Monday, June 18, 2018

Curation #66 from Kerouac bookshelf: Book of Haikus by Jack Kerouac

Item #66 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 2003 Penguin Books 16th printing of Jack Kerouac's Book of Haikus. It's 200 pages and about 4-3/4" x 6". This copy is in good shape and the provenance is unknown.

This is, as the title suggests, another book of Jack Kerouac's poetry. It begins with an instructive 31-page introduction by editor Regina Weinreich titled, "The Haiku Poetics of Jack Kerouac." As opposed to Trip Trap, which claims to be haiku but seldom even observes the 3-line rule, this collection is mostly 3-line haiku. Yet they do not conform to the 5-7-5 syllable rule, but, rather, are what Jack called "Western Haiku": "simply say a lot in three short lines."

As Weinreich says in the introduction, this collection "should give a range of Kerouac's haiku production." The book is divided into six subsections:

I. Book of Haikus
II. Dharma Pops

III. 1965: Desolation Pops/SPRING
IV. 1957: Road Haikus/SUMMER
V. 1958-1959: Beat Generation Haikus/AUTUMN
VI. 1960-1966: Northport Haikus/WINTER

Book of Haikus is further evidence that Kerouac was an accomplished poet and not just a prose artist. But we've said that before when curating San Francisco Blues, Book of Blues, and Mexico City Blues, so now it's just a matter of delving into Jack's poetry and seeing for yourself!

Here are a few from the book to tease you into action.

Poor tortured teeth
The blue sky

Leaves skittering on
       the tin roof
--August fog in Big Sur

The little sparrow on the eave drainpipe
My heart flutters

The falling snow--
     The hissing radiators--
The bride out there

Happy reading!

Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (16th item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Satori in Paris and Pic by Jack Kerouac.

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf

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