

Morgan divides NYC into 9 tours. He says 8 in his intro, but I count 9 as follows:

Columbia University
Times Square
Rockefeller Center, Midtown
Chelsea
Greenwich Village, Tour 1
Greenwich Village, Tour 2
East Village, Tour 1
East Village, Tour 2
Far-flung Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Yonkers

We attempted to follow Greenwich Village, Tour 1. I say attempted because, as it turned out, because we were chatting and taking pictures we took more time than Morgan estimated and only accomplished the first 14 of 30 stops. Regardless, it was a fantastic and accurate resource to have with us and I urge you to visit the link above to see current (2015) pictures of 14 of Morgan's entries, including a rare picture we took of Allen Ginsberg's apartment where the cover picture of this book was taken (it involved running into a building maintenance man who took us through the basement to the back of the building you cannot see from the street). We did use information from other tours, just not as methodically (e.g., we were able to find the former Lion's Den fireplace where Kerouac sat and ate steaks and ice cream sundaes while on the Columbia football injured roster (bottom of John Jay Hall).

Even though the city has changed since Beat times, Morgan provides sufficient walking directions and addresses to help identify such obscure sites as, for example, Lucien Carr's apartment (92 Grove Street). Still existing sites are, of course, easiest to find (e.g., White Horse Tavern where Jack hung out -- 567 Hudson).

Each entry in Morgan's book has details about why it's included, and the information is interesting enough to make this a book you can sit and read without even using it as a tour guide. The book includes pictures, maps, a Who's Who, a bibliography, an index, and introductions by Hettie Jones as well as Morgan.

I can't recommend this book highly enough as a resource for learning about Kerouac and the Beats in NYC. You need it on your Kerouac bookshelf regardless of whether you ever get to New York to use it, albeit using it as a hands-on tour guide really brings Kerouac's time in New York to life right before your eyes. And as a Kerouac fan, you know how important New York was in the genesis and nurturing of the Beat Generation!







Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (23rd item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Beat Atlas: A State by State Guide to the Beat Generation in America by Bill Morgan.

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Curation #72 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1957-1969 edited by Ann Charters



Item #72 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 2000 Penguin Books first printing of Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1957-1969 edited by Ann Charters. 576 pages, it's 5" x 7-5/8" and in good condition. The provenance is uncertain, but it's probably an Amazon purchase.

This is the second volume of Kerouac's letters edited but Ann Charters. We curated the first volume in yesterday's post. Everything I said about the first volume can be said about the second, so I won't waste bandwidth repeating myself. One big difference, of course, is the time period covered and so the referenced life events are different, Jack's attitude has changed, his understanding of his craft has developed, and the folks Jack corresponded with differ somewhat. Jack kept writing to most of the people represented in the first volume, with the addition of paramours Helen Weaver & Joyce Glassman (Johnson), friends Ed White & Stanley Twardowicz, Beat compatriots Lucien Carr and David Amram, poet Robert Creeley, publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti, biographers Ellis Amburn and Ann Charters, in-laws Tony & Nick Sampas, and others. (Note: I wrote this list without cross-referencing the first volume so one or more of these people may have shown up there. My memory isn't what it used to be....)

As I said yesterday, Kerouac's letters are gold for fans and scholars. I highly recommend both volumes.








Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (22nd item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: The Beat Generation in New York: A Walking Tour of Jack Kerouac's City by Bill Morgan.

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Curation #71 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1940-1956 edited by Ann Charters



Item #71 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 1996 Penguin Books 1st printing of Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1940-1956 edited by Ann Charters. It is the first of two volumes of Kerouac's letters edited by Charters, the second volume covering 1957-1969 (and being curated next). This 629 page copy is about 5" x 7-5/8" and is in good condition. The provenance is uncertain, but I likely ordered it through Amazon (which you can do via the link below).

Kerouac was a prolific writer. While he was churning out thousands of words per day on his novels and poems, he was also at the same time writing thousands of words in his journals and, as this book shows, in letters to various people. This book comprises letters Jack exchanged with everyone from childhood friends like Sebastian Sampas to Jack's mother Gabrielle to wives like Edith Parker & Stella Sampas to fellow Beat writers like Allen Ginsberg & William S. Burroughs to Jack's sister Caroline ("Nin") to Holy Goof and muse Neal Cassady to friends like John Clellon Holmes & Carolyn Cassady (more than a friend) & Philip Whalen & Gary Snyder to editors like Malcolm Cowley & Robert Giroux.... And the list goes on. Most are from Jack, but a few are to him.

Charters capably annotates the 203 letters in this volume with brief introductions as well as explanatory footnotes. There's a fairly comprehensive index that eases research for Kerouac scholars. Overall, I rate this and the second volume as some of my favorite items in my Kerouac collection. These letters provide valuable insights into Jack's life events as well as his thought processes and relationships, and they are, of course, written by Jack Kerouac! So, they are golden.







Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (21st item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1957-1969 edited by Ann Charters.

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf


Monday, June 25, 2018

Curation #70 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Excerpts from Parrot Fever by Jan Kerouac


Item #70 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this 1994 copyright 24-page handstitched chapbook containing excerpts from Jan Kerouac's third and final book, Parrot Fever. Less than 175 copies were printed and 135 were numbered and signed in ink by Jan. This copy is 83 of 135 as shown below. It's in very good condition.



If you've been following along with this curation project, you know that the last two items I curated were Jan's other two books, Baby Driver and Train Song. Parrot Fever is her third, unpublished novel about two half sisters, Claire Luna and Maxine LaCrosse. As Gerald Nicosia writes in the introduction: "Jan Kerouac has written an exquisite allegory about the undiminished power of love in our crumbling world. Are there really two sisters, or are they both halves of Jan's own fragmented psyche?" Jan certainly drew on her own life experiences in writing Parrot Fever (e.g., both have had absent fathers and entered relationships with abusive men). It's a shame the whole manuscript has never seen publication.


Get your own copy of Excerpts from Parrot Fever here.


Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (20th item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1940-1956 edited by Ann Charters.

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Curation #69 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Trainsong by Jan Kerouac



Item #69 (heh heh) in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this hardcover 1988 Henry Holt and Company first edition first printing copy of Trainsong by Jan Kerouac. It's in very good shape (with dust cover), 210 pages, and about 5-1/2" x 8-1/2". The provenance is uncertain.

Trainsong is Jan Kerouac's second book, and it continues her autobiographical saga started in her debut book, Baby Driver (curated yesterday here). It is just as colorful and gritty, and helps further establish Jan's writing credentials. If you're interested in Jan's life, the only biography I know about is Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory, edited by Gerald Nicosia. I reviewed that book here.

I wish I could have met Jan, but I feel like I know her from reading her memoirs. I recommend them whether or not you are a Kerouacophile.






Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (19th item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Excerpts from Parrot Fever by Jan Kerouac.

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

860,619 pageviews

A little less than 40,000 more pageviews and we will have hit a cool million. I am still pondering what to do to celebrate. Any ideas from Daily Beat readers would be appreciated.

Curation #68 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Baby Driver by Jan Kerouac



Item #68 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this hardcover (no dustjacket) 1981 St. Martin's Press first edition first printing of Jan Kerouac's Baby Driver. Yes, you read that right. Jan. Not Jack. More on that later. This copy is in good condition and the worst aspect of it is that it has no dust cover. It's 208 pages and about 8-3/4" x 9-3/8". The provenance, I think, is that I got it used from Amazon. On the inside cover is an Ex Libris decal indicating it belonged to a Bert Fischer at one time. Bert, if you respond to this post, I'll send you a free signed copy of my book, The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions.

A memoir, Baby Driver (the title comes from a Paul Simon song) is the first book by Jan Kerouac, Jack Kerouac's only -- to our knowledge -- child. Her mother was Joan Haverty Kerouac, Jack's second wife. Here's a picture of Jan in case you've never seen one.



I won't bother getting into the whole Kerouac estate controversy in which Jan was embroiled, or the fact that Jack disavowed her -- seeing her twice in his life and talking to her another time on the phone. We've covered those topics in past posts.

What I want to say is that Jan Kerouac certainly inherited her father's writing genes, as she was a powerful wordsmith -- but in her own right and not a clone. There's a good recap of Baby Driver in this review by Krysten Bean on Empty Mirror: click here.

Baby Driver may not be everybody's cup of tea -- it's pretty gritty at times. Jan didn't shy away from adventure, travel, or drugs & alcohol (partly why she died at 44) -- and she doesn't shy away from those topics in her book. She can be witty (darkly so) and she not only inherited Jack's writing genes but also his memory: the details in this memoir are astounding.

Click here for some thoughts I had on Baby Driver in 2012.








Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (18th item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Trainsong by Jan Kerouac.

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Curation #67 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Satori in Paris & Pic by Jack Kerouac



Item #67 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback with a 1985 copyright by Grove Press. The printing number line is 00 01 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12, whatever the hell that means. This copy is in fair condition, 238 pages, measuring about 13.5 x 20.5 centimeters (notice how I used the metric system there in honor of the Paris connection). The provenance of this book is uncertain.

We already curated a stand-alone copy of Pic here, so there is no need to go into the content of that Kerouac novella. This leaves us with Satori in Paris, which originally appeared in Evergreen Review in three installments and was first published as a book in 1966. I re-read Satori in Paris in preparation for our September 2017 trip to Europe, which included several days in Paris. While this particular Kerouac novel is not highly acclaimed (note this NY Times review), I rather like it. The story concerns Kerouac's trip to Paris and Brittany in June 1965, supposedly to do some genealogy on the name Kerouac but, as you can guess, Jack's drinking and interacting with French people (remember, he spoke a version of French from a young age) and sights takes center stage.

Despite the title, don't expect a lot of focus on Buddhism throughout (satori means sudden enlightenment). What you will find is lots of French terms and place names and even a passing reference to a hero of mine, Robert F. Kennedy.

Satori in Paris is a bit hard to describe. The overall tone is a bit cynical, similar to what you find in Vanity of Duluoz; this makes sense since both books were written by an older, jaded Kerouac. There's still that magical rip-roaring prose, though, and it's a change from the usual Lowell/New York/Mexico settings Kerouac often wrote about.

Here are a couple of teaser paragraphs:
Methinks women love me and then they realize I'm drunk for all the world and this makes them realize I cant [sic] concentrate on them alone, for long, makes them jealous, and I'm a fool in Love With God. Yes.

But I'm not a Buddhist, I'm a Catholic revisiting the ancestral land that fought for Catholicism against impossible odds yet won in the end, as certes, at dawn, I'll hear the tolling of the tocsin churchbells for the dead. 

But, as I unpin my little McCrory suitcase (Monkey Ward it actually was) key, I realize I'm too drunk and mad to open the lock (I'm looking for my tranquilizers which you must admit I need by now), in the suitcase, the key is pinned as according to my mother's instructions to my clothes--For a full twenty minutes I kneel there in the baggage station of Brest Brittany trying to make the little key open the snaplock, cheap suitcase anyhow, finally in a Breton rage I yell "Ouvre donc maudit!" (OPEN UP DAMN YOU!!) and break the lock--I hear laughter--I hear someone say: "Le roi Kerouac" (the king Kerouac).

I'll leave it to you to read the book and figure out what Jack's satori was all about.







Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (17th item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Baby Driver by Jan Kerouac.

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf