Poet Lew Welch was born on today's date -- August 16 -- in 1926. He appeared in two of Jack Kerouac's works -- Desolation Angels and Big Sur -- as Dave Wain.
Welch famously drove Kerouac and another friend, Albert Saijo, cross-country in 1959, composing poetry along the way that became Trip Trap: Haiku on the Road. Kerouac mentioned this trip in a Dec. 7, 1959 letter to Lawrence Ferlinghetti:
Thanx again for getting me the cash . . . We had a great enlightening trip, Lew Welch talked all the way & showed great knowledge of American subjects (dialects, lit., folk songs, logging, football, track, girls etc.) and Albert Saijo mediated most of the way. We wrote a joint book of poems called TRIP TRAP. Albert is like my guru now. (Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1957-1969, 1999, Penguin Books, p. 265)
Welch was an accomplished poet in is own right, and we reviewed his poetry collection, Ring of Bone, HERE. He roomed with Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen at Reed College. More on Welch can be found HERE.
Happy Heavenly Birthday, Mr. Welch.