Saturday, January 29, 2011

Poppa Neutrino

I thought you might appreciate this elegy to a guy who "made Jack Kerouac, whom he knew, look as if he lived at home with his mother and borrowed her car on weekends to have adventures with his friend Neal." Regardless of this ridiculously uninformed comment, I have to say that Poppa Neutrino seemed to have lived a beat life. And he knew Jack.


Click here for the article.

Friday, January 28, 2011

New Burroughs documentary

A new documentary about our beat hero, William S. Burroughs, is coming to PBS. Click here for details. It is titled William S. Burroughs: A Man Within, and starts broadcasting February 22.

I am anticipating an advanced copy for review, and will post it here on The Daily Beat.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Neal Cassady in the news

Click here for a recent article about our beat hero, Neal Cassady.

It's time to get a copy of The First Third and read it. It's available at our campus library!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Actress Alice Braga discusses her role in On The Road film

Click here to listen to Alice Braga discuss her role (I assume as Terry) in the upcoming On The Road film (you have to click the media icon once you get to the page).

I cannot wait to see it, although I fear it will not meet my expectations. I'm particularly distressed with the casting. But I will be open-minded.

I do like the idea of Alice (niece of actress Sonia) as Terry - I thought she was good in I Am Legend. I'm also glad to see that they didn't discard this part of the novel, which I think is a critically important piece.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Review: Apocryphal Road Code by Jared Randall

The first thing you’ll note about Jared Randall’s debut poetry book, Apocryphal Road Code, is the striking cover design: a grey-toned mesmerizing close-up of a bearded man staring straight into your soul. The image is split vertically between the front and back covers, perhaps denoting the duality in Randall’s poems, which invoke both a personal and a historical perspective on the hobo’s wayfaring life. As he points out in “Thinking, road kids…,” we are all hobo’s on life’s highway, always a heartbeat from despair.

Starting with the 16 tenets of the Hobo Code (#1. Decide your own life, don’t let another person run or rule you.), Randall embarks on a journey told varyingly through his own eyes or those of a hardcore hobo. Along the way you’ll learn hobo terms like “snipe,” “hooty,” and “mongee,” aided by context as well as a selected glossary at the end of the book (which you’ll need at times, especially for “Monologue: Tourist Union #63”).

Randall’s poetic voice is lyrical and descriptive, as these lines from "Road Code" (the first of several poems by the same name which all play off the Hobo Code) display:
My fingers sew
                         the night to shreds,
poke pockets for holes,
handle rib cage creases
to prove
              I circulate.

In “Ulterior hobo…,” about picking up a “hitch-hiker on the road to Battle Creek,” Randall demonstrates his empathy for the hobo life and his command of their vernacular. You will find sensory-rich imagery like “an unlovely tool shed perfumed with dog piss” in Randall’s verse, this phrase from “Hobo Confessional,” one of my favorites. “Long Haul” presents an ode to lost friends accompanied by hobo symbols, the cryptic language bo’s use to communicate with each other in coal or chalk, thereby providing directions, information, or warnings.

Randall is a true “Hobo at Heart” (the title of one of a set of poems called “Hobo Circle,” written “for all junglers and yesterday’s preshuns, caught in a wire…”). He not only captures the actual landscape of the American hobo’s existence with economic elegance but also translates it into an “everyman’s” tale, showing how even our common experience keeping an old clunker on the road can symbolize the wayfarer’s frugal world (“Travelogue: Breakdown Commute in Reverse”).

“A Boy’s Journey Home” reminded me of Jack Kerouac’s colorful descriptions of life on the road, and if Randall never actually lived this particular tale, the reader is no wiser. Indeed, as I read I was hearing all the poems in Jack’s own lilting voice, perhaps a product of my own bias for the latter’s work, but more likely a result of the obvious connection between Randall’s subject matter and much of Kerouac’s epic work.

I wrote this review in the spirit of Hobo Code #15, but you’ll have to buy the book to figure out what I mean by that. I hope you will – you won’t be sorry. This is a masterful piece of work, and Jared Randall faces a bright future as a poet down the apocryphal road.

Apocryphal Road Code is available from Amazon here.

A blog post you'll like

Daily Beat readers will "get" this blog post.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Kerouac-olutions

As promised, below are my Kerouac-olutions for 2011. It's a shorter, less ambitious list than last year. I figure it won't be as depressing when I revisit it at the end of 2011. I was going to add "gain 20 more pounds" and "drink enough beer to float a battleship," but those are givens, not aspirations.

1. Read Dr. Sax.
2. Take Crystal to Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!
3. Write a Kerouac-inspired song.
4. Write 56 poems.
5. Daydream a lot.
6. Take guitar lessons.
7. Buy Crystal flowers at least once a month.
8. Read Hayduke Lives!
9. Write an article about Krishnamurti and special education.
10. Travel somewhere new.