Friday, September 14, 2018

Curation #141 from my Kerouac bookshelf: The Blue Estuaries: Poems 1923-1968 by Louise Bogan

Item #141 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this softcover 1995 Farrar, Straus & Giroux second printing (1999) of The Blue Estuaries: Poems 1923-1968 by Louise Bogan. 136 pages, it measures about 5-1/2" x 8" and is in very good condition. The provenance is that I acquired it via Amazon.

It would take a true Kerouacophile to make the connection between this book's author, Louise Bogan, and Jack Kerouac. Without Googling, that is.

Here's the connection. You will recall that in Kerouac's The Dharma Bums, at Japhy's big going-away party, Rheinhold Cacoethes (real-life Kerouac-hater Kenneth Rexroth) is holding forth on current poets of the day. In his list is "Leontine McGee," who "says she's old" (Chapter 28). A little research (see Dave Moore's excellent Character Key to Kerouac's Duluoz Legend) will reveal that Leontine is real-life Louise Bogan, who hailed from Livermore Falls in my state of Maine. I used to supervise University of Maine at Farmington practicum students at the elementary school there. When I taught my Kerouac class at UMF, we used to read and analyze her poem, "Portrait," which relates to Cacoethes' comment.

Click here for biographical information on Louise as well as a couple of her poems. The Blue Estuaries was first published in 1968, and was the last volume of poetry published before her death in 1970. As this volume attests, Bogan was quite an accomplished poet.

If you believe in my Six Degrees of Jack Kerouac Theory, this book of poetry belongs on your Kerouac bookshelf.

Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (5th from the left that you can see in the picture) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Pictures of the Gone World by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf

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