Curation #154 from my Kerouac bookshelf is this softcover 2014 Grizzly Peak Press first edition of Night Train to Shanghai and Other Memories of China by Gerald Nicosia. 114 pages, it measures about 5-3/16" x 8-1/8" and is in very good condition. The provenance is that I got it directly from the author.
The Kerouac connection here is obvious to most Kerouac fans: Gerald Nicosia is the author of the acclaimed Kerouac biography, Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac. He is also my friend, so there is that connection as well -- any friend of mine has to be connected to Jack Kerouac by default.
While many know Gerry, as I call him, as a famous Kerouac biographer, he is also an accomplished poet. This is his third and most recent volume of poetry; it focuses -- as the title suggests -- on China. Perhaps you don't know this, but Gerry adopted his first child, Amy (Wu Ji) from China, and at 10 years old she was with Gerry on one of the trips to China that inspired this set of poems.
As Jerry Kamstra, author of The Frisco Kid, explains in the introduction:
In a collection of 32 poems, or extended koans I like to call them, Gerry takes us on a tour from the 600-year old Forbidden City to a born-yesterday underground supermarket in Shanghai where, he says, if you ever want to lose this world entirely, find the mystical door of perception like Huxley sans LSD, just spend a full hour at midnight there--alone and bewitched in the underground supermarket in Shanghai.
It's easy to get lost in this bewitching volume of soul-felt poetry, and I recommend it. As far as your Kerouac bookshelf goes, any book by the author of Memory Babe certainly deserves a spot there.
Below is a picture of Shelf #5 (last one!) of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (8th from the top of the pile) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalemn & Jack Kerouac on the North Cascades by John Suiter.
|Shelf #5 of my Kerouac bookshelf|