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