Thursday, September 10, 2020

Remembering Robert Frank (belatedly)

 


Famed photographer Robert Frank died one year ago yesterday. We wrote about his death HERE and his birthday HERE.

Frank appeared in one Kerouac work (under his own name) -- an essay about their trip to Florida that appeared in the January 1970 Evergreen Review.

RIP, Mr. Frank.


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

I provide a Jack Kerouac quote and you figure out the book (7th in a series)

 


This is the 7th in a series of posts where I provide a quote from one of Jack Kerouac's books and you figure out which one. Post your answer as a comment. Here's the passage:

That's because death,
Void, bleak,
And all those gray 
Worries I had
Are now my luminous
Love
& there's nothing
to say
PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES Fuck you all


Good luck! Remember our policy on comments (over there on the right).


P.S. For bonus points, name the other Kerouac work in which you will find the phrase, "Pretty girls make graves."



Sunday, September 6, 2020

September 6: A macabre date in the Kerouac saga

 

Natalie Jackson (L) and Joan Vollmer


To find out why today -- September 6 -- is a macabre date regarding the above women in the Kerouac saga, click HERE.

That's it for today as I am "on the road."





Saturday, September 5, 2020

Happy 63rd Anniversary to On The Road

My dog-eared copy of On The Road with tabs for readings
in the college class I taught on Kerouac


By my count (2020 - 1957), Jack Kerouac's On The Road was published 63 years ago today (September 5). We said more about this occasion last year (click HERE). For this year, as I am "on the road," that link will have to suffice.

63 years. Not currently quite as old as me but it will keep going ad infinitum and I most assuredly will not.

Yair!


Thursday, September 3, 2020

Without this birthday boy, there'd be no Jack Kerouac (as we know him)

 

On this date -- September 3 -- Justin W. Brierly was born in 1905. Brierly appeared in several Kerouac books: as Denver D. Doll in On The Road, Justin G. Mannerly in Visions of Cody, and Manley G. Mannerly in Book of Dreams.

Brierly is particularly noteworthy in the Kerouac saga as he was instrumental in grooming a young Neal Cassady during his Denver years. Brierly was a Columbia University graduate, and it is no stretch to say that he was responsible, at least in part, for Cassady and Kerouac connecting at Columbia (where Jack also attended). Another Columbia student, Hal Chase, was a Brierly protégé and he (Chase) introduced Cassady to Kerouac.

No Cassady-Kerouac connection, no On The Road, and so . . . no Brierly, no Kerouac. At least as we know him....


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Today's Kerouac-related birthday

 


On this date -- September 2 -- in 1911 was born the famous Beat Generation figure pictured above. He appeared in Visions of Cody as Dave Stroheim, Vanity of Duluoz as Franz (Swinburne) Mueller, The Town and the City as Waldo Meister, Ramsey Allen in And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, and Alfred in The Haunted Life.

We wished this person a happy birthday on this date one year ago HERE. Without looking at that link or Googling, can you name this person? Let us know in a comment.


Monday, August 31, 2020

Review of BEAT SCRAPBOOK by Gerald Nicosia: So good it gave me the chills

 

Cover of Beat Scrapbook, Coolgrove Press, (c) 2020

I recently received a review copy of Gerald Nicosia's new and soon-to-be-published work, Beat Scrapbook. In short, I knew it would be good, but indeed it surpassed my expectations.

Readers of The Daily Beat need little introduction to Nicosia, but suffice to say that he is the renowned author of one of the first and best biographies of Jack Kerouac, Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac, as well as the author of several other books (including two about Jan Kerouac, one focused around Lu Anne Henderson -- Marylou from On The Road -- one about the last 25 years in Kerouac history, and one on the history of the Vietnam veterans' movement). This is not to mention at least 6 books of poetry, counting this one. 

Nicosia moved to San Francisco in 1979 and became part of a circle of Beat poets including Jack Micheline, Harold Norse, Gregory Corso, David Meltzer, Jerry Kamstra, Howard Hart, Joanna McClure, Lenore Kandel, and Janine Pommy Vega, many of whom appear in this new book.

Nearly each of the 42 poems in this book is focused on bringing to life -- through masterful poetic descriptions -- people Nicosia knew and loved over the past years. Almost all of these portraits are people with whom Nicosia had an in-person relationship, and they are heavily focused on Beat and post-Beat figures that are familiar names to anyone into Kerouac or the Beat Generation. A few are more personal to Nicosia; for example, a couple are about his family (DADDIO PETE is a haunting tribute to his father, whose death reminded me of Leo Kerouac's), one is about growing up in Illinois (MIDWEST RHAPSODY) and one of my favorites is about an old flame, THIS IS YOUR LIFE: to Charmaine (it evokes shades of Kerouac's Tristessa).  

Tributes to lesser-known poets include ones to Paul Carroll (THE BEAT FATHER OF CHICAGO POETRY), to Jack Mueller (POEM FOR JACK MUELLER (1842-2017)), and to Jack Micheline (FOR JACK). One of my favorites is a poem built around the items on a grocery receipt Ted Joans used to write down some info for Nicosia on because it's the only paper he had in his pockets (A POET'S GROCERY LIST: for Ted Joans (1928-2003)).  

There are the expected entries about Kerouac, Corso, Burroughs, Ferlinghetti, and Gary Snyder (for whom Nicosia expresses sincere anticipatory grief for his inevitable passing -- "Your endangered self which/As you say/Will soon be no more" (p. 23 ). Death is a strong theme in this set of poems. I particularly liked FOR JOHN--NOW THAT HE IS NO MORE: in memoriam John Montgomery (1919-1992). This poem helped me better know John Montgomery, with whom I fell in love from his portrayal in The Dharma Bums (as Henry Morley), my favorite Kerouac work.

Not all the subjects could be seen as Beat figures (there's one on Bukowski), but they have their Beat characteristics. To wit, one poem is about a Pennsylvania death row inmate (DEATH ROW PENNSYLVANIA: for Robert Lark and "the childred"), and another is to veterans' rights activist Bobby Waddell (BEAT THE HEAT: for Bobby Waddell).

The piece that gave me chills* was THE GHOST OF KEROUAC, whose opening lines did it to me again as I was re-typing them here (from p. 23):

Every time I walk the streets of Lowell
And the leaves are drifting through the early dark of October
And the poor teenage school kids are hurrying home
Past the eternal drugstores and cheap food places
On ancient cobbled Merrimack Street
And the damp air of fall gets in my bones
And the smell of car exhausts rises and 
Disappears in the low grey murk
Of Massachusetts heaven
I think of you Jack
Maybe it's because I've walked those very same streets and thought of Jack, but I got chills nonetheless. Unlike some Beat tribute writers, Nicosia does not fall into the trap of only writing about male figures as he includes poems to or for Jan Kerouac, Lenore Kandel, Ntozake Shange, and of course, Charmaine mentioned earlier. One poem is dedicated to Janine Pommy Vega (THE BEAUTIES OF MY GENERATION).

One thing I appreciate about Nicosia's poetry is that it is accessible and straightforward while at the same time being -- well, poetical. He rarely drops obscure literary references, and he can be forgiven for going "inside baseball" and dropping the phrase "Stan and Lil out in Northport" with no further explanation in IN MEMORIAM JAN KEROUAC. We insiders know he is talking about painter/Kerouac friend Stanley Twardowicz and his wife, Lillian. 

I really enjoyed the two poems Nicosia wrote at the Mill Valley Book Depot. Perhaps that is because I can vividly picture him sitting there taking in the "scenery" and writing down random thoughts and observations that became these poems. Crystal and I met him for lunch there a few years back on our way from L.A. to Oregon and it was a great place for a poet/writer to hang out.

Because much of this work is from personal experience, we learn things about these people that can only be gleaned from Nicosia himself. Like the time Ferlinghetti took him to get a better microphone than the one he showed up with to interview the famous Beat book publisher and co-founder of City Lights in San Francisco.

Beat Scrapbook is a gem. Nicosia shows great insights into human character and an outstanding ability to put such insights to verse. He captures the true heart of the people he describes, and you get the sense that you're privy to something real about these intriguing and unconventional characters.

Highly recommended.

NOTE: The release date for Beat Scrapbook is November 15 by Small Press Distribution. If you want a signed copy in advance, contact the author at gnicosia@earthlink.net.


*There's a name for that spine-tingling feeling you get up and down your spine: Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR).

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Remembering Chandler Brossard

 


Chandler Brossard, who some claim wrote the first Beat novel (Who Walk in Darkness, 1952), died on this date -- August 29 -- in 1993. Brossard appeared as Chris Rivers in Jack Kerouac's and William S. Burroughs' And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks

I wrote about Who Walk in Darkness HERE. I was not that enamored of the book, but then Brossard was not enamored of being associated with the Beats. A whole lot of disenamoring going on in that last sentence! In any case, if you're interested in the Village scene in the 40s, you may enjoy Who Walk in Darkness. Brossard wrote other stuff as well.

RIP, Mr. Brossard.



Sunday, August 23, 2020

Happy Birthday to Gerard Kerouac

 

Jack Kerouac's brother, Gerard, was born this date in 1916. His death at a young age was the impetus for Kerouac to write one of his best works, Visions of Gerard. Gerard appeared as Gerard Duluoz in Visions of Gerard, Doctor Sax, Visions of Cody, and Book of Dreams; and as Julian in The Town and the City.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GERARD!

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Remembering Bea Franco and, belatedly, David Kammerer

Bea Franco with son, Alberta -- Photo/Beatrice Kozera estate
Bea Franco with son, Alberto
Photo/Beatrice Kozera Estate


Today we remember Bea Franco, who died on August 15, 2013. We wished her a happy birthday back in October HERE. She was represented as Terry in Jack Kerouac's 1957 classic novel, On The Road. An excerpt about Terry, titled "The Mexican Girl," was published as a stand-alone short story in Paris Review in 1955; you can read it here. Bea also appeared in Book of Dreams as Bea.


Also of note, author Tim Z. Hernandez found Bea alive in 2010 after a multi-year search and as a result wrote the award-winning novel about her life, Mañana Means Heaven, which we reviewed here at The Daily Beat (click here). We also curated the book twice (click here and here), and featured a guest blog by the author (click here). You can read an nbclatino.com interview with Tim here.


David Kammerer


Yesterday, August 14, we missed posting about it being the anniversary of David Kammerer's death in 1944. We wrote about Kammerer on his birthday in September HERE. Kammerer appeared in Visions of Cody as Dave Stroheim, Vanity of Duluoz as Franz (Swinburne) Mueller, The Town and the City as Waldo Meister, Ramsey Allen in And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks, and Alfred in The Haunted Life (Source: Character Key to Kerouac's Duluoz Legend).


Saturday, August 8, 2020

Remembering Herbert Huncke

 

On this date-- August 8 -- in 1996, Beat Generation core figure Herbert Huncke died. Huncke was Elmer Hassel in Jack Kerouac's On The Road; Huck in Desolation AngelsBook of Dreams, and Visions of Cody; Hunkey in Lonesome Traveler; and Junkey in The Town and the City.

Regular readers of The Daily Beat need no introduction to the man from whom Kerouac likely learned the word, "beat." Click on the link above if you want to read a short bio.

We curated an excellent Huncke biography by Hilary Holladay HERE.

RIP, Mr. Huncke.


Thursday, August 6, 2020

Beat poet Diane di Prima turns 86 today



Today is award-winning Beat poet Diane di Prima's 86th birthday. I don't think she appeared in any of Jack Kerouac's works, but he appeared in hers in a randy sex scene in her Memoirs of a Beatnik. I liked that book a lot, in particular how she graphically but sensitively described her various sexual experiences.

We reviewed her 2015 poetry book, The Poetry Deal, HERE, and curated it HERE. We curated Memoirs of a Beatnik HERE.

In honor of her birthday, you can read about Diane and find some of her poetry HERE.


Happy Birthday, Ms. di Prima!


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Jack Kerouac's father was born on this date in 1889



Leo Kerouac, Jack Kerouac's father, was born on this date -- August 5 -- in 1889 in Saint-Hubert-de-Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, Canada as Joseph Alcide Léon Kirouack. Leo appeared in several of his son Jack's books: Emil Alcide Duluoz in Visions of Gerard, Emil (Pop) Duluoz in Doctor Sax/Visions of Cody/Vanity of Duluoz, George Martin in The Town and the City, Emil in Maggie Cassidy/Desolation Angels, Pa in Book of Dreams, Charlie Martin in The Sea is My Brother, and Joe Martin in The Haunted Life and Other Writings.

Happy Birthday to the man without whom there would be no Jack Kerouac!

Monday, August 3, 2020

We missed some Kerouac-related dates

Ruth Weiss, William S. Burroughs, and Ramblin' Jack Elliott (L-R)

I was away and therefore missed some important Kerouac-related birth and death dates in July and August.

What reminded me of my omission was seeing Jerry Cimino of The Beat Museum post on Facebook that noted Beat poet Ruth Weiss died recently (July 31). She would have made my recent post about Gore Vidal and Elise Cowen into a "three-fer" had I known. HERE is a link to her obit in the San Francisco Chronicle Datebook. I could not verify whether she appeared in any of Kerouac's works.

We missed musician Ramblin' Jack Elliott's birthday on August 1 (1931), and core Beat Generation member William S. Burroughs' death date on August 2 (1997). Neither needs an introduction to regular readers of The Daily Beat. Burroughs appeared in several of Jack Kerouac's works: as Old Bull Lee in On The Road; Frank Carmody in The Subterraneans; Bull Hubbard in Book of DreamsDesolation AngelsDoctor Sax, and Visions of Cody; Bull in Tristessa; Bill/William Seward Burroughs in Lonesome Traveler; Wilson Holmes Hubbard in Vanity of Duluoz; Bill Dennison in The Haunted Life and Other Writings; and, Will Dennison in The Town and the City and And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks. Elliott appeared as Jack Elliot in Book of Dreams.

RIP to Ms. Weiss and Mr. Burroughs and Happy Birthday to Mr. Elliott.




Friday, July 31, 2020

Another Kerouac two-fer date

Gore Vidal (left) and Elise Cowen
Writer and bon vivant Gore Vidal died on this date -- July 31-- in 2012, and Beat poet Elise Cowen was born on this same date in 1933. Vidal appeared in Jack Kerouac's The Subterraneans as Arial Lavalina and in Old Angel Midnight as Gore Bedavalled. Cowen appeared as Barbara Lipp in Desolation Angels.

I said a little bit more about each on their birth and death dates HERE and HERE. Gore was born 8 years before Cowen but outlived her by many years (86 v. 28).

Given my personal history with depression, I should note here that Cowen ended her own life (not dissimilarly to Natalie Jackson) by throwing herself out of her parents' 7th floor window.

If you are thinking about suicide or just need someone to talk to about emotional distress in your life, you can text Crisis Text Line at 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

RIP, Mr.* Vidal, and Happy Birthday, Ms.* Cowen.



*These are guesses at preferred pronouns. If I'm wrong, let me know.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Happy birthday to Robert LaVigne



On this date, July 15, artist and Jack Kerouac friend Robert LaVigne was born in Idaho in 1928. He was Guy Levesque in Kerouac's Desolation Angels.

We said a bunch about LaVigne back on February 20 (click HERE), so there is no need to repeat ourselves today. Don't believe what Ginsberg said in the above picture about LaVigne being Robert Browning in Big Sur. See my February 20 post for an explanation.

Happy birthday, Mr. LaVigne.




Tuesday, July 14, 2020

I provide a Jack Kerouac quote and you figure out the book (6th in a series)



This is the 6th in a series of posts where I provide a quote from one of Jack Kerouac's books and you figure out which one. Post your answer as a comment. Here's the passage:
The original hobo dream was best expressed in a lovely little poem mentioned by Dwight Goddard in his Buddhist Bible:Oh for this one rare occurrenceGladly would I give ten thousand pieces of gold!A hat is on my head, a bundle on my back,And my staff, the refreshing breeze and the full moon.


Good luck! Remember our policy on comments (over there on the right).


Friday, June 26, 2020

Remembering Philip Whalen

Philip Whalen (L) & Jack Kerouac


Today we remember Beat poet Philip Whalen, who died on this date -- June 26 -- in 2002 at the age of 78. He appeared in several Jack Kerouac works: as Warren Coughlin in The Dharma Bums; and Ben Fagan in Desolation Angels and Big Sur.

Whalen was a force behind the San Francisco poetry renaissance of the mid-50s, and was one of the poets who read at the famous Six Gallery reading on October 7, 1955.

To get a sense of Whalen's place in Kerouac's world, I highly recommend reading John Suiter's Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen & Jack Kerouac in the North Cascades. This is my favorite Kerouac-related book of all time (a gift from my great friend, Richard Marsh).

Whalen was a Buddhist, close with Lew Welch and Gary Snyder (who all met at Reed College in Oregon), and a much greater piece of the Beat Generation puzzle than he gets credit for, especially the West Coast aspect. You can read a brief bio and some of his poetry HERE.



Monday, June 15, 2020

Happy Birthday to Hettie Jones

Hettie Jones

Today is poet/writer Hettie Jones' 86th birthday. She never appeared in a Jack Kerouac work, but her husband, LeRoi Jones (later Amiri Baraka), appeared in Lonesome Traveler under his own name.

Jones published many of the Beat writers, including Kerouac, in her poetry magazine, Yugen, established with her husband. She went on to publish others in Totem Press. A brief bio and one of her poems can be read HERE. More of her poems appear HERE. In addition to her poetry, Jones published a couple of memoirs and several children's books.

Happy Birthday, Ms. Jones.


Friday, June 12, 2020

Remembering Stanley Twardowicz

Stanley Twardowicz

Jack Kerouac's Northport friend, painter/photographer Stanley Twardowicz, died on this date -- June 12 -- in 2008. We remembered him HERE last year. He appeared in one Kerouac novel, Satori in Paris, under his own name. To wit --

Spend most of the time talking to big corpulent Breton cabdrivers, what I learned in Brittany is "Don't be afraid to be big, fat, be yourself if you're big and fat." Those big fat sonumgun Bretons waddle around as tho the last whore of summer war lookin for her first lay. You can't drive a spike with a tack hammer, say the Polocks, well at least said Stanley Twardowicz which is another country I've never seen. You can drive a nail, but not a spike. (Satori in Paris & Pic, 1988, Grove Press, p. 108)

RIP, Mr. Twardowicz.



Saturday, June 6, 2020

Remembering Kenneth Rexroth

Kenneth Rexroth

Poet and critic Kenneth Charles Marion Rexroth, who we wished a happy birthday in December (click HERE), died on this date -- June 6 -- in 1982. Rexroth appeared in only one of Jack Kerouac's books, The Dharma Bums (my favorite), as Rheinhold Cacoethes.

Rexroth and Kerouac were not chums. As Gerald Nicosia points out in Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac, Rexroth often put Jack down with snide remarks (1994, University of California Press, p. 491). Jack returned the favor by naming him "Cacoethes," which means "the irresistible urge to do something inadvisable."

Notably, Rexroth was the master of ceremonies at the famous Six Gallery poetry reading in October 1955. You can read more about him HERE as well as some of his poetry.

Random thought: I rather think the younger Rexroth looks like actor Steve Zahn.


A young Rexroth

Actor Steve Zahn


RIP, Mr. Rexroth.


Friday, June 5, 2020

Remembering Jan Kerouac



Writer Jan Kerouac, Jack's only child, died on this date -- June 5 -- in 1996. We wished her a happy birthday and provided some info about her back in February. You can access that post HERE.

A fitting book to check out today, in addition to any of Jan's own novels (Baby Driver, Trainsong, and Parrot Fever (unpublished but a chapbook is available from Gerald Nicosia) would be Nicosia's The Last Days of Jan Kerouac (Noodlebrain Press, PO Box 130, Corte Madera, CA 94976-0130). Click HERE for a European Beat Studies Network interview with Nicosia about this book.

Like her father, Jan died too young (age 44) and had a promising writing career cut short, most likely from similar lifestyle choices involving intoxicants. To which I say: Life is short. Live every minute of it.

RIP, Ms. Kerouac.




Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Happy Birthday to Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg

Poet and core Beat Generation member Allen Ginsberg was born on this date -- June 3 --  in 1926. He appeared in a number of Jack Kerouac's works: as Carlo Marx in On The Road; Alvah Goldbook in The Dharma Bums; Adam Moorad in The Subterraneans; Irwin Garden in Big Sur, Desolation Angels, Visions of Cody, Book of Dreams, and Vanity of Duluoz; Leon Levinski in The Town and the City; Allen Goldbook in an early draft of Beat Generation; Bleistein in The Haunted Life and Other Writings; Allen Ginsberg in Pull My Daisy; and Leo in Orpheus Emerged.

The influence of Ginsberg on the other Beat writers, including acting as their agent/promoter, and his impact on the culture from the 50s to the 90s cannot be overstated. One need only read the above list of appearances in Kerouac's works to imagine his importance to Jack. You can read a short bio and some of his poetry by clicking HERE.

In honor of his birthday, Allen would dig it if you read some of his poetry, especially aloud. Even better, read along while listening to him read his own work. It's out there on the interwebz.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Ginsberg.




Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Another "two-fer" Kerouac date

Gerard Kerouac (left) and Albert Saijo

On this date -- June 2 -- two important figures in Jack Kerouac's world died, his brother Gerard in 1926 and his friend Albert Saijo in 2011. Gerard appeared as Gerard Duluoz in Visions of Gerard, Doctor Sax, Visions of Cody, and Book of Dreams; and as Julian in The Town and the City. Albert appeared as George Baso in Big Sur and co-authored Trip Trap: Haiku on the Road with Kerouac and Lew Welch based on a road trip across America in Welch's Jeep.

In honor of Gerard, here's a passage from Visions of Gerard (Penguin Books, 1991, pp. 32-33):
"Ainsi soit-il," amen, none of them knowing either what that meant, "thus it is," it is what is and that's all it is--thinking ainsi soit-il to be some mystic priestly secret word invoked at altar--The innocence and yet intrinsic purity-understanding with which the Hail Mary was done, as Gerard, now knelt in his secure pew, prepares to visit the priest in his ambuscade and palace hut with the drapes that keep swishing aside as repentent in-and-out sinners come-and-go burdened and dismembered as the case may be and is, amen--

In honor of Albert, here's a haiku of his from Trip Trap (City Lights/Grey Fox, 1998, p. 32).

    Grain elevators on 
                Saturday lonely as
Abandoned toys


It is a mystical synchronicity that both of the above passages come from page 32 in their respective sources. First of all, 32 is 23 backwards, and we all know the mystical significance of the number 23 (see my post HERE). Plus, I randomly picked Albert's selection first and then thumbed through Gerard to look for a section that'd been underlined (by the previous owner of the book in this case) and this was the first one I saw.

RIP, Master Kerouac and Mr. Saijo. We remember you on this day.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

Dark day in Kerouac history

Alan Harrington (left) and Lew Welch

Though surrounded by COVID-19 death, we should not become inured to the tragedy and significance of the date when someone takes the "night train to the big adios" (movie reference there -- for those who'd like to guess the film, please comment with your answer). To wit, today's date brings us to remember novelist Alan Harrington and poet Lew Welch, two friends of Jack Kerouac who shuffled off this mortal coil (or in Welch's case, disappeared) on this date, May 23 (Harrington in 1997, Welch in 1971).

We opined about this important Kerouac date last year and in that post we identify who Harrington and Welch appeared as in five of Kerouac's works, as well as provide some background on each. You can read that post by clicking HERE. That saves me repeating myself and unnecessarily using up bandwidth.


RIP, Mr. Harrington and Mr. Welch.


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Recourse for reviewers who hated The Beat Handbook

The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions by Rick Dale

There are two 1-star reviews panning my book on Amazon, calling it crap and lamenting spending money on it. I commented on both reviews that if the reviewer e-mails me at thebeathandbook@gmail.com, I will refund their money.

Maybe they don't go back to their own reviews to look for comments, so again I say to you two dissatisfied reviewers: e-mail me and tell me what you spent and give me your mailing address. I will refund your money.

If you want to see what all the fuss is about, visit my book page on Amazon HERE. But don't buy it and post a shitty review just to get a refund. That was a limited time offer that applied to the two existing 1-star reviews. Trying to work on my karma.

I provide a Jack Kerouac quote and you figure out the book (5th in a series)



This is the 5th in a series of posts where I provide a quote from one of Jack Kerouac's books and you figure out which one. Post your answer as a comment. Here's the passage:
. . . something making me now almost so mad as to shout, I GOT MY OWN LITTLE BANGTAIL ESSENCE AND THAT ESSENCE IS MIND RECOGNITION--

Good luck! Remember our policy on comments (over there on the right).


Friday, May 8, 2020

Happy 90th Birthday to Gary Snyder



Regular Daily Beat readers know that acclaimed poet and environmentalist Gary Snyder was immortalized in Jack Kerouac's best novel*, The Dharma Bums, as Japhy Ryder (he also appears once as Gary, an editing error). He appeared as Jarry Wagner in Desolation Angels and Big Sur, and as himself in Vanity of Duluoz.

Snyder turns 90 today! Despite my angst over jinxing him by saying it, as of Michael McClure's recent death, Snyder is the only reader left alive from the 1955 Six Gallery poetry reading. He's also one of a small number of close friends of Kerouac who are still around.

Click HERE for a brief bio and some of his poetry.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Snyder. And many more....


*Regular readers likewise know that I am just trolling them by calling The Dharma Bums Jack's best novel. It is, indeed, my favorite, but I would hesitate to argue that it's his best work.


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Remembering Michael McClure



I had a low day yesterday, feeling very discouraged about life in general, and I even posted about that on Facebook. Then last night I learned that Beat poet Michael McClure had died May 4. We had recently wished him a Happy Birthday (click HERE) on October 20 when he turned 87. Death awaits us all, but this one struck close to home for some reason. I guess because he was one of the few famous members of the Beat Generation era who were still around. McClure appeared in several Jack Kerouac novels: Ike O'Shay in The Dharma Bums; McLear in Big Sur; and, Patrick McLear in Desolation Angels.

The tributes to McClure are pouring in to the Facebook Jack Kerouac and The Beat Generation groups, not the least of which is from noted Kerouac biographer Gerald Nicosia, who said:
I just heard that Michael McClure has died. It's Tuesday night here. By tomorrow morning everyone should be reading about it. Funny thing is I was going through old correspondence today--stuff from more than 40 years ago--and I came upon a whole packet of letters he'd written me. I was reading his words a few hours ago, and now I learn he's dead. A gentle man, who always felt he had not gotten the recognition he deserved as a major poet, which he was. Back in the early or mid 1990's, Michael asked me to do an interview with him for the NEW YORK QUARTERLY, to help bring out aspects of his work that had been ignored. He was very happy with the interview. I don't know if it ever got put on line, but I'll try to find out, and if so, post it here.
To read such posts, you must be a member of the named groups, which I recommend. All it requires is that you ask to join and follow the rules.

Click HERE for a brief obit in the San Francisco Chronicle.

I only ever saw McClure once, at an event in New York City in 2016 which I attended with my great friend, Richard Marsh (chronicled HERE). Hence, I don't have any personal stories about the man like so many others in the Kerouac world.

The little bit I did sense about him from that event was that, while he was a gentle presence, he didn't suffer fools. And as Gerry points out above, McClure was a major poet. You can read some of his poems HERE. To do so would be a fitting tribute. Aloud would be best.

RIP, Mr. McClure. Say hi to Jack for us. I'll raise a glass to you later today.


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Remembering Kerouac friend, Ed White



Ed White, close friend of Jack Kerouac, died on this date -- April 29 -- in 2017. He appeared in several Kerouac works: as Tim Gray in On The Road; Ed Gray in Visions of Cody; Guy Green in Book of Dreams; and, Al Green in Book of Dreams (expanded edition).

It was White who originally suggested the practice of sketching in words to Kerouac. We discussed that when we wished White a Happy Birthday HERE in February.

RIP, Mr. White.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Happy Birthday to Carolyn Cassady


On this date -- April 28 -- in 1923, Carolyn Cassady was born. She appeared in several of Jack Kerouac's works: as Camille in On The Road; Evelyn Pomeray in Book of Dreams, Big Sur, Desolation Angels, and Visions of Cody; and, Cora in Beat Generation.

Cassady was married to Neal Cassady, famous as Kerouac's muse and a major subject of On The Road and the titular focus of Visions of Cody. We curated my copy of her book HERE.

I am afraid I have fallen into the trap of marginalizing Beat Generation women in my last paragraph, making it sound like Cassady's only claim to fame was being married to the Holy Goof. One need only Google her name for biographical details to see that she was a complex and talented person in her own right (e.g., writer, painter, theatrical designer, MA from U. of Denver), but was treated in a one-dimensional fashion in Kerouac's works (as was his approach to women in general). I'm not saying it was right for Kerouac to do that -- it just was.

So Happy Birthday in Beat heaven to Carolyn Elizabeth Robinson Cassady, who would have been 97 today!


Monday, April 27, 2020

Every book has a story



I often buy used books, and it's always interesting to contemplate their history. Who owned them? Why and how did the previous owner acquire the book? Did they purchase it or was it a gift? And so on.

Currently I am 75% of the way finished reading my used copy of John Clellon Holmes' Go. It's shown above (curated HERE). I don't remember when or how I acquired it (mea culpa).

Of interest to me is that inside the front cover is a person's name in red ink and what I assume are phone numbers (without area codes). Is Jennifer Shaw the previous owner or did the previous owner jot her name and phone numbers down in the book for some reason (no paper available)? Did Jennifer and the previous owner meet in a coffee shop and share phone numbers? Lots of possibilities.



Inside are some underlinings and comments (in the same red pen). For example, the annotator discovered what they thought was a definition of "BEAT GENERATION" on p. 161.



So here's the point: If you are the previous owner, contact us at The Daily Beat -- we'd like to interview you for an upcoming blog post. If you think you know who the previous owner was, please ask them to contact us. Our e-mail address is: thebeathandbook@gmail.com.

We'll unravel this mystery if we can.


Oh, and what's the Kerouac connection here? Well, Holmes (the book's author) and Kerouac were close friends for many years, and Holmes' novel, Go (1952), tells the story of the early Beats, including Kerouac (as Gene Pasternak).



Thursday, April 23, 2020

Brother Souls: John Clellon Holmes and Jack Kerouac



I just finished reading Brother Souls by Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. It's aptly subtitled, John Clellon Holmes, Jack Kerouac, and the Beat Generation (I note the proper use of the Oxford comma).

I knew Holmes and Kerouac were friends, but this immensely detailed biography shines a bright light on their close relationship. Along the way we are treated to an insider's look at the origins of the Beat Generation, with a focus on Holmes' life and writings as well as Kerouac's. Until I read this book I had under-estimated Holmes' influence on Kerouac and the Beats, as well as his literary accomplishments. He was quite a poet in addition to novelist and essayist (I am reading his novel, Go, currently. It's my third try but my interest was piqued this time.).

Brother Souls has been out a while (2010) so I'm not inclined to "review" it; suffice to say that it's required reading for any Kerouac or Beat fan. Friends of Holmes, the Charters had an inside track on Holmes' psyche plus they had posthumous access to his letters, journals, and manuscripts.

Lots of good stuff here. This book came recommended by my great friend, Richard Marsh, and as usual he didn't steer me wrong. Many times when one mentions the Beat Generation people think of three names: Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs. I would (now) add a fourth: John Clellon Holmes. This is not to take away from the contributions of others such as Corso and Carr, but Holmes was there, man, from early on, and he wrote Go (1952), the first Beat novel published (if you don't count Chandler Brossard's Who Walk in Darkness).

Not available at City Lights, but Amazon.com has it in stock as does AbeBooks.com.


Saturday, April 18, 2020

Happy Birthday to Beat poet, Bob Kaufman



Beat poet Bob Kaufman, was born on this date -- April 18 -- in 1925.  He appeared as Chuck Berman in Jack Kerouac's Desolation Angels.

We said the following about Kaufman when we remembered him back on January 12 and it's worth repeating:

You can read Kaufman's bio and some of his poetry by clicking here. Kaufman took a vow of silence the day President Kennedy was assassinated and didn't speak until the end of the Vietnam War. That's an impressive feat. 
Kaufman was part of the Beat poetry movement in San Francisco. He started the journal, Beatitude, with Allen Ginsberg and others. His most recent collection of poetry was published by City Lights in October 2019 (available here). 
Interestingly -- to me at least -- the couple of times that he is mentioned in Gerald Nicosia's Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac, Kaufman is partying with Jack at significant transition points: once right after Gary Snyder leaves for Japan, and once right after Jack leaves Ferlinghetti's cabin in Big Sur. 
I get the sense that Kaufman is generally underestimated as a poet -- you would do well to check out his work.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Kaufman.


Friday, April 10, 2020

Happy Belated Birthday to Al Hinkle



Al Hinkle was born on the day before yesterday's date -- April 9 -- in 1926. He was represented in Jack Kerouac's works as follows: Big Ed Dunkel in On The Road; Slim Buckle in Desolation Angels and Visions of Cody; Ed Buckle in Book of Dreams; and, Al Buckle in Lonesome Traveler.

Regular readers need no introduction to Hinkle. We remembered him on December 26 -- click HERE.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Hinkle.



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 Kerouac'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.


Thursday, March 12, 2020

Happy 98th Birthday to Jack Kerouac!



Our hero, Jack Kerouac, was born this date -- March 12 -- in 1922. He would have been 98 years old today. Regular readers of The Daily Beat need no introduction to Kerouac, but if you just happened upon this blog for the first time and need some background information, you could do worse than starting at this page from the The Jack and Stella Kerouac Center for Public Humanities at UMass Lowell.

In honor of Jack's birthday, I took to YouTube just now and recited the last paragraph of On The Road from memory. It didn't come out perfect, but it's a heartfelt effort. Happy Birthday, Jack!





Happy Birthday to John Clellon Holmes



Writer John Clellon Holmes, one of Jack Kerouac's closest friends, was born on this date -- March 12 -- in 1926. 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.

For an in-depth look at Holmes and his relationship with Kerouac, get yourself a copy of Ann and Samuel Charters' Brother Souls: John Clellon Holmes, Jack Kerouac, and the Beat Generation (note the proper use of the Oxford comma in that title -- thank you, Ann). I must admit that I am recommending this book without having read it on the basis of a glowing recommendation from my great friend, Richard Marsh, whose judgment on books I trust very much. It's on my "to read" list, but I need to acquire a copy first (obviously).

I realize today is also Jack's birthday, but we will take that up in a separate post.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Holmes.


Saturday, March 7, 2020

Remembering Philip Lamantia



Poet Philip Lamantia died on this date -- March 7 -- in 2005. He appeared in two of Jack Kerouac's works: as Francis DaPavia in The Dharma Bums and as David D'Angeli in Desolation Angels. Lamantia read at the famous event at the Six Gallery in 1955 that many point to as kicking off the San Francisco poetry renaissance. (He didn't read his own work, but rather that of his dead friend, John Hoffman.)

We celebrated Lamantia's birthday on October 23 here; there's a link there to some of his poetry. Reading some of it today would be a Beat thing to do.

RIP, Mr. Lamantia.