Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Happy Heavenly Birthday to poet Lew Welch

 

Lew Welch

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:

Dear Larry--

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.


Belatedly remembering Bea Franco

 

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

Today we belatedly remember Bea Franco, who died on August 15, 2013. We wished her a happy birthday in October 2021 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). 




Monday, August 15, 2022

Belatedly remembering David Kammerer

 

David Kammerer


Yesterday -- August 14 -- was the anniversary of David Kammerer's death in 1944. We wrote about Kammerer on his birthday in September 2020 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).

Kammerer was most likely a sexual predator, and we remember him only because he figured into the early Beat Generation -- if only as a dark presence.


Monday, August 8, 2022

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 a Huncke biography by Hilary Holladay HERE. You can listen to him read three poems HERE (at the Chelsea Hotel in 1994).

RIP, Mr. Huncke.



Saturday, August 6, 2022

Happy Heavenly Birthday to Beat poet, Diane di Prima

                                     



Today -- August 6 -- is award-winning Beat poet Diane di Prima's birthday. She was born in 1934. 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 DealHERE, 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 Heavenly Birthday, Ms. di Prima!



Friday, August 5, 2022

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



Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Remembering William S. Burroughs

(c) Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

Core Beat Generation member, writer, and cultural iconoclast William S. Burroughs died on this date in 1997. He needs no introduction to regular readers of The Daily Beat. His importance to the Jack Kerouac story cannot be overestimated.

Burroughs appeared in several of 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


RIP, Mr. Burroughs.