Sunday, April 5, 2020

Remembering Alan Ginsberg

Alan Ginsberg (left) with Jack Kerouac

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

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

Poetry Foundation

Ginsberg reading "Howl"

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

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

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




Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Reminder of our comments policy



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

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


Here is what it says:

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 Anonymous comments will not be published.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 Comments unrelated to the target post will not be published.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 Snark and ad hominem comments will not be published.


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

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

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

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

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

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



Monday, March 30, 2020

A "three-fer" date in the Kerouac world

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 30! Who knew?


Friday, March 27, 2020

Happy Belated Birthday to Gregory Corso



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

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

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

Happy Belated Birthday in Beat heaven, Mr. Corso.




Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Happy 101st Birthday to Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Lawrence Ferlinghetti reading in front of City Lights

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

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


"PITY THE NATION"
(After Khalil Gibran)

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



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

Happy Birthday, Mr. Ferlinghetti.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Previously unpublished 2012 interview with Gerald Nicosia

Gerald Nicosia with Jan Kerouac at Naropa in 1982

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


Remembering Joanne Kyger

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

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

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

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

RIP, Ms. Kyger.


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.


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Remembering William Carlos Willams



Poet William Carlos Williams died on this date -- March 4 -- in 1963. Williams was Doctor Musial in Kerouac's The Dharma Bums. We wrote about Williams on his birthday so you can click here for some details on this influential person in the Kerouac world, including his advice to Jack and Allen Ginsberg et al. along with one of his poems.

RIP, Dr. Williams.


P.S. Monday March 2 we neglected to remember Kerouac's close friend, Sebastian Sampas, who died on that date in 1944 from a wound suffered at the Battle of Anzio.Read more about him here. RIP, Sammy.


Monday, March 2, 2020

Gerald Nicosia's Kerouac: The Last Quarter Century reviewed in the Chicago Tribune

Author Gerald Nicosia
FYI, the Chicago Tribune just reviewed Gerald Nicosia's newest book, Kerouac: The Last Quarter Century. Click here to read the review. It appeared in the Sunday print edition.

To secure a copy you can either e-mail the author at gnicosia@earthlink.net, or else send a check or money order for $30 ($25 for book and $5 for postage and mailer) to Gerald Nicosia, PO Box 130, Corte Madera, CA 94976-0130. You can tell him how you would like the book inscribed, if you wish.


Sunday, March 1, 2020

Happy Birthday to Lucien Carr

(L-R) William S. Burroughs, Lucien Carr, and Allen Ginsberg

Proto-Beat Lucien Carr was born on this date -- March 1 -- in 1925. He appeared in a number of Jack Kerouac's works: as Damion in On The Road; Sam Vedder in The Subterraneans and Book of Dreams (expanded edition); Julien in Big Sur; Julien Love in Book of DreamsDesolation Angels, and Visions of Cody; Claude De Maubris in Vanity of Duluoz; Claude in Orpheus Emerged; Kenneth Wood in The Town and the City; Kenneth in The Haunted Life and Other Writings; and, Phillip Tourian in And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks.

We remembered Carr a little over a month ago on February 28 (click here), so we won't repeat biographical details except to say that Carr was an influential member of the early Beat Generation whose name is too often omitted when speaking of same. Carr has a rather extensive entry on Wikipedia in case you want to read more about him. Wikipedia gets a bad rap all the time, but I often find it to be a useful tool in getting the sense of a person, concept, or event. 

Happy Birthday, Mr. Carr.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

No Kerouac-related birth or death dates on Leap Day?



As regular readers know, we routinely celebrate birthdays and remember death dates of Kerouac's close family members, friends, and real-life characters from his books. It struck me today -- February 29  -- that I know of no Leap Day birthdays or death dates for any of those people. That doesn't mean there aren't any -- I couldn't find any birth dates or death dates for a number of people on my master list.

If you know of any Kerouac family members, friends, or real-life book characters who were born or died on February 29, leave us a comment about it.

Thanks.

Oh, and Happy Leap Day!


Thursday, February 27, 2020

Remembering Beat poet Elise Cowen



Beat poet Elise Cowen died this date -- February 27 -- in 1962. She appeared as Barbara Lipp in Jack Kerouac's Desolation Angels and was a close companion to Allen Ginsberg (indeed, it is reported that they were lovers for a brief time). The bulk of her work, tragically, was destroyed after her death by suicide, but some of it survives, including the two poems here (after the bio -- which starts with an enlightening quote from Gregory Corso about the lack of women representation in the Beat movement).

Click here to read an interesting article about Cowen and her connection to poetry giant Emily Dickinson.

RIP, Ms. Cowen.


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Remembering Carl Solomon



Carl Solomon died on this date -- February 26 -- in 1993. He appeared in two of Jack Kerouac's works: as Carl Rappaport in Visions of Cody and as Carl Solobone in Book of Sketches.

Allen Ginsberg met Solomon in a psychiatric hospital and subsequently dedicated his famous poem, "Howl," to Solomon. Solomon worked as an editor for Ace Books, owned by his uncle A. A. Wyn. There are several letters from Kerouac to Solomon discussing Ace possibly publishing On The Road. The latter never happened, but Ace did publish William S. Burroughs' Junkie; Solomon wrote the Publisher's Note in one version and the Introduction in another.

Click here to read a 1973 interview with Solomon by John Tytell.

RIP, Mr. Solomon.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Jack Kerouac in AAA's Northern New England Journey



The above appeared on p. 30 in this month's Northern New England Journey published by AAA (sorry about the blurriness -- it's my technological inadequacy at play). I've sat in that car at The Beat Museum (click here for pictures). Very cool experience.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Remembering Alice Schenker and a great little story about Jack Kerouac

Alice Schenker in the New York years

I think I had run across Alice Schenker's name somewhere along the way, but I didn't know she once slept with Jack Kerouac.

Read this article for the details: Remembering Alice Schenker. The piece also mentions Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, and even Rexroth, who it said was christened "Father of the Beats" by Time magazine. That one is news to me.

Here's to Alice, who I wouldn't have known about if a high school friend, Adrienne Kantz, hadn't message me a link to this Berkeleyside piece. Thanks, Adrienne.


Thursday, February 20, 2020

Remembering Kerouac friend, artist Robert Lavigne UPDATED 2-21-20


On this date -- February 20 -- in 2014, artist and Kerouac friend Robert LaVigne died. LaVigne (I've seen it with the V capitalized and not capitalized) was Guy Levesque in Jack Kerouac's Desolation Angels. That is it according to the Character Key to Kerouac's Duluoz Legend, yet Allen Ginsberg himself identifies LaVigne as Robert Browning in Big Sur (see Ginsberg link below). The Duluoz Key says Browning was William Morris. I asked Key curator Dave Moore about this discrepancy and will update this post with his response.

UPDATE: Dave Moore sent me the below scan from one of Kerouac's notebooks (titled "Duluoz Legend Personae Names"), where we can see in Jack's own handwriting that Robert Browning in Big Sur was William Morris, a painter friend of Philip Whalen. And so, we will defer to Jack and assume that Alan was wrong.



In a 1955 letter to Allen Ginsberg, Kerouac refers to Lavigne as a "canuck painter." There are no letters to or from LaVigne included in either of Ann Charters' compilations. Ginsberg referred to LaVigne as a "Painter friend of Poets." Natalie Jackson, who we remembered here, was a model of LaVigne's. A well-known story about LaVigne is that it was his portrait of Peter Orlovsky -- his model and lover -- that caused Allen Ginsberg to request an introduction to Orlovsky, beginning a life-long relationship between the two.

LaVigne has papers archived at Columbia University. See http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/archival/collections/ldpd_4079553/ (this resource includes a concise biographical sketch).

LaVigne's drawing of Jack adorns the cover of one version of The Scripture of the Golden Eternity (see below).



RIP, Mr. LaVigne.


Gerald Nicosia interviews re: Kerouac: The Last Quarter Century

Front and back covers of Kerouac: The Last Quarter Century by Gerald Nicosia

We reviewed Gerald Nicosia's Kerouac: The Last Quarter Century on The Daily Beat on May 13, 2019 (click here). FYI, below are links to two interviews based around that book:

1. On Punkglobe.com with Zack Kopp

2 On Chicago's WGN radio "After Hours with Rick Kogan" (starts 1 hr. 2.5 minutes in)


To secure a copy you can either e-mail the author at gnicosia@earthlink.net, or else send a check or money order for $30 ($25 for book and $5 for postage and mailer) to Gerald Nicosia, PO Box 130, Corte Madera, CA 94976-0130. You can tell him how you would like the book inscribed, if you wish.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Happy Birthday to Jan Kerouac



Had Jack Kerouac's daughter, Jan, not died at a young age, she would have turned 68 today. Unlike the rest of his family and many of his friends, she never appeared in any of Kerouac's books.

An accomplished author in her own right, Jan published Baby Driver and Trainsong during her lifetime and left behind the as-yet-unpublished novel, Parrot Fever (an extract of the latter in chapbook format is available from Gerry Nicosia by clicking here).

Jan is worth getting to know through her novels, but you can also read about her in Nicosia's Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory, available here.

I didn't start out to write a commercial here, so I'll finish with some of Jan's own words to inspire you to read some of her writing. This is about one of the two times in total she ever saw her father in person (and they talked on the phone once).

Jack's reaction to me was shrugs and uncertain smiles. He said "Hi" but didn't make much of a fuss. When the doorway back-slapping and bantering was done with, he went back to rocking again, calling to his brethren across the room, "Hey, why doesn't somebody turn this thing down, I can't hear myself think!" This seemed odd, for he was closer to the TV than anyone else in the room. But someone did turn it down for him, and he continued to guzzle his giant baby bottle [a fifth of whiskey], rocking himself as if in a cradle. 
The relatives all left, and Jack nodded a casual so-long to them over his shoulder. I watched him curiously, once again with the feeling that I had to be careful of what I said, like I'd felt the first time I met him on Avenue B when I was nine. He was desperately trying to keep his shield in place, at a loss for what to say. (Baby Driver, 1981, St. Martin's Press, p. 184)

You'll learn where this took place and what Jack was wearing when you read Baby Driver.

I'll conclude by saying that Jan was surprisingly forgiving of her father, understanding that he belonged to the world.

Happy Birthday, Jan.









Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Google validates The Daily Beat re: Stella Sampas Kerouac

When one Googles a famous person, there is often a box on the right hand side of the search results with quick info. Try it. You will see images, then a quick blurb, and then demographics like birth date, death date, spouse, siblings, etc.

I noted when I was posting about Stella Sampas Kerouac the other day that my blog entry about Stella is what Google is using for her blurb in that quick info box. Try Googling "Stella Sampas" and you should see the below image:


I'm not sure my entry is the best Google could do for the quick info bio -- I was simply pointing out that it was Stella's birthday -- but there is a dearth of info about Stella on-line and apparently the Google machine settled on my post.

To which I say -- huzzah for The Daily Beat!


Monday, February 10, 2020

Remembering Stella Sampas, Jack Kerouac's third wife

Jack Kerouac and Stella Sampas Kerouac
Today -- February 10 -- we remember Stellas Sampas, who died on this date in 1990. Jack's third wife, she appeared in one Kerouac work, Vanity of Duluoz, as Stavroula Savakis.

Stella inherited Jack's estate when Jack's mom, Gabrielle, died in 1973, triggering the well-known Kerouac estate controversy over the forged will (so said a judge) and endless vitriole on-line about the whole matter. The Sampas family controls the estate to this day. For an insider's look at estate details, grab a copy of Kerouac: The Last Quarter Century by Gerald Nicosia (reviewed here).

Jack was a lifelong friend of Stella, who was the sister of  his closest childhood friend, Sebastian Sampas. Most would agree that theirs was mainly a marriage of convenience (she looked after Jack's invalid mother). Nevertheless, she played a major role in the Kerouac saga.

RIP, Mrs. Kerouac.


Saturday, February 8, 2020

Happy Birthday to Neal Cassady



On this date -- February 8 --  Neal Cassady was born (in 1926). Cassady served as a significant muse for Jack Kerouac and appeared as Dean Moriarty in On The Road; Cody Pomeray in Visions of CodyBook of DreamsBig SurDesolation Angels, and Book of Sketches; Leroy in The Subterraneans; and Neal Cassady in Lonesome TravelerDesolation Angels, and Satori in Paris.

So much has already been said about Cassady that is strains my brain to think of anything original to say. Thus, we'll let Kerouac's description of Dean's parking attendant prowess from On The Road suffice:
The most fantastic parking-lot attendant in the world, he can back a car forty miles an hour into a tight squeeze and stop at the wall, jump out, race among fenders, leap into another car, circle it fifty miles an hour in a narrow space, back swiftly into tight spot, hump, snap the car with the emergency so that you see it bounce as he flies out; then clear to the ticket shack, sprinting like a track star, hand a ticket, leap into a newly arrived car before the owner's half out, leap literally under him as he steps out, start the car with the door flapping, and roar off to the next available spot, arc, pop in, brake, out, run; working like that without pause eight hours a night, evening rush hours and after-theater rush hours, in greasy wino pants with a frayed fur-lined jacket and beat shoes that flap. (Penguin Books, 1976, p. 9)

To the ever kinetic Neal Cassady -- Happy Birthday in Beat heaven.


P.S. Happy Birthday, also, to my friend Keith Fisher, who turned me on to Kerouac in the first place and served as my Dean Moriarty on quite a number of adventures in life.


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Happy Birthday to William S. Burroughs



Core Beat Generation member, writer, and cultural icon William S. Burroughs was born this date -- February 5 -- in 1914. He 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 Dreams, Desolation Angels, Doctor 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.

Regular readers of The Daily Beat need no biographical details on Burroughs, and others can simply Google his name to reveal a trove of information on this seminal Beat figure, author of classics such as Naked Lunch and Junky.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Burroughs.


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

A significant calendar date in Kerouac history (a 6-for-1)

L-to-R top row: Neal Cassady, Albert Saijo, Joan Vollmer Adams; L-to-R bottom row: Gabrielle Kerouac, Mary Frank, Allen Temko

February 4 is a date on which no less than 6 people that Jack Kerouac immortalized in his works were born or died. I am not aware of another similarly synchronous and significant date (purposeful alliteration there).

I won't rank these in any particular order of importance, and I'm not going into much detail about any of them for sake of time. When relevant, I included links to other posts I've written about the person.

Today is the date in 1968 that Kerouac muse and friend Neal Cassady died. Kerouac immortalized Cassady in On The Road as the central character, Dean Moriarty, but also dedicated an entire book to the Holy Goof, Visions of Cody, in which he appeared as Cody Pomeray. Cassady also appeared as: Cody Pomeray in Book of Dreams, Big Sur, Desolation Angels, and Book of Sketches; Leroy in The Subterraneans; and Neal Cassady in Lonesome Traveler, Desolation Angels, and Satori in Paris.

Kerouac friend and writer Albert Saijo was born this date in 1926. 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.

Core early Beat Generation figure, Joan Vollmer Adams, was born this date in 1923. She appeared as Jane Lee in On The Road; Jane in The Subterraneans; June Evans in Book of Dreams, Desolation Angels, and Vanity of Duluoz; June Hubbard in Visions of Cody; Joan in The Haunted Life and Other Writings; Mary Dennison in The Town and the City; and "my old lady" in And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks.

Jack Kerouac's mother, Gabrielle, was born this date in 1895. She appeared as Angie in Vanity of Duluoz and Desolation Angels; Ma in Book of Dreams; Angy in Maggie Cassidy; Angy Duluoz in Doctor Sax; Ange Duluoz in Visions of Gerard; Marguerite Martin in The Town and the City; and, Sal's Aunt in On The Road.

Artist and wife of photographer Robert Frank, Mary, was born this date in 1933. She appeared as Mary Frank in Lonesome Traveler.

Architectural critic, writer, Pulitzer Prize winner, and Kerouac friend Allen Temko was born this date in 1924.  He appeared as: Roland Major in On The Road; Irving Minko in Book of Dreams; Irwin Minko in Desolation Angels; Allen Minko in Visions of Cody; and, Alan Minko in Book of Dreams (expanded edition).

RIP, Mr. Cassady and Happy Birthday to Mr. Saijo, Ms. Adams, Ms. Kerouac, Ms. Frank, and Mr. Temko.



Sunday, February 2, 2020

Happy Birthday to Kerouac friend, Ed White



Ed White, close friend of Jack Kerouac, was born this date -- February 2 -- in 1925. 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).

Notably, White is credited with suggesting the practice of sketching with words to Kerouac, a practice Kerouac implemented in the notebooks he always carried with him. Kerouac defined it in a 1955 letter to Neal Cassady as "writing fast without thought of words" (Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters 1940-1956, Penguin Books, 1995, p. 473).

In a May 18, 1952 letter to Allen Ginsberg, Jack said:
Sketching came to me in full force on October 25th, the day of the evening Dusty and I went to Poughkeepsie with Fitzgerald--so strongly it didn't matter about Carl's offer and I began sketching everything in sight, so that On The Road took its turn from conventional narrative survey of road trips etc. into a big multi-dimensional conscious and subconscious character invocation of Neal in his whirlwinds. Sketching (Ed White casually mentioned it in 124th Chinese restaurant near Columbia, "Why don't you just sketch in the streets like a painter but with words") which I did . . . . (Ibid, p. 356)

To which I say, one never knows when a passing comment will have significant influence on another person.

Happy Birthday in heaven, Mr. White.


Friday, January 31, 2020

I provide a Jack Kerouac quote and you figure out the book (4th in a series)



This is the 4th 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:
I'll go light candles to the Madonna, I'll paint the Madonna, and eat ice cream, benny and bread--"Dope and saltpork," as Bikkhu Booboo said--I'll go to the South of Sicily in the winter, and paint memories of Arles--I'll buy a piano and Mozart me that--I'll write long sad tales about people in the legend of my life--This part is my part of the movie, let's hear yours

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

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Remembering Lucien Carr

Jack Kerouac (L) and Lucien Carr at Columbia University

Regular readers of The Daily Beat are familiar with Lucien Carr, one of the core members of the inner circle of the New York Beat Generation in the 40s. Carr died on this date -- January 28 -- in 2005 at the age of 79. He appeared in a number of Jack Kerouac's works: Damion in On The Road; Sam Vedder in The Subterraneans and Book of Dreams (expanded edition); Julien in Big Sur; Julien Love in Book of Dreams, Desolation Angels, and Visions of Cody; Claude De Maubris in Vanity of Duluoz; Claude in Orpheus Emerged; Kenneth Wood in The Town and the City; Kenneth in The Haunted Life and Other Writings; and, Phillip Tourian in And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks.

Infamous for his role in the David Kammerer affair (whose murder by Carr led to Kerouac's first marriage when he promised to marry Edie Parker for bail money from her parents -- more on that here), Carr really needs to be recognized for his role in the original Beat Generation circle; indeed, he has been described by Allen Ginsberg as the glue that held the group together. Carr was at the center of many formative intellectual and literary conversations held among the early Beats.

Speaking of friendships, here's a picture from September 2015 of my great friend Richard Marsh and me recreating the Kerouac-Carr picture. Note who got to play each role.

Richard Marsh (L) and Rick Dale at Columbia University



Saturday, January 25, 2020

Remembering Kerouac friend Allan Temko


Today we remember architectural critic, writer, and Pulitzer Prize winner Allan Temko, who died on this date -- January 25 -- in 2006. Temko met Jack Kerouac when they were students at Columbia, and he appeared in a number of Kerouac's works as follows: Roland Major in On The Road; Irving Minko in Book of Dreams; Irwin Minko in Desolation Angels; Allen Minko in Visions of Cody; and, Alan Minko in Book of Dreams (expanded edition).

When Kerouac (Sal Paradise) anticipates meeting up with Temko (Major) in Denver, he refers to him in On The Road as "my old college writing buddy" and ended up living with him in Tim Gray's folks' apartment there.
We each had a bedroom, and there was a kitchenette with food in the icebox, and a huge living room where Major sat in his silk dressing gown composing his latest Hemingwayan short story--a choleric, red-faced, pudgy hater of everything, who could turn on the warmest and most charming smile in the world when real life confronted him sweetly in the night. (1976, Penguin Books, p. 40)

Major (Temko) features prominently in the Denver story and then Kerouac runs into him again in San Francisco at Alfred's in North Beach where Major gets kicked out for rowdiness and the two go drinking at the Iron Pot.

RIP, Mr. Temko.


Thursday, January 23, 2020

A Kerouac-related birthday: Alan Ansen

Alan Ansen in 1973

We wrote a pretty lengthy piece remembering Alan Ansen on November 12 -- click here -- and today we are celebrating his birthday (January 23, 1922).

Born the same year as Jack Kerouac, Ansen met Kerouac through his association with W.H. Auden. Ansen appeared in several Kerouac works: as Rollo Greb in On The Road; Austin Bromberg in The Subterraneans; Irwin Swenson in Book of Dreams and Visions of Cody; Amadeus Baroque in Doctor Sax; and, Allen Ansen in Book of Sketches.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Ansen. We aspire to having "IT," like you obviously did (see my November 12 post above). Go go go . . . .




Friday, January 17, 2020

Remembering Gregory Corso

(L-R) Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, & Gregory Corso

Streetwise Beat poet Gregory Corso died this date -- January 17 -- in 2001 at the age of 70. An important inner circle Beat Generation figure (and youngest), 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.

Corso had a tough upbringing and experienced foster homes, orphanages, prison, and even time in Bellevue Hospital. You can read a bio and some of his poetry by clicking here.

I glanced through my copies of Kerouac's selected letters and noticed that several times he wrote to Corso along with Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, but there is one lengthy letter written to Corso alone when Jack was in Northport on October 13, 1956. An excerpt follows:
I just read your latest letter to Allen about Zen-nutty and you're right, in fact I've not been able to "meditate" or make any buddhist scene now for a long time and have actually started writing catholic poems and sending them to Jubilee Magazine tho I'm aware that all the scenes are the same empty scene. Your criticism of buddhism in other words is fairly accurate but you mustnt let yourself be fooled every moment of your life into believing there's any special "reality" to either life or death, you say people die real deaths but in a few hundred years who's to remember or notice that it was real death? (Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1957-1969, 1999, p. 178, Penguin Books)

RIP, Mr. Corso.




Thursday, January 16, 2020

Happy Birthday to Alan Harrington



We remembered writer Alan Harrington back in May -- you can read that by clicking here. Today, January 16, is his birthday (1918 or 1919 -- I see conflicting dates on-line). He appeared in several Kerouac novels: as Hal Hingham in On The Road; Early Wallington in Book of Dreams; and, Worthington in Book of Dreams (expanded edition).

Harrington introduced Jack Kerouac to John Clellon Holmes, no small matter given the deep friendship that ensued between them -- "brother souls" as my great friend Richard Marsh would point out.

An interesting blog post with info about Harrington is available here. I haven't read any of his work, but it's on my list of things to do.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Harrington.





Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Happy Birthday to Lenore Kandel



We remembered Lenore Kandel back in October (click here) and today we wish her a happy birthday in Beat poet heaven (January 14, 1932). She appeared in Jack Kerouac's Big Sur as Romana Swartz.

Click here for Michael Dennis' poetry blog post about Lenore; it includes some of her poetry as well as analysis. Warning: It's not for the faint of sexual heart and it's most definitely Not Safe For Work.

Happy Birthday, Ms. Kandel.


Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Daily Beat hits ONE MILLION PAGEVIEWS!!!!



Some time in the last 24 hours, The Daily Beat hit 1 million total pageviews (since we've been counting using Google stats starting in May 2010).

I haven't received any ideas from readers on how to celebrate this accomplishment, and, not feeling particularly celebratory at this moment given the state of world affairs, we'll just leave it that persistence pays off. I started this blog in September 2008 in conjunction with self-publishing my book, The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions (which you can purchase here) and, while I haven't blogged daily, I have published 1808 posts, or approximately one post every 2.3 days.

Here's to looking ahead to two million pageviews, which might happen -- if the past is any indication -- sometime in 2030.

Cheers!



Remembering Bob Kaufman



Today we remember Beat poet Bob Kaufman, who died on this date -- January 12 -- in 1986.  He appeared as Chuck Berman in Jack Kerouac's Desolation Angels.

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.

RIP, Mr. Kaufman.


Thursday, January 9, 2020

A Kerouac "two-fer" date

Herbert Huncke (L) and Amiri Baraka

Kerouac muse Herbert Huncke and noted writer Amiri Baraka share this date, Huncke having been born on January 9, 1915 and Baraka having died on January 9, 2014.

Huncke was Elmer Hassel in Kerouac's On The Road; Huck in Desolation Angels, Book of Dreams, and Visions of Cody; Hunkey in Lonesome Traveler; and Junkey in The Town and the City. Baraka appeared under his actual former name, Leroi Jones, in Lonesome Traveler.

Both of these Kerouac contemporaries led fascinating lives and I encourage you to read up on them if you are not already familiar with their stories. Kerouac is often credited with coining the phrase, "Beat Generation," and he likely got the term "beat" from Huncke (click here for bio). Baraka was an accomplished poet and activist -- click here for some biographical info on him as well as some of his poems.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Huncke and RIP, Mr. Baraka.

Monday, January 6, 2020

A Kerouac-related birthday: Alan Watts



Writer/philosopher and self-professed spiritual entertainer Alan Watts was born on this date -- January 6 -- in 1915. He appeared in two Kerouac novels: as Arthur Whane in The Dharma Bums and as Alex Aums in Desolation Angels.

We have written about Watts on this blog in the past -- click here. I don't have anything additional to say about the man other than that he influenced my thinking about Eastern religion significantly and I recommend his writings and recordings (many available on YouTube). There's even an Alan Watts app for your smartphone or iPhone. When is there going to be a parallel Jack Kerouac app? Kerouac estate, are you listening?

Happy Birthday, Mr. Watts.