Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Curation #167 from my Kerouac bookshelf: July/August 2012 Playboy featuring "The Lost Photos of Jack Kerouac"



Item #167 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this July/August 2012 issue of Playboy featuring an article titled, "The Lost Photos of Jack Kerouac." It's in very good condition and the provenance -- as best I remember -- is that I bought it at Barnes & Noble, embarrassingly in person.

The reason I bought this issue, other than to read the articles and the interview, was for the Kerouac piece. It's a set of never-before-seen photos taken by Robert Frank on assignment for Playboy in 1959 to take pictures of Kerouac. Frank was fresh off publication of his book, The Americans, for which Kerouac wrote the introduction.

I won't scan anything from the piece because my scans wouldn't do the pics justice and you can find them in the Playboy archive if you're really interested. As far as posting anything distaff from this issue, even the Jenny McCarthy (who I can't stand but photographs well) shots are no-go because of nudity. I'll probably get in trouble just for the cover shot. Since it's a double issue, there are two Playmates: Shelby Chesnes and Beth Williams. (Wow.) The interview is with bad boy Charlie Sheen.

I wrote about this issue when it first appeared -- click here.

Lost pictures of Jack Kerouac from 1959? This definitely belongs on your Kerouac bookshelf.


P.S. There are only two items left on my Kerouac bookshelf, meaning we will be ending this project with #169, coming soon. I may curate some other books that are laying/lying (take your pic - no one on earth has this one figured out) around the house but weren't on my bookshelf the day I started curating.




Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this item (21st from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Beat Generation: Glory Days in Greenwich Village by Fred W. and Gloria S. McDarrah.

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Curation #166 from my Kerouac bookshelf: January 1965 Playboy featuring Jack Kerouac's short story, "Good Blonde"



Item #166 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this January 1965 issue of Playboy featuring Jack Kerouac's essay, "Good Blonde." It's in very good condition and the provenance is that I bought it online (eBay, I think).

Of course, you can read Jack's famous short story in Good Blonde & Others, which I curated here. It's probably available full text online somewhere, but my quick searching didn't uncover it. Send us a link if you have one.

Below is a (poor) scan of the first page of the short story.



In case you're wondering about the other interesting aspects of this issue, the Playmate of the Month is Sally Duberson. As we suspected in yesterday's post, bare breasts made an appearance in this issue, but where Sally is concerned only the pin-up meets that criterion. This issue features a review of the previous year's Playmates and bare breasts abound; unfortunately, I can't share any of that because the Blogger platform doesn't allow nudity and I don't feel like getting banned.

Since we only peruse Playboy for the articles and interviews anyway, it is of note that this issue's interview is with Martin Luther King, Jr. If you want to read it, the whole issue is available in Playboy's archive here.

This definitely belongs on your Kerouac bookshelf.




Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this item (20th from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Playboy from July/August 2012 featuring an article titled, "The Lost Photos of Jack Kerouac."

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Monday, October 29, 2018

Happy National Cat Day!

It's National Cat Day, so here is a picture of Jack Kerouac cuddling one of his beloved cats.


Curation #165 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Playboy from June 1959 featuring Jack Kerouac's "The Origins of the Beat Generation"



Item #165 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this June 1959 issue of Playboy featuring Jack Kerouac's essay, "The Origins of the Beat Generation." It's in very good condition and the provenance is that I bought it online (eBay, I think).

Of course, you can read Jack's famous essay in Thomas Parkinson's A Casebook on the Beat, which I curated here. It's probably available full text online somewhere, but my quick searching didn't uncover it. If you have a link, send it to us via a comment on this post. I've mentioned this essay before -- here, for example. And here.

Below is a (poor) scan of the first page of the essay.



In case you're wondering about the other interesting aspects of this issue, the pin-up girl was Marilyn Hanold ("Charlie"), and there isn't a shot of her that couldn't be in People today. For example:



It's hard to find a bare breast in the whole issue. Times have sure changed since 1959.

This definitely belongs on your Kerouac bookshelf.




Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this item (19th from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Playboy from January 1965 featuring Jack Kerouac's short story, "Good Blonde." Maybe a bare breast will make an appearance -- 6 years is a long time....

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Item #164 from my Kerouac bookshelf: "Reversing Falls," a short story by Sharon Doubiago



Item #164 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this draft short story, "Reversing Falls, 1973," by Sharon Doubiago. It is 26 pages long, printed on standard 8-1/2" x 11" typing paper, and is in good condition (having been in a manila folder ever since I've had it). Which brings us to the provenance.

I first met Sharon Doubiago in January 2013 at a beat poetry event at the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley, California. I was introduced to her by event organizer, Gerry Nicosia. Sharon -- as you can see by clicking here -- is an accomplished poet and writer. When she heard that I was from Maine, she insisted on sharing with me a short story she'd been working on that features Maine and other northern New England locales. I don't know if she has published this particular story, but it's very engaging (and not just because I'm from Maine). The backbone of the story is a road trip she took in New England, but Doubiago deftly weaves in history, sociology, philosophy, sex, love, environmentalism, and other relevant topics.

Does this story belong on a Kerouac bookshelf? It belongs on mine since I'd never have met Sharon if it weren't for Kerouac biographer Gerry Nicosia introducing us. That' a good enough reason for me given my predilection for pointing out that all things connect to Kerouac.


Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this item (18th from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Playboy from June 1959 featuring Jack Kerouac's essay, "Origins of the Beat Generation."

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Curation #163 from my Kerouac bookshelf: FBI FOIPA request response re: Jack Kerouac's FBI files



Item #163 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this January 13, 2010 letter from the FBI in Washington, D.C. It was in response to my having written to the FBI requesting Jack Kerouac's FBI files under the Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts (FOIPA) -- if they exist. You can see if you look carefully that they misspelled Kerouac as Kerovac in the Subject line, something I didn't follow up on but now wish I had done so. "We were unable to identify responsive main file records" was the answer to my request. If they were searching for Kerovac, of course that would be the response.

There are also "we are in receipt of your request" letters (in addition to the main HQ in D.C., I also wrote to the Boston and San Francisco and NYC field offices) in the pile (I'm not curating them since they appear below), and they have Kerouac spelled correctly. I also note that the FBI addresses me as Mr. Richard.

You can read the entire saga below:
FBI Files Part 1
FBI Files Part 2
FBI Files Part 3
FBI Files Part 4

I am hard-pressed to believe that the FBI didn't keep a file on Jack Kerouac, and now I want to write them again and make sure they use the correct name in their search. But that's a story for another day . . . .


Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this item (17th from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: "Reversing Falls," a draft short story about Maine by California writer Sharon Doubiago.

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Friday, October 26, 2018

Curation #162 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Beat Generation Playguide



Item #162 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this playguide for Jack Kerouac's Beat Generation presented by the Merrimack Repertory Theater and UMass Lowell in fall 2012. 14 pages, it measures about 8-1/2" x 11" and is in very good condition.

Jack Kerouac wrote his 3-act play, Beat Generation, in 1957 but it sat undiscovered in a New Jersey warehouse for 47 years. It was found and published by Thunder Mouth Press in 2005. In October 2012, coinciding with the annual Kerouac festival in his hometown of Lowell, MA, the play saw its world premiere in Lowell and I was there (with Crystal). This item is the playguide given to attendees. It includes a synopsis of the play, background on Kerouac and on the Beat Generation, cast of characters, history of the play, a Beat glossary, and references. Very helpful.

To read my report from Lowell that year, including my reaction to the play, click here. Act 3 of this play was the basis of a film by Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie in 1959 titled, Pull My Daisy; it's available online here.

This probably isn't an item you can buy anywhere (maybe eBay), and mine is not for sale (unless you have deep pockets), but it definitely fits nicely on a Jack Kerouac bookshelf.


Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this item (16th from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: FBI responses to my FOIPA requests for files on Jack Kerouac.

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Curation #161 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Beat Scene Number 60 A Jack Kerouac Special Issue




Item #161 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this issue of Beat Scene magazine. It is Number 60, published Autumn 2009, and focuses on Jack Kerouac. 62 pages, it measures about 8" x 11.5" and is in very good condition. The provenance is that I ordered it on-line.

Beat Scene is a quarterly published by Kevin Ring out of England. It focuses on the Beat Generation and was started in 1988. You can read more about it here.

This particular issue features letters to Kerouac from John Clellon Holmes and Gary Snyder, interviews with Helen Weaver and Barry Gifford, an excerpt from David Amram's Offbeat, and a variety of other essays/short pieces. Despite the color covers, the inside is all black-and-white, even the numerous photos. Below is the back cover.




It makes sense to have this issue of Beat Scene on your Kerouac bookshelf. I'm not sure how to get your hands on a copy other than contacting the publisher via the link above.



Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this item (15th from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Beat Generation Playguide.

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Curation #160 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Reflections Upon the 50th Anniversary of Jack Kerouac's On the Road edited by Ron Whitehead and Robert M. Zoschke



Item #160 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this softcover 2007 Published in Heaven Books edition of Reflections Upon the 50th Anniversary of Jack Kerouac's On the Road edited by Ron Whitehead and Robert M. Zoschke. 174 pages, it measures about 8-1/2" x 11" and is in very good condition. The provenance is that it was given to me by Gerry Nicosia. The title page is signed by editor Zoschke and inscribed by Gerry thus:
For Rick Dale-- Who
gets the spirit of Jack
better than anyone I know --
Love,
Gerry Nicosia
4/2/12
That's high praise from a legitimate Kerouac scholar -- I'll take it, humbly. And with a grain of salt as Gerry is my friend.

This book is a collection of over 50 essays and poems in honor of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac's On the Road. There are also numerous pictures and drawings throughout (over 70). Contributors range from the well-known (David Amram and Anne Waldman and Lawrence Ferlinghetti -- the latter did the front cover art) to the lesser known (Dave Church and Angelica Engel) but they all have something to say about Jack Kerouac. All the contributors have short bios in the back.

I'm sure Gerry gave me some backstory on the genesis of this book when he gave it to me, but my memory fails me. Next time we chat I will query him and update this post as appropriate.

Does this belong on your Kerouac bookshelf? If you are going for a complete collection of everything ever written about Jack, the answer is Hell to the yeah.






Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this item (14th from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Beat Scene Number 60, A Jack Kerouac Special Issue, Autumn 2009. Please note: I am finding all sorts of things in this pile that are not worth the trouble to curate, so I am making command decisions and skipping them. Examples of such items are printed out e-mails, newspaper clippings, files with travel papers from a trip to Lowell, etc. Trust me -- I am not skipping anything of merit or of interest to readers.

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Curation #159 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Beat & Beyond: A Gathering, newsprint schedule



Item #159 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this newsprint 8-page schedule for Beat & Beyond: A Gathering in NYC June 3-8, 2016. This was a six day poetry celebration honoring Beat poets, writers, musicians et al. Most of the events took place at Howl! Happening or Bowery Poetry or Bowery Electric near Bleecker Street.

On a last minute whim, my great friend, Richard Marsh, and I attended one day of this event and I wrote up the adventure here (with pictures!). It was a great event and the first time I ever saw Michael McClure and Ann Charters in person.



Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this item (13th from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Reflections Upon the 50th Anniversary of Jack Kerouac's On the Road edited by Ron Whitehead and Robert M. Zoschke.

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Jack Kerouac - safe in heaven dead and free of this slaving meat wheel

My first visit to Jack's grave in 2005 (December, I think)


Jack Kerouac died on this date in 1969 at age 47. Were he alive today he would be 97 and still writing life like no other author past, present, or future.

Click here for a link to last year's blog on this date -- it includes links to all my past blogs on this occasion.

Here's to you, Mr. Kerouac. Thanks for all the joyous reading and other good stuff your existence has manifested in my life.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Curation #158 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Trois Couleurs Special Collector's Edition #8 -- On the Road: Based on Jack Kerouac



Item #158 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this Special Collector's edition (#8) of the monthly French magazine Trois Couleurs focused on Jack Kerouac and timed around the release of the On the Road movie. It doesn't show a year (a faux pas) but I know from my e-mail history that it was published in 2012. 242 pages, it measures about 8' x 11.5" and is in very good condition. The provenance is complicated.

Back in 2012, I contributed to a project collecting tributes to Kerouac that would be printed out to "recreate the scroll" (OTR4Kerouac). Read about it here but understand that the link to their website doesn't work. This Twitter link works. Anyway, one of the project leaders, Noemie Sornet, suggested I contact the publisher of Trois Couleurs for a free copy of this issue, and I did so. Click here to read a blog post I wrote about this issue after I received it. Trigger warning: I bring up the "Estate issue" in that post.

If you read the above post, you will get a sense of what's in this special issue of Trois Couleurs (which means Three Colors). It's a gorgeous edition, glossy and full color, and contains a lot of Kerouacian information and pictures.


I don't know how you'd get a copy of this magazine. Mine is not for sale.


Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this item (12th from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Beat & Beyond, newspaper schedule for the Howl! Happening in NYC.

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Curation #157 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Jack Kerouac: The Bootleg Era: An Annotated List by Rod Anstee



Item #157 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is Rod Anstee's Jack Kerouac: The Bootleg Era: An Annotated List dated June, 1993. It is 23 pages of standard 8-1/2" x 11" paper held together in a plastic protective binder cover and is in very good condition. The provenance is lost in memory -- I seem to remember someone sending it to me years ago; if that was you, drop me a note and refresh my memory. It may have been Rod himself, who in the introduction explains that this "first draft version" is being "printed and distributed to a small number of friends and Kerouac aficionados in the hope that they will seize the opportunity to assist in making this project as complete and accurate as possible." I've never met Rod, but he is a Kerouac scholar and collector from Canada; you can listen to an interview with him here.

Page 2 is a title page showing by hand numbering that this is #7 of 10 and is signed by Rod Anstee. As the title indicates, this is an annotated bibliography of 56 items identified as "bootlegs." There is a 2-page introduction and a 1-page afterword.

In this bibliography are bootleg or pirated -- or reckoned as such by many booksellers even if they might not be - items (booklets, books, and broadsides) such as A Last Haiku, Old Angel Midnight, Dr. Sax, Home at Christmas, Junk, On the Road, The Dharma Bums, and the list goes on. Each item is coded to Ann Charters' bibliography if it appears there.

This is an important Kerouac resource and it's likely collectible as it is signed and hand-numbered by the author. It appears that Water Row Press published this in 1994 with 64 entries and 14 illustrations; it's still available on-line (although the Amazon link below is fruitless as it is currently unavailable). Try AbeBooks.com.

This definitely deserves a spot on any thorough Kerouac bookshelf.









Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this item (11th from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Trois Couleurs Special Edition #8 published by MK2 Media: On the Road Based on Jack Kerouac - The Man - The Book - The Film - The Odyssey of a Myth.

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Monday, October 15, 2018

Curation #156 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Surviving on the Streets: How to Go DOWN Without Going OUT by Ace Backwords



Item #156 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this softcover 2001 Loompanics Unlimited edition (no printing number) of Surviving on the Streets: How to Go DOWN Without Going OUT by Ace Backwords. 195 pages, it measures about 8-3/8" x 10-5/8" and is in very good condition. The provenance is uncertain -- I thought it was an Amazon purchase but there is no record of it in my order history.

As its title suggests, this is a survival guide for living on the street. Author Ace Backwords (real name: Peter Labriola) is an interesting guy. He's a well-known underground cartoonist (e.g., for several years in the early 90s his work appeared monthly in High Times) and author/publisher (e.g., the tabloid Twisted Image; the book, Acid Heroes) who currently lives "on the street" in the Berkeley area yet maintains an on-going Facebook presence in which he opines about life, culture, politics, and the many feral cats he supports. I met him on-line through some kind of Kerouac connection I can't quite recall. Maybe he posted about Jack and I happened upon it via a search and sent him a friend request. Facebook is an impossible platform to retrieve past happenings from, so I am going from memory here.

Suffice to say, the Kerouac connection here is tangential at best. Certainly, Ace understands the term "beat" from personal and visceral experience, having lived on the street for many years. And Jack certainly could have been described as homeless at times. As to Ace's book, it is a compendium of useful, practical, honest, and gritty advice for living on the street. Ace learned a lot "the hard way" and wrote this book to help those who find themselves on the street and wondering how to make it. The book includes pictures -- some by Ace -- and a few of his Twisted Image (and other) cartoon strips. You can see his cartoon strips by Googling "twisted image ace backwords" and selecting Images.

Is this book a candidate for your Kerouac bookshelf? Yes, but only if you buy into my Six Degrees of Jack Kerouac theory for making such decisions. As an engaging read, though, you could do worse than pick up a copy of Surviving on the Streets. I am sure Ace would appreciate it (especially if he gets royalties).







Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (10th from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Jack Kerouac: The Bootleg Era: An Annotated List by Rod Anstee.

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Curation #155 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen & Jack Kerouac in the North Cascades by John Suiter



Item #155 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this hardcover 2002 Counterpoint edition (1st printing) of Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen & Jack Kerouac in the North Cascades by John Suiter. 340 pages, it measures about 8-1/2" by 10-1/2" and is in very good condition. The provenance is that I received it as a gift from my great friend, Richard Marsh.

I don't know how to do this book justice with a written description. It is beautifully conceptualized, beautifully rendered, beautifully photographed, and beautifully written. Substitute for beautifully adverbs like exquisitely and masterfully and wonderfully and you get some sense of how much I love this book.

Poets on the Peaks is the story of Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Jack Kerouac focused around their time as fire lookouts in the North Cascades in the 1950s. Suiter hiked to all of the relevant lookouts and took pictures, interviewed Snyder, Whalen and others, and relied on previously unpublished letters and journals to tell the story of these three poets in the context of their common experiences in the great outdoors. But it's more than that. It's also about their lives together and as poets, about the Six Gallery reading, about The Dharma Bums years, about Jack's Buddhism, and so on.

I can't say enough about this book. It is a straight-through engaging read as well as a gorgeous book to thumb through. If I had to take 10 books with me to a desert island for a year, this would likely be on the list. If this isn't already on your Kerouac bookshelf, what are you waiting for?



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Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (9th from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Surviving on the Streets: How to go DOWN without going OUT by Ace Backwords.

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Curation #154 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Night Train to Shanghai and Other Memories of China by Gerald Nicosia




Curation #154 from my Kerouac bookshelf is this softcover 2014 Grizzly Peak Press first edition of Night Train to Shanghai and Other Memories of China by Gerald Nicosia. 114 pages, it measures about 5-3/16" x 8-1/8" and is in very good condition. The provenance is that I got it directly from the author.

The Kerouac connection here is obvious to most Kerouac fans: Gerald Nicosia is the author of the acclaimed Kerouac biography, Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac. He is also my friend, so there is that connection as well -- any friend of mine has to be connected to Jack Kerouac by default.

While many know Gerry, as I call him, as a famous Kerouac biographer, he is also an accomplished poet. This is his third and most recent volume of poetry; it focuses -- as the title suggests -- on China. Perhaps you don't know this, but Gerry adopted his first child, Amy (Wu Ji) from China, and at 10 years old she was with Gerry on one of the trips to China that inspired this set of poems.

As Jerry Kamstra, author of The Frisco Kid, explains in the introduction:
In a collection of 32 poems, or extended koans I like to call them, Gerry takes us on a tour from the 600-year old Forbidden City to a born-yesterday underground supermarket in Shanghai where, he says, if you ever want to lose this world entirely, find the mystical door of perception like Huxley sans LSD, just spend a full hour at midnight there--alone and bewitched in the underground supermarket in Shanghai.

It's easy to get lost in this bewitching volume of soul-felt poetry, and I recommend it. As far as your Kerouac bookshelf goes, any book by the author of Memory Babe certainly deserves a spot there.










Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (8th from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalemn & Jack Kerouac on the North Cascades by John Suiter.

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf



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Friday, October 12, 2018

Curation #153 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Caribouddhism by Gary Lawless



Item #153 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this softcover 1998 Blackberry Books (no printing number) edition of Caribouddhism by Gary Lawless. 88 pages, it measures about 6" x 9" and is in very good condition. The provenance is that I got it directly from the author.

In our last post we curated a newer book of poetry by Gary Lawless and described the Kerouac connection. This book of poetry includes an interview with Jamie Sayen and begins with this preface:
In early June of 1995 Beth Leonard, Nanao Sakaki and I traveled to Newfoundland to see icebergs, caribou and moose. As we traveled we talked of how every place has its own messages, visions, teachers, practices. I suggested that we become caribouddhists, wandering with the great herds, listening to their stories, tasting the ice, and joining their quest for enlichenment. This book is for Beth and Nanao, fellow travelers.

As we said last time, Gary apprenticed with Gary Snyder and his poetry shows it. This is good stuff and worthy of a place on your Kerouac bookshelf.





Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (7th from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Night Train to Shanghai and Other Memories of China by Gerald Nicosia.

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Monday, October 1, 2018

Curation #152 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Caribou Planet by Gary Lawless



Item #152 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this softcover 2015 Blackberry Books (no printing number) edition of Caribou Planet by Gary Lawless. This book has no page numbers, measures about 6" x 9", and is in very good condition. The provenance is that I got it directly from the author, who inscribed it thus:
for Rick Dale --
Fellow Dharma Bum on
the Caribouddhist trail --
gary lawless
I used to have Gary come talk to my Kerouac class at the University of Maine at Farmington. I met him a few years ago in Portland, Maine at a poetry/music fundraiser for poverty. I discovered that Gary had hitchhiked to California (from Maine) as a young man and lived with Gary Snyder, who influenced him greatly in ways poetic and otherwise. Students were always mesmerized -- as was I -- by his stories (and advice about life). Below is some information I used to share with my students (between the asterisks):


*******
Gary Lawless is an internationally recognized poet and environmentalist who has published over sixteen books of poems.  In the 1970s, he forewent graduate school in order to be Gary Snyder’s apprentice in California.  Lawless is publisher of Blackberry Books Press and co-owner of the independent bookstore, Gulf of Maine Books, located in Brunswick, Maine.

From an interview at https://riverpineanthologyofcivicdiscourse.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/the-earth-is-a-living-being-gary-lawless-interview/:

I stayed in Maine to go to college and then I hitchhiked to California.  I went from Belfast and Waterville, where I lived the first twenty-one years of my life, to living at Gary Snyder’s house in the mountains of California and meeting all these people whose books I’d been reading for the last four years.  All of a sudden, who’s here today, well there’s Daniel Ellsberg, and Jerry Brown, and Allen Ginsberg, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and all these other people who were equally cool.  It was immediately expansive, like my whole life had changed for the better.  My parents were worried that I’d go to California and grow my hair out and take drugs and have sex, and all of that happened like the first day [laughs].  There was this whole world of change going on in 1969 to ’72, that in Belfast in Maine, things were pretty much going along the way they always did.

In my late high school years I discovered the The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. Two or three years after I read the novel I found out it was based on a real person whose name was Gary Snyder, so I started reading him.  He recommended Native American texts and Buddhist texts, so I was following all those trails and trying to find out who all these people were, and a lot of it led me back to the idea that the earth is a living being and that that’s who I owe my allegiance to, not to humans, and that I should listen to the other species and learn from them.

*******

You see the obvious Kerouac connection here: Gary lived and apprenticed with Gary Snyder (Japhy Ryder in Kerouac's The Dharma Bums)! Alas, Gary never met Jack Kerouac -- it was too late for that. As to the book, I believe this is Gary's latest book of poetry, but I am not totally sure about that. He couldn't make it to my class the last couple of years I taught it and we have sort of lost touch. This book features free-flowing and beautiful nature-based poems -- you can feel Snyder's influence. I like it a lot. You can buy it from most booksellers on-line or at the Amazon link below.

If you collect Beat-related items on your Kerouac bookshelf, it makes sense to include this book.







Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (6th from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Caribouddhism by Gary Lawless.

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf