Thursday, November 29, 2018

Jack Kerouac on this date in 1959

Kenneth Rexroth

Today is Twofer Thursday: 2 posts about Kerouac on this date in  history.

We already posted from Jack's journal in 1965, but also on this date in 1959, poet and critic Kenneth Rexroth reviewed Kerouac's Mexico City Blues in the NY Times. Click here for a link to that review.

Rexroth was no fan of Kerouac as this review demonstrates. Rexroth introduced the poets at the famous Six Gallery poetry reading in San Francisco in 1955, and Kerouac described him thus in The Dharma Bums: "bow-tied wild-haired old anarchist fuds like Rheinhold Cacoethes." This was the event when Allen Ginsberg first read "Howl" in public; Jack didn't read but collected money for jugs of wine that he passed around while he cheered on the other poets with shouts of "Go! Go!"

Mexico City Blues and Kerouac have stood the test of time. Did you read any Rexroth in your college American poetry class?


Anonymous said...

I thought you said college is worthless. So why should college curricula decide the worth of an author? It’s not a competition anyway. In any case, Rexroth’s history of communal movements is classic.

Rick Dale, author of The Beat Handbook said...

I was sticking up for Jack in suggesting that one is more likely to run into Jack's poetry in academe than Rexroth's. I did say in my book that college is a waste of time and money. I was making the point that college is unnecessary in order to be educated. There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom, and college abounds in the former and not in the latter.

P.S. I violated my own policy and posted this anonymous comment. How about a name next time?