Monday, May 17, 2021
Saturday, May 8, 2021
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 91 today! He is the only reader left alive from the famous 1955 Six Gallery poetry reading, and 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.
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
|Michael McClure in 2004|
(c) Gloria Graham
Poet Michael McClure died a year ago today -- May 4, 2020. He was one of the longest-living central Beat Generation figures, and appeared in several Jack Kerouac novels: Ike O'Shay in The Dharma Bums; McLear in Big Sur; and, Patrick McLear in Desolation Angels.
It would be an appropriate remembrance to read some of his poetry today, which you can easily do via some Googling. Or if you're so inclined, click HERE.
RIP, Mr. McClure
Monday, May 3, 2021
My friend, Cat -- who knows a lot about Jack Kerouac and the Beats -- recently had a piece on Kerouac published at Please Kill Me. I think Daily Beat readers would enjoy reading her thoughts on our boy.
Click HERE to access the article.
Thursday, April 29, 2021
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.
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
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 98 today!
Monday, April 26, 2021
Because of a family emergency, we missed remembering poet Ted Joans, who died on April 25, 2003. He appeared in one of Jack Kerouac's works, The Subterraneans, as John Golz.
Joans moved to NYC in 1951, where he met and became friends with Kerouac, Ginsberg, et al. Click HERE for a website dedicated to Joans. He is credited with saying, "Jazz is my religion, and Surrealism is my point of view." HERE is a link to an obit in SFGate. In that obit you'll find this gem of a story:
Mr. Joans was born July 4, 1928, in Cairo, Ill. His father was a musician who worked aboard the riverboats of the Mississippi River, and he instilled in his young son a strong work ethic and love of jazz.
"The story goes that he gave Ted a trumpet when he was 12 years old and dropped him in Memphis with the words, 'OK, son, go make a living,'" recalled Gerald Nicosia of Corte Madera, a friend of Mr. Joans' for 40 years.
RIP, Mr. Joans.