Monday, June 27, 2022

Pics of Jack Kerouac's favorite bar in Hyannis, MA

 My great friend Richard Marsh has been staying on Cape Cod for his honeymoon and sent me these pictures of the 19th Hole Tavern (affectionately known as The Hole), a bar that Jack Kerouac hung out in when he and his mother lived in Hyannis briefly in 1966 (at 20 Bristol Avenue according to Bill Morgan in Beat Atlas). HERE is a link to a story about the place and below are some pics Richard sent me. Richard says there is a difference of opinion as to which spot in the bar was Jack's.


(c) Richard Marsh 2022


Wow, that looks like me sitting at the bar!
(c) Richard Marsh 2022

(c) Richard Marsh 2022


(c) Richard Marsh 2022


(c) Richard Marsh 2022


(c) Richard Marsh 2022




Sunday, June 26, 2022

Remembering Philip Whalen

 

Philip Whalen (L) & Jack Kerouac


Today we remember Beat poet Philip Whalen, who died on this date -- June 26 -- in 2002 at the age of 78. He appeared in several Jack Kerouac works: as Warren Coughlin in The Dharma Bums; and Ben Fagan in Desolation Angels and Big Sur.

Whalen was a force behind the San Francisco poetry renaissance of the mid-50s, and was one of the poets who read at the famous Six Gallery reading on October 7, 1955.

To get a sense of Whalen's place in Kerouac's world, I highly recommend reading John Suiter's Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen & Jack Kerouac in the North Cascades. This is my favorite Kerouac-related book of all time (a gift from my great friend, Richard Marsh).

Whalen was a Buddhist, close with Lew Welch and Gary Snyder (who all met at Reed College in Oregon), and a much greater piece of the Beat Generation puzzle than he gets credit for, especially the West Coast aspect. You can read a brief bio and some of his poetry HERE. Whalen and Kerouac were also close, evidenced by the more than two dozen letters from Kerouac to Whalen included in Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1957-1969 (Penguin Books, 1999).

RIP, Mr. Whalen.



Saturday, June 25, 2022

A belated heavenly birthday to Beat poet Ruth Weiss

 


Noted Beat poet Ruth Weiss was born on yesterday's date -- June 24 -- in 1928. I could not verify whether she appeared in any of Jack Kerouac's works.

HERE is a link to a documentary film about Weiss. You can read about her interactions with Kerouac HERE. It's a bit of a challenge to find her poetry online, but with some Googling you can find some.

Happy heavenly birthday, Ms. Weiss.


Saturday, June 18, 2022

Happy Heavenly Birthday to Helen Weaver


Today -- June 18 -- is Helen Weaver's birthday. Weaver appeared in two of Jack Kerouac's works: as Ruth Heaper in Desolation Angels and as Eileen Farrier in Book of Dreams (expanded edition).Weaver granted me an interview in 2009 that you can read HERE. Happy heavenly birthday, Ms. Weaver.

Note: Am currently camped at a bluegrass festival so this post, if it works, is from my smartphone.


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Happy Birthday to Hettie Jones

 

Hettie Jones

Today is poet/writer Hettie Jones' 88th birthday. She never appeared in a Jack Kerouac work, but her husband, LeRoi Jones (later Amiri Baraka), appeared in Lonesome Traveler under his own name.

Jones published many of the Beat writers, including Kerouac, in her poetry magazine, Yugen, established with her husband. She went on to publish others in Totem Press. A brief bio and one of her poems can be read HERE. In addition to her poetry, Jones published a couple of memoirs and several children's books.

Happy Birthday, Ms. Jones.



Sunday, June 12, 2022

Remembering Stanley Twardowicz

 

Stanley Twardowicz

Jack Kerouac's Northport friend, painter/photographer Stanley Twardowicz, died on this date -- June 12 -- in 2008. He appeared in one Kerouac novel, Satori in Paris, under his own name. To wit --

Spend most of the time talking to big corpulent Breton cabdrivers, what I learned in Brittany is "Don't be afraid to be big, fat, be yourself if you're big and fat." Those big fat sonumgun Bretons waddle around as tho the last whore of summer war lookin for her first lay. You can't drive a spike with a tack hammer, say the Polocks, well at least said Stanley Twardowicz which is another country I've never seen. You can drive a nail, but not a spike. (Satori in Paris & Pic, 1988, Grove Press, p. 108)
In January 1968, Jack wrote to Twardowicz, thanking him for a Christmas gift.
Dear Stanley:
When your fruitcake arrived as usual, as wd. be expected from a fruitcake, Stella said to me: "Now who is it that remembers you at each Christmastime?" I said: "Gordo?" She said: "Guess again?" I said: "Lucien? Allen? Peter? John the Baptist?""Awright," I shouted, "Ho?" She said "Stanley." Thank you, will eat, it, and love to "Blondie" too.
                                                                                                        Jack

The Bishop orders you not to beat it too much. (Beat the Bishop)

 (Source: Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1957-1969, Penguin Books, 1999, p. 507)

I don't know if Jack intended that comma after eat or if it's a typo.

RIP, Mr. Twardowicz.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Remembering Kenneth Rexroth

 

Kenneth Rexroth

Poet and critic Kenneth Charles Marion Rexroth, who we wished a happy birthday in December 2020 (click HERE), died on this date -- June 6 -- in 1982. Rexroth appeared in only one of Jack Kerouac's books, The Dharma Bums (my favorite), as Rheinhold Cacoethes.

Rexroth and Kerouac were not chums. As Gerald Nicosia points out in Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac, Rexroth often put Jack down with snide remarks (1994, University of California Press, p. 491). Jack returned the favor by naming him "Cacoethes," which means "the irresistible urge to do something inadvisable."

Notably, Rexroth was the master of ceremonies at the famous Six Gallery poetry reading in October 1955. You can read more about him HERE as well as some of his poetry.

Random thought: I rather think the younger Rexroth looks like actor Steve Zahn.


A young Rexroth

Actor Steve Zahn


RIP, Mr. Rexroth.