Monday, July 2, 2018

Curation #76 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Go by John Clellon Holmes

Item #76 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback Thunder's Mouth Press edition with the newest date showing as 1997 and having no printing number. It is in fair condition (a few underlinings and annotations and dog-eared cover and page corners), 311+ pages, and it's about 5" x 8". The provenance is lost in memory, but it may have been an Amazon purchase (used). This is hand-printed on the inside, sideways: Jennifer Shaw 870-0131 481-5762. If you're reading this and you think you know who that is, let us know in a comment. I always like to learn the provenance of used books I buy. Of course, Jennifer was unlikely the owner. It looks like something the book's owner wrote down in order to remember Jennifer's phone number (area codes unknown).

Now for the big confession: I've never read Go. I started it once and got bogged down and never returned to it. It's an important book for a Kerouac or Beat fan to read, as Holmes and Kerouac were close friends -- soulmate level -- and Go is about the Beat inner circle, being semi-autobiographical like Kerouac's novels, using pseudonyms for real life characters. I have them listed on an inside cover page for easy reference (see pic below).

Go is considered the first published novel about the Beat Generation, beating Kerouac's On The Road to the punch by 5 years. According to Gerald Nicosia in Memory Babe, Holmes was the first person Jack showed the roll manuscript of On The Road. That's how close they were. In fact, there is book my friend Richard highly recommends about the two of them called Brother Souls by Ann and Samuel Charters. I want to read that.

I have no excuse not to read Go, and after I finish my current library-borrowed book -- The Yale Gertrude Stein (because she influenced Lew Welch) -- I intend to take it up in earnest.

Below is a picture of Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (26th item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: The Kerouac We Knew: unused portraits; action shots compiled by John Montgomery.

Shelf #2 of my Kerouac bookshelf

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