Friday, June 26, 2020

Remembering Philip Whalen

Philip Whalen (L) & Jack Kerouac


Today we remember Beat poet Philip Whalen, who died on this date -- June 26 -- in 2002 at the age of 78. He appeared in several Jack Kerouac works: as Warren Coughlin in The Dharma Bums; and Ben Fagan in Desolation Angels and Big Sur.

Whalen was a force behind the San Francisco poetry renaissance of the mid-50s, and was one of the poets who read at the famous Six Gallery reading on October 7, 1955.

To get a sense of Whalen's place in Kerouac's world, I highly recommend reading John Suiter's Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen & Jack Kerouac in the North Cascades. This is my favorite Kerouac-related book of all time (a gift from my great friend, Richard Marsh).

Whalen was a Buddhist, close with Lew Welch and Gary Snyder (who all met at Reed College in Oregon), and a much greater piece of the Beat Generation puzzle than he gets credit for, especially the West Coast aspect. You can read a brief bio and some of his poetry HERE.



Monday, June 15, 2020

Happy Birthday to Hettie Jones

Hettie Jones

Today is poet/writer Hettie Jones' 86th birthday. She never appeared in a Jack Kerouac work, but her husband, LeRoi Jones (later Amiri Baraka), appeared in Lonesome Traveler under his own name.

Jones published many of the Beat writers, including Kerouac, in her poetry magazine, Yugen, established with her husband. She went on to publish others in Totem Press. A brief bio and one of her poems can be read HERE. More of her poems appear HERE. In addition to her poetry, Jones published a couple of memoirs and several children's books.

Happy Birthday, Ms. Jones.


Friday, June 12, 2020

Remembering Stanley Twardowicz

Stanley Twardowicz

Jack Kerouac's Northport friend, painter/photographer Stanley Twardowicz, died on this date -- June 12 -- in 2008. We remembered him HERE last year. He appeared in one Kerouac novel, Satori in Paris, under his own name. To wit --

Spend most of the time talking to big corpulent Breton cabdrivers, what I learned in Brittany is "Don't be afraid to be big, fat, be yourself if you're big and fat." Those big fat sonumgun Bretons waddle around as tho the last whore of summer war lookin for her first lay. You can't drive a spike with a tack hammer, say the Polocks, well at least said Stanley Twardowicz which is another country I've never seen. You can drive a nail, but not a spike. (Satori in Paris & Pic, 1988, Grove Press, p. 108)

RIP, Mr. Twardowicz.



Saturday, June 6, 2020

Remembering Kenneth Rexroth

Kenneth Rexroth

Poet and critic Kenneth Charles Marion Rexroth, who we wished a happy birthday in December (click HERE), died on this date -- June 6 -- in 1982. Rexroth appeared in only one of Jack Kerouac's books, The Dharma Bums (my favorite), as Rheinhold Cacoethes.

Rexroth and Kerouac were not chums. As Gerald Nicosia points out in Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac, Rexroth often put Jack down with snide remarks (1994, University of California Press, p. 491). Jack returned the favor by naming him "Cacoethes," which means "the irresistible urge to do something inadvisable."

Notably, Rexroth was the master of ceremonies at the famous Six Gallery poetry reading in October 1955. You can read more about him HERE as well as some of his poetry.

Random thought: I rather think the younger Rexroth looks like actor Steve Zahn.


A young Rexroth

Actor Steve Zahn


RIP, Mr. Rexroth.


Friday, June 5, 2020

Remembering Jan Kerouac



Writer Jan Kerouac, Jack's only child, died on this date -- June 5 -- in 1996. We wished her a happy birthday and provided some info about her back in February. You can access that post HERE.

A fitting book to check out today, in addition to any of Jan's own novels (Baby Driver, Trainsong, and Parrot Fever (unpublished but a chapbook is available from Gerald Nicosia) would be Nicosia's The Last Days of Jan Kerouac (Noodlebrain Press, PO Box 130, Corte Madera, CA 94976-0130). Click HERE for a European Beat Studies Network interview with Nicosia about this book.

Like her father, Jan died too young (age 44) and had a promising writing career cut short, most likely from similar lifestyle choices involving intoxicants. To which I say: Life is short. Live every minute of it.

RIP, Ms. Kerouac.




Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Happy Birthday to Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg

Poet and core Beat Generation member Allen Ginsberg was born on this date -- June 3 --  in 1926. He appeared in a number of Jack Kerouac's works: as Carlo Marx in On The Road; Alvah Goldbook in The Dharma Bums; Adam Moorad in The Subterraneans; Irwin Garden in Big Sur, Desolation Angels, Visions of Cody, Book of Dreams, and Vanity of Duluoz; Leon Levinski in The Town and the City; Allen Goldbook in an early draft of Beat Generation; Bleistein in The Haunted Life and Other Writings; Allen Ginsberg in Pull My Daisy; and Leo in Orpheus Emerged.

The influence of Ginsberg on the other Beat writers, including acting as their agent/promoter, and his impact on the culture from the 50s to the 90s cannot be overstated. One need only read the above list of appearances in Kerouac's works to imagine his importance to Jack. You can read a short bio and some of his poetry by clicking HERE.

In honor of his birthday, Allen would dig it if you read some of his poetry, especially aloud. Even better, read along while listening to him read his own work. It's out there on the interwebz.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Ginsberg.




Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Another "two-fer" Kerouac date

Gerard Kerouac (left) and Albert Saijo

On this date -- June 2 -- two important figures in Jack Kerouac's world died, his brother Gerard in 1926 and his friend Albert Saijo in 2011. Gerard appeared as Gerard Duluoz in Visions of Gerard, Doctor Sax, Visions of Cody, and Book of Dreams; and as Julian in The Town and the City. Albert appeared as George Baso in Big Sur and co-authored Trip Trap: Haiku on the Road with Kerouac and Lew Welch based on a road trip across America in Welch's Jeep.

In honor of Gerard, here's a passage from Visions of Gerard (Penguin Books, 1991, pp. 32-33):
"Ainsi soit-il," amen, none of them knowing either what that meant, "thus it is," it is what is and that's all it is--thinking ainsi soit-il to be some mystic priestly secret word invoked at altar--The innocence and yet intrinsic purity-understanding with which the Hail Mary was done, as Gerard, now knelt in his secure pew, prepares to visit the priest in his ambuscade and palace hut with the drapes that keep swishing aside as repentent in-and-out sinners come-and-go burdened and dismembered as the case may be and is, amen--

In honor of Albert, here's a haiku of his from Trip Trap (City Lights/Grey Fox, 1998, p. 32).

    Grain elevators on 
                Saturday lonely as
Abandoned toys


It is a mystical synchronicity that both of the above passages come from page 32 in their respective sources. First of all, 32 is 23 backwards, and we all know the mystical significance of the number 23 (see my post HERE). Plus, I randomly picked Albert's selection first and then thumbed through Gerard to look for a section that'd been underlined (by the previous owner of the book in this case) and this was the first one I saw.

RIP, Master Kerouac and Mr. Saijo. We remember you on this day.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

Dark day in Kerouac history

Alan Harrington (left) and Lew Welch

Though surrounded by COVID-19 death, we should not become inured to the tragedy and significance of the date when someone takes the "night train to the big adios" (movie reference there -- for those who'd like to guess the film, please comment with your answer). To wit, today's date brings us to remember novelist Alan Harrington and poet Lew Welch, two friends of Jack Kerouac who shuffled off this mortal coil (or in Welch's case, disappeared) on this date, May 23 (Harrington in 1997, Welch in 1971).

We opined about this important Kerouac date last year and in that post we identify who Harrington and Welch appeared as in five of Kerouac's works, as well as provide some background on each. You can read that post by clicking HERE. That saves me repeating myself and unnecessarily using up bandwidth.


RIP, Mr. Harrington and Mr. Welch.


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Recourse for reviewers who hated The Beat Handbook

The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions by Rick Dale

There are two 1-star reviews panning my book on Amazon, calling it crap and lamenting spending money on it. I commented on both reviews that if the reviewer e-mails me at thebeathandbook@gmail.com, I will refund their money.

Maybe they don't go back to their own reviews to look for comments, so again I say to you two dissatisfied reviewers: e-mail me and tell me what you spent and give me your mailing address. I will refund your money.

If you want to see what all the fuss is about, visit my book page on Amazon HERE. But don't buy it and post a shitty review just to get a refund. That was a limited time offer that applied to the two existing 1-star reviews. Trying to work on my karma.

I provide a Jack Kerouac quote and you figure out the book (5th in a series)



This is the 5th in a series of posts where I provide a quote from one of Jack Kerouac's books and you figure out which one. Post your answer as a comment. Here's the passage:
. . . something making me now almost so mad as to shout, I GOT MY OWN LITTLE BANGTAIL ESSENCE AND THAT ESSENCE IS MIND RECOGNITION--

Good luck! Remember our policy on comments (over there on the right).


Friday, May 8, 2020

Happy 90th Birthday to Gary Snyder



Regular Daily Beat readers know that acclaimed poet and environmentalist Gary Snyder was immortalized in Jack Kerouac's best novel*, The Dharma Bums, as Japhy Ryder (he also appears once as Gary, an editing error). He appeared as Jarry Wagner in Desolation Angels and Big Sur, and as himself in Vanity of Duluoz.

Snyder turns 90 today! Despite my angst over jinxing him by saying it, as of Michael McClure's recent death, Snyder is the only reader left alive from the 1955 Six Gallery poetry reading. He's also one of a small number of close friends of Kerouac who are still around.

Click HERE for a brief bio and some of his poetry.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Snyder. And many more....


*Regular readers likewise know that I am just trolling them by calling The Dharma Bums Jack's best novel. It is, indeed, my favorite, but I would hesitate to argue that it's his best work.


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Remembering Michael McClure



I had a low day yesterday, feeling very discouraged about life in general, and I even posted about that on Facebook. Then last night I learned that Beat poet Michael McClure had died May 4. We had recently wished him a Happy Birthday (click HERE) on October 20 when he turned 87. Death awaits us all, but this one struck close to home for some reason. I guess because he was one of the few famous members of the Beat Generation era who were still around. McClure appeared in several Jack Kerouac novels: Ike O'Shay in The Dharma Bums; McLear in Big Sur; and, Patrick McLear in Desolation Angels.

The tributes to McClure are pouring in to the Facebook Jack Kerouac and The Beat Generation groups, not the least of which is from noted Kerouac biographer Gerald Nicosia, who said:
I just heard that Michael McClure has died. It's Tuesday night here. By tomorrow morning everyone should be reading about it. Funny thing is I was going through old correspondence today--stuff from more than 40 years ago--and I came upon a whole packet of letters he'd written me. I was reading his words a few hours ago, and now I learn he's dead. A gentle man, who always felt he had not gotten the recognition he deserved as a major poet, which he was. Back in the early or mid 1990's, Michael asked me to do an interview with him for the NEW YORK QUARTERLY, to help bring out aspects of his work that had been ignored. He was very happy with the interview. I don't know if it ever got put on line, but I'll try to find out, and if so, post it here.
To read such posts, you must be a member of the named groups, which I recommend. All it requires is that you ask to join and follow the rules.

Click HERE for a brief obit in the San Francisco Chronicle.

I only ever saw McClure once, at an event in New York City in 2016 which I attended with my great friend, Richard Marsh (chronicled HERE). Hence, I don't have any personal stories about the man like so many others in the Kerouac world.

The little bit I did sense about him from that event was that, while he was a gentle presence, he didn't suffer fools. And as Gerry points out above, McClure was a major poet. You can read some of his poems HERE. To do so would be a fitting tribute. Aloud would be best.

RIP, Mr. McClure. Say hi to Jack for us. I'll raise a glass to you later today.


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Remembering Kerouac friend, Ed White



Ed White, close friend of Jack Kerouac, died on this date -- April 29 -- in 2017. He appeared in several Kerouac works: as Tim Gray in On The Road; Ed Gray in Visions of Cody; Guy Green in Book of Dreams; and, Al Green in Book of Dreams (expanded edition).

It was White who originally suggested the practice of sketching in words to Kerouac. We discussed that when we wished White a Happy Birthday HERE in February.

RIP, Mr. White.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Happy Birthday to Carolyn Cassady


On this date -- April 28 -- in 1923, Carolyn Cassady was born. She appeared in several of Jack Kerouac's works: as Camille in On The Road; Evelyn Pomeray in Book of Dreams, Big Sur, Desolation Angels, and Visions of Cody; and, Cora in Beat Generation.

Cassady was married to Neal Cassady, famous as Kerouac's muse and a major subject of On The Road and the titular focus of Visions of Cody. We curated my copy of her book HERE.

I am afraid I have fallen into the trap of marginalizing Beat Generation women in my last paragraph, making it sound like Cassady's only claim to fame was being married to the Holy Goof. One need only Google her name for biographical details to see that she was a complex and talented person in her own right (e.g., writer, painter, theatrical designer, MA from U. of Denver), but was treated in a one-dimensional fashion in Kerouac's works (as was his approach to women in general). I'm not saying it was right for Kerouac to do that -- it just was.

So Happy Birthday in Beat heaven to Carolyn Elizabeth Robinson Cassady, who would have been 97 today!


Monday, April 27, 2020

Every book has a story



I often buy used books, and it's always interesting to contemplate their history. Who owned them? Why and how did the previous owner acquire the book? Did they purchase it or was it a gift? And so on.

Currently I am 75% of the way finished reading my used copy of John Clellon Holmes' Go. It's shown above (curated HERE). I don't remember when or how I acquired it (mea culpa).

Of interest to me is that inside the front cover is a person's name in red ink and what I assume are phone numbers (without area codes). Is Jennifer Shaw the previous owner or did the previous owner jot her name and phone numbers down in the book for some reason (no paper available)? Did Jennifer and the previous owner meet in a coffee shop and share phone numbers? Lots of possibilities.



Inside are some underlinings and comments (in the same red pen). For example, the annotator discovered what they thought was a definition of "BEAT GENERATION" on p. 161.



So here's the point: If you are the previous owner, contact us at The Daily Beat -- we'd like to interview you for an upcoming blog post. If you think you know who the previous owner was, please ask them to contact us. Our e-mail address is: thebeathandbook@gmail.com.

We'll unravel this mystery if we can.


Oh, and what's the Kerouac connection here? Well, Holmes (the book's author) and Kerouac were close friends for many years, and Holmes' novel, Go (1952), tells the story of the early Beats, including Kerouac (as Gene Pasternak).



Thursday, April 23, 2020

Brother Souls: John Clellon Holmes and Jack Kerouac



I just finished reading Brother Souls by Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. It's aptly subtitled, John Clellon Holmes, Jack Kerouac, and the Beat Generation (I note the proper use of the Oxford comma).

I knew Holmes and Kerouac were friends, but this immensely detailed biography shines a bright light on their close relationship. Along the way we are treated to an insider's look at the origins of the Beat Generation, with a focus on Holmes' life and writings as well as Kerouac's. Until I read this book I had under-estimated Holmes' influence on Kerouac and the Beats, as well as his literary accomplishments. He was quite a poet in addition to novelist and essayist (I am reading his novel, Go, currently. It's my third try but my interest was piqued this time.).

Brother Souls has been out a while (2010) so I'm not inclined to "review" it; suffice to say that it's required reading for any Kerouac or Beat fan. Friends of Holmes, the Charters had an inside track on Holmes' psyche plus they had posthumous access to his letters, journals, and manuscripts.

Lots of good stuff here. This book came recommended by my great friend, Richard Marsh, and as usual he didn't steer me wrong. Many times when one mentions the Beat Generation people think of three names: Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs. I would (now) add a fourth: John Clellon Holmes. This is not to take away from the contributions of others such as Corso and Carr, but Holmes was there, man, from early on, and he wrote Go (1952), the first Beat novel published (if you don't count Chandler Brossard's Who Walk in Darkness).

Not available at City Lights, but Amazon.com has it in stock as does AbeBooks.com.


Saturday, April 18, 2020

Happy Birthday to Beat poet, Bob Kaufman



Beat poet Bob Kaufman, was born on this date -- April 18 -- in 1925.  He appeared as Chuck Berman in Jack Kerouac's Desolation Angels.

We said the following about Kaufman when we remembered him back on January 12 and it's worth repeating:

You can read Kaufman's bio and some of his poetry by clicking here. Kaufman took a vow of silence the day President Kennedy was assassinated and didn't speak until the end of the Vietnam War. That's an impressive feat. 
Kaufman was part of the Beat poetry movement in San Francisco. He started the journal, Beatitude, with Allen Ginsberg and others. His most recent collection of poetry was published by City Lights in October 2019 (available here). 
Interestingly -- to me at least -- the couple of times that he is mentioned in Gerald Nicosia's Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac, Kaufman is partying with Jack at significant transition points: once right after Gary Snyder leaves for Japan, and once right after Jack leaves Ferlinghetti's cabin in Big Sur. 
I get the sense that Kaufman is generally underestimated as a poet -- you would do well to check out his work.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Kaufman.


Friday, April 10, 2020

Happy Belated Birthday to Al Hinkle



Al Hinkle was born on the day before yesterday's date -- April 9 -- in 1926. He was represented in Jack Kerouac's works as follows: Big Ed Dunkel in On The Road; Slim Buckle in Desolation Angels and Visions of Cody; Ed Buckle in Book of Dreams; and, Al Buckle in Lonesome Traveler.

Regular readers need no introduction to Hinkle. We remembered him on December 26 -- click HERE.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Hinkle.



Sunday, April 5, 2020

Remembering Alan Ginsberg

Alan Ginsberg (left) with Jack Kerouac

Poet and core Beat Generation member, Alan Ginsberg, died on this date -- April 5 -- in 1997. Ginsberg needs no introduction to understand the Kerouac connection. He appeared in too many Kerouac works, under aliases of course, to mention here, but you can determine what those were by visiting the excellent Character Key to Jack Kerouac's Duluoz Legend. I will point out that in the two Kerouac novels -- On The Road and The Dharma Bums -- that inspired my book, The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions, Ginsberg appeared as Carlo Marx and Alvah Goldbrook, respectively.

Allen would be honored if you read -- or listen to him read -- some of his poetry today. You can find it in several places on-line. Here are a couple of links to get you started:

Poetry Foundation

Ginsberg reading "Howl"

It is an instructive exercise to read along while listening to Ginsberg read "Howl."

Despite his living until 1997, when I was 41, I never saw Ginsberg in person. I came into the Kerouac fold late in life, around 2002, 5 years after Allen passed.

RIP, Mr. Ginsberg. I'm sorry I never got to meet you.




Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Reminder of our comments policy



The President has reminded me -- by using the term "snarky" to describe legitimate questions coming from the press during  his daily stroke-fest -- that on occasion I need to remind readers of our comment policy.

It's over there on the right------->
(you may need to scroll down)


Here is what it says:

1. Anonymous comments will not be published.
2. Comments unrelated to the target post will not be published.
3. Snark and ad hominem comments will not be published.


In other words, you need to identify yourself by a username or it comes through as being from "Anonymous," and in such cases I will not publish the comment. Even if you identify yourself in the body of the comment you still may get deleted because I batch delete comments from "Anonymous" and don't always catch those.

Comments about cheap Viagra and how to make your own Fleshlight will likewise get deleted.

Rude comments and personal attacks on me or others will likewise get deleted.

My spam filters are not foolproof and it may be that you send a comment and I never see it because I am not about to police the hundreds of automatically filtered spam comments.

Sorry if you sent a legit comment and didn't see it posted. That's just the way it goes. Chalk it up to another of life's little losses.

Remember what Ellis said about loss in No Country For Old Men:
Well, all time you spend trying to get back what's been took from you, more is going out the door. After a while you just have to try to get a tourniquet on it.



Monday, March 30, 2020

A "three-fer" date in the Kerouac world

John Clellon Holmes, Robert Creeley, Carl Solomon (L-R)

Today is a "three-fer" date in the Kerouac world.

Jack Kerouac's "soul brother" John Clellon Holmes died on this date in 1988. He appeared in a number of Kerouac's works: as Ian MacArthur in On The Road; Mac Jones and Balliol MacJones in The Subterraneans; Wilson and John Watson in Visions of Cody; James Watson in Book of Dreams; Clellon Holmes in Maggie Cassidy; and, Eugene Pasternak in Doctor Sax.

Poet Robert Creeley died on this date in 2005. He appeared as Rainey in two Kerouac books, Desolation Angels and Book of Dreams (expanded edition)

"Howl" muse Carl Solomon was born on this date in 1930. He appeared in two of Jack Kerouac's works: as Carl Rappaport in Visions of Cody and as Carl Solobone in Book of Sketches.

Want more info? We wished Holmes and Creeley happy birthday HERE and HERE, and remembered Solomon HERE.

March 30! Who knew?


Friday, March 27, 2020

Happy Belated Birthday to Gregory Corso



Yesterday was Beat poet Gregory Corso's birthday (born March 26, 1930). Corso appeared in a number of Jack Kerouac's works: Yuri Gligoric in The Subterraneans; Raphael Urso in Book of Dreams and Desolation Angels (also as Gregory in the latter); and, Manuel in Beat Generation.

We remembered Gregory back on January 17 (click HERE).

You can read a bio and some of his poetry HERE.

Happy Belated Birthday in Beat heaven, Mr. Corso.




Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Happy 101st Birthday to Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Lawrence Ferlinghetti reading in front of City Lights

Today is Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 101st birthday! He appeared in Jack Kerouac's Big Sur as Lorenzo Monsanto. Click HERE for a brief bio. Click HERE for his official Facebook page.

Well-known for being the co-founder of San Francisco's City Lights Booksellers & Publishers and publishing Beat literature, Ferlinghetti is an accomplished writer and a well-regarded poet. To wit, here is an apropos example:


"PITY THE NATION"
(After Khalil Gibran)

Pity the nation whose people are sheep
   And whose shepherds mislead them
 Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
            Whose sages are silenced
  And whose bigots haunt the airwaves
 Pity the nation that raises not its voice
          Except  to praise conquerers
       And acclaim the bully as hero
          And aims to rule the world
              By force and by torture
          Pity the nation that knows
        No other language but its own
      And no other culture but its own
 Pity the nation whose breath is money
 And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
      Pity the nation oh pity the people
        who allow their rights to  erode
   and their freedoms to be washed away
               My country, tears of thee
                   Sweet land of liberty!



Click HERE for the source and for more poems. Unfortunately, City Lights is closed because of the Trump virus. They are thus practicing "spacious solidarity," which sounds less alienating than "social distancing."

Happy Birthday, Mr. Ferlinghetti.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Previously unpublished 2012 interview with Gerald Nicosia

Gerald Nicosia with Jan Kerouac at Naropa in 1982

In my previous post I mentioned my friend, Kerouac biographer Gerald Nicosia. Recently, a previously unpublished 2012 interview with him appeared in Mill Valley Literary Review. You can read that interview by clicking HERE.


Remembering Joanne Kyger

Joanne Kyger
Today we remember poet Joanne Kyger, who died on this date -- March 22 -- in 2017. I don't think she appeared in any of Jack Kerouac's works, but she was married for 5 years or so to Gary Snyder (Japhy in The Dharma Bums).

We wished her a happy birthday on November 19. You can read that post by clicking HERE (it includes a link to some of her poems).

On the synchronicity front, yesterday I received a postcard (actually it came two days ago, but we are letting our mail "percolate" for 24 hours in the mailbox outside before we bring it into the house for fear of exposure to the coronavirus currently plaguing the world) from my friend, Kerouac biographer Gerry Nicosia, and it just so happened to be the Allen Ginsberg picture of Joanne Kyger and Gary Snyder on a dock in the Sea of Japan. Gerry mentioned in his card that he knew Joanne quite well and that she was "lively, witty, + lots of fun!"

The aforementioned postcard on my laptop (BTW, that Google Chrome pic is Salzburg, Austria)

RIP, Ms. Kyger.


Thursday, March 12, 2020

Happy 98th Birthday to Jack Kerouac!



Our hero, Jack Kerouac, was born this date -- March 12 -- in 1922. He would have been 98 years old today. Regular readers of The Daily Beat need no introduction to Kerouac, but if you just happened upon this blog for the first time and need some background information, you could do worse than starting at this page from the The Jack and Stella Kerouac Center for Public Humanities at UMass Lowell.

In honor of Jack's birthday, I took to YouTube just now and recited the last paragraph of On The Road from memory. It didn't come out perfect, but it's a heartfelt effort. Happy Birthday, Jack!





Happy Birthday to John Clellon Holmes



Writer John Clellon Holmes, one of Jack Kerouac's closest friends, was born on this date -- March 12 -- in 1926. He appeared in a number of Kerouac's works: as Ian MacArthur in On The Road; Mac Jones and Balliol MacJones in The Subterraneans; Wilson and John Watson in Visions of Cody; James Watson in Book of Dreams; Clellon Holmes in Maggie Cassidy; and, Eugene Pasternak in Doctor Sax.

For an in-depth look at Holmes and his relationship with Kerouac, get yourself a copy of Ann and Samuel Charters' Brother Souls: John Clellon Holmes, Jack Kerouac, and the Beat Generation (note the proper use of the Oxford comma in that title -- thank you, Ann). I must admit that I am recommending this book without having read it on the basis of a glowing recommendation from my great friend, Richard Marsh, whose judgment on books I trust very much. It's on my "to read" list, but I need to acquire a copy first (obviously).

I realize today is also Jack's birthday, but we will take that up in a separate post.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Holmes.


Saturday, March 7, 2020

Remembering Philip Lamantia



Poet Philip Lamantia died on this date -- March 7 -- in 2005. He appeared in two of Jack Kerouac's works: as Francis DaPavia in The Dharma Bums and as David D'Angeli in Desolation Angels. Lamantia read at the famous event at the Six Gallery in 1955 that many point to as kicking off the San Francisco poetry renaissance. (He didn't read his own work, but rather that of his dead friend, John Hoffman.)

We celebrated Lamantia's birthday on October 23 here; there's a link there to some of his poetry. Reading some of it today would be a Beat thing to do.

RIP, Mr. Lamantia.


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Remembering William Carlos Willams



Poet William Carlos Williams died on this date -- March 4 -- in 1963. Williams was Doctor Musial in Kerouac's The Dharma Bums. We wrote about Williams on his birthday so you can click here for some details on this influential person in the Kerouac world, including his advice to Jack and Allen Ginsberg et al. along with one of his poems.

RIP, Dr. Williams.


P.S. Monday March 2 we neglected to remember Kerouac's close friend, Sebastian Sampas, who died on that date in 1944 from a wound suffered at the Battle of Anzio.Read more about him here. RIP, Sammy.


Monday, March 2, 2020

Gerald Nicosia's Kerouac: The Last Quarter Century reviewed in the Chicago Tribune

Author Gerald Nicosia
FYI, the Chicago Tribune just reviewed Gerald Nicosia's newest book, Kerouac: The Last Quarter Century. Click here to read the review. It appeared in the Sunday print edition.

To secure a copy you can either e-mail the author at gnicosia@earthlink.net, or else send a check or money order for $30 ($25 for book and $5 for postage and mailer) to Gerald Nicosia, PO Box 130, Corte Madera, CA 94976-0130. You can tell him how you would like the book inscribed, if you wish.


Sunday, March 1, 2020

Happy Birthday to Lucien Carr

(L-R) William S. Burroughs, Lucien Carr, and Allen Ginsberg

Proto-Beat Lucien Carr was born on this date -- March 1 -- in 1925. He appeared in a number of Jack Kerouac's works: as Damion in On The Road; Sam Vedder in The Subterraneans and Book of Dreams (expanded edition); Julien in Big Sur; Julien Love in Book of DreamsDesolation Angels, and Visions of Cody; Claude De Maubris in Vanity of Duluoz; Claude in Orpheus Emerged; Kenneth Wood in The Town and the City; Kenneth in The Haunted Life and Other Writings; and, Phillip Tourian in And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks.

We remembered Carr a little over a month ago on February 28 (click here), so we won't repeat biographical details except to say that Carr was an influential member of the early Beat Generation whose name is too often omitted when speaking of same. Carr has a rather extensive entry on Wikipedia in case you want to read more about him. Wikipedia gets a bad rap all the time, but I often find it to be a useful tool in getting the sense of a person, concept, or event. 

Happy Birthday, Mr. Carr.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

No Kerouac-related birth or death dates on Leap Day?



As regular readers know, we routinely celebrate birthdays and remember death dates of Kerouac's close family members, friends, and real-life characters from his books. It struck me today -- February 29  -- that I know of no Leap Day birthdays or death dates for any of those people. That doesn't mean there aren't any -- I couldn't find any birth dates or death dates for a number of people on my master list.

If you know of any Kerouac family members, friends, or real-life book characters who were born or died on February 29, leave us a comment about it.

Thanks.

Oh, and Happy Leap Day!


Thursday, February 27, 2020

Remembering Beat poet Elise Cowen



Beat poet Elise Cowen died this date -- February 27 -- in 1962. She appeared as Barbara Lipp in Jack Kerouac's Desolation Angels and was a close companion to Allen Ginsberg (indeed, it is reported that they were lovers for a brief time). The bulk of her work, tragically, was destroyed after her death by suicide, but some of it survives, including the two poems here (after the bio -- which starts with an enlightening quote from Gregory Corso about the lack of women representation in the Beat movement).

Click here to read an interesting article about Cowen and her connection to poetry giant Emily Dickinson.

RIP, Ms. Cowen.


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Remembering Carl Solomon



Carl Solomon died on this date -- February 26 -- in 1993. He appeared in two of Jack Kerouac's works: as Carl Rappaport in Visions of Cody and as Carl Solobone in Book of Sketches.

Allen Ginsberg met Solomon in a psychiatric hospital and subsequently dedicated his famous poem, "Howl," to Solomon. Solomon worked as an editor for Ace Books, owned by his uncle A. A. Wyn. There are several letters from Kerouac to Solomon discussing Ace possibly publishing On The Road. The latter never happened, but Ace did publish William S. Burroughs' Junkie; Solomon wrote the Publisher's Note in one version and the Introduction in another.

Click here to read a 1973 interview with Solomon by John Tytell.

RIP, Mr. Solomon.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Jack Kerouac in AAA's Northern New England Journey



The above appeared on p. 30 in this month's Northern New England Journey published by AAA (sorry about the blurriness -- it's my technological inadequacy at play). I've sat in that car at The Beat Museum (click here for pictures). Very cool experience.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Remembering Alice Schenker and a great little story about Jack Kerouac

Alice Schenker in the New York years

I think I had run across Alice Schenker's name somewhere along the way, but I didn't know she once slept with Jack Kerouac.

Read this article for the details: Remembering Alice Schenker. The piece also mentions Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, and even Rexroth, who it said was christened "Father of the Beats" by Time magazine. That one is news to me.

Here's to Alice, who I wouldn't have known about if a high school friend, Adrienne Kantz, hadn't message me a link to this Berkeleyside piece. Thanks, Adrienne.


Thursday, February 20, 2020

Remembering Kerouac friend, artist Robert Lavigne UPDATED 2-21-20


On this date -- February 20 -- in 2014, artist and Kerouac friend Robert LaVigne died. LaVigne (I've seen it with the V capitalized and not capitalized) was Guy Levesque in Jack Kerouac's Desolation Angels. That is it according to the Character Key to Kerouac's Duluoz Legend, yet Allen Ginsberg himself identifies LaVigne as Robert Browning in Big Sur (see Ginsberg link below). The Duluoz Key says Browning was William Morris. I asked Key curator Dave Moore about this discrepancy and will update this post with his response.

UPDATE: Dave Moore sent me the below scan from one of Kerouac's notebooks (titled "Duluoz Legend Personae Names"), where we can see in Jack's own handwriting that Robert Browning in Big Sur was William Morris, a painter friend of Philip Whalen. And so, we will defer to Jack and assume that Alan was wrong.



In a 1955 letter to Allen Ginsberg, Kerouac refers to Lavigne as a "canuck painter." There are no letters to or from LaVigne included in either of Ann Charters' compilations. Ginsberg referred to LaVigne as a "Painter friend of Poets." Natalie Jackson, who we remembered here, was a model of LaVigne's. A well-known story about LaVigne is that it was his portrait of Peter Orlovsky -- his model and lover -- that caused Allen Ginsberg to request an introduction to Orlovsky, beginning a life-long relationship between the two.

LaVigne has papers archived at Columbia University. See http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/archival/collections/ldpd_4079553/ (this resource includes a concise biographical sketch).

LaVigne's drawing of Jack adorns the cover of one version of The Scripture of the Golden Eternity (see below).



RIP, Mr. LaVigne.


Gerald Nicosia interviews re: Kerouac: The Last Quarter Century

Front and back covers of Kerouac: The Last Quarter Century by Gerald Nicosia

We reviewed Gerald Nicosia's Kerouac: The Last Quarter Century on The Daily Beat on May 13, 2019 (click here). FYI, below are links to two interviews based around that book:

1. On Punkglobe.com with Zack Kopp

2 On Chicago's WGN radio "After Hours with Rick Kogan" (starts 1 hr. 2.5 minutes in)


To secure a copy you can either e-mail the author at gnicosia@earthlink.net, or else send a check or money order for $30 ($25 for book and $5 for postage and mailer) to Gerald Nicosia, PO Box 130, Corte Madera, CA 94976-0130. You can tell him how you would like the book inscribed, if you wish.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Happy Birthday to Jan Kerouac



Had Jack Kerouac's daughter, Jan, not died at a young age, she would have turned 68 today. Unlike the rest of his family and many of his friends, she never appeared in any of Kerouac's books.

An accomplished author in her own right, Jan published Baby Driver and Trainsong during her lifetime and left behind the as-yet-unpublished novel, Parrot Fever (an extract of the latter in chapbook format is available from Gerry Nicosia by clicking here).

Jan is worth getting to know through her novels, but you can also read about her in Nicosia's Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory, available here.

I didn't start out to write a commercial here, so I'll finish with some of Jan's own words to inspire you to read some of her writing. This is about one of the two times in total she ever saw her father in person (and they talked on the phone once).

Jack's reaction to me was shrugs and uncertain smiles. He said "Hi" but didn't make much of a fuss. When the doorway back-slapping and bantering was done with, he went back to rocking again, calling to his brethren across the room, "Hey, why doesn't somebody turn this thing down, I can't hear myself think!" This seemed odd, for he was closer to the TV than anyone else in the room. But someone did turn it down for him, and he continued to guzzle his giant baby bottle [a fifth of whiskey], rocking himself as if in a cradle. 
The relatives all left, and Jack nodded a casual so-long to them over his shoulder. I watched him curiously, once again with the feeling that I had to be careful of what I said, like I'd felt the first time I met him on Avenue B when I was nine. He was desperately trying to keep his shield in place, at a loss for what to say. (Baby Driver, 1981, St. Martin's Press, p. 184)

You'll learn where this took place and what Jack was wearing when you read Baby Driver.

I'll conclude by saying that Jan was surprisingly forgiving of her father, understanding that he belonged to the world.

Happy Birthday, Jan.









Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Google validates The Daily Beat re: Stella Sampas Kerouac

When one Googles a famous person, there is often a box on the right hand side of the search results with quick info. Try it. You will see images, then a quick blurb, and then demographics like birth date, death date, spouse, siblings, etc.

I noted when I was posting about Stella Sampas Kerouac the other day that my blog entry about Stella is what Google is using for her blurb in that quick info box. Try Googling "Stella Sampas" and you should see the below image:


I'm not sure my entry is the best Google could do for the quick info bio -- I was simply pointing out that it was Stella's birthday -- but there is a dearth of info about Stella on-line and apparently the Google machine settled on my post.

To which I say -- huzzah for The Daily Beat!


Monday, February 10, 2020

Remembering Stella Sampas, Jack Kerouac's third wife

Jack Kerouac and Stella Sampas Kerouac
Today -- February 10 -- we remember Stellas Sampas, who died on this date in 1990. Jack's third wife, she appeared in one Kerouac work, Vanity of Duluoz, as Stavroula Savakis.

Stella inherited Jack's estate when Jack's mom, Gabrielle, died in 1973, triggering the well-known Kerouac estate controversy over the forged will (so said a judge) and endless vitriole on-line about the whole matter. The Sampas family controls the estate to this day. For an insider's look at estate details, grab a copy of Kerouac: The Last Quarter Century by Gerald Nicosia (reviewed here).

Jack was a lifelong friend of Stella, who was the sister of  his closest childhood friend, Sebastian Sampas. Most would agree that theirs was mainly a marriage of convenience (she looked after Jack's invalid mother). Nevertheless, she played a major role in the Kerouac saga.

RIP, Mrs. Kerouac.


Saturday, February 8, 2020

Happy Birthday to Neal Cassady



On this date -- February 8 --  Neal Cassady was born (in 1926). Cassady served as a significant muse for Jack Kerouac and appeared as Dean Moriarty in On The Road; Cody Pomeray in Visions of CodyBook of DreamsBig SurDesolation Angels, and Book of Sketches; Leroy in The Subterraneans; and Neal Cassady in Lonesome TravelerDesolation Angels, and Satori in Paris.

So much has already been said about Cassady that is strains my brain to think of anything original to say. Thus, we'll let Kerouac's description of Dean's parking attendant prowess from On The Road suffice:
The most fantastic parking-lot attendant in the world, he can back a car forty miles an hour into a tight squeeze and stop at the wall, jump out, race among fenders, leap into another car, circle it fifty miles an hour in a narrow space, back swiftly into tight spot, hump, snap the car with the emergency so that you see it bounce as he flies out; then clear to the ticket shack, sprinting like a track star, hand a ticket, leap into a newly arrived car before the owner's half out, leap literally under him as he steps out, start the car with the door flapping, and roar off to the next available spot, arc, pop in, brake, out, run; working like that without pause eight hours a night, evening rush hours and after-theater rush hours, in greasy wino pants with a frayed fur-lined jacket and beat shoes that flap. (Penguin Books, 1976, p. 9)

To the ever kinetic Neal Cassady -- Happy Birthday in Beat heaven.


P.S. Happy Birthday, also, to my friend Keith Fisher, who turned me on to Kerouac in the first place and served as my Dean Moriarty on quite a number of adventures in life.


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Happy Birthday to William S. Burroughs



Core Beat Generation member, writer, and cultural icon William S. Burroughs was born this date -- February 5 -- in 1914. He appeared in several of Jack Kerouac's works: as Old Bull Lee in On The Road; Frank Carmody in The Subterraneans; Bull Hubbard in Book of Dreams, Desolation Angels, Doctor Sax, and Visions of Cody; Bull in Tristessa; Bill/William Seward Burroughs in Lonesome Traveler; Wilson Holmes Hubbard in Vanity of Duluoz; Bill Dennison in The Haunted Life and Other Writings; and, Will Dennison in The Town and the City and And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks.

Regular readers of The Daily Beat need no biographical details on Burroughs, and others can simply Google his name to reveal a trove of information on this seminal Beat figure, author of classics such as Naked Lunch and Junky.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Burroughs.


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

A significant calendar date in Kerouac history (a 6-for-1)

L-to-R top row: Neal Cassady, Albert Saijo, Joan Vollmer Adams; L-to-R bottom row: Gabrielle Kerouac, Mary Frank, Allen Temko

February 4 is a date on which no less than 6 people that Jack Kerouac immortalized in his works were born or died. I am not aware of another similarly synchronous and significant date (purposeful alliteration there).

I won't rank these in any particular order of importance, and I'm not going into much detail about any of them for sake of time. When relevant, I included links to other posts I've written about the person.

Today is the date in 1968 that Kerouac muse and friend Neal Cassady died. Kerouac immortalized Cassady in On The Road as the central character, Dean Moriarty, but also dedicated an entire book to the Holy Goof, Visions of Cody, in which he appeared as Cody Pomeray. Cassady also appeared as: Cody Pomeray in Book of Dreams, Big Sur, Desolation Angels, and Book of Sketches; Leroy in The Subterraneans; and Neal Cassady in Lonesome Traveler, Desolation Angels, and Satori in Paris.

Kerouac friend and writer Albert Saijo was born this date in 1926. Albert appeared as George Baso in Big Sur and co-authored Trip Trap: Haiku on the Road with Kerouac and Lew Welch based on a road trip across America in Welch's jeep.

Core early Beat Generation figure, Joan Vollmer Adams, was born this date in 1923. She appeared as Jane Lee in On The Road; Jane in The Subterraneans; June Evans in Book of Dreams, Desolation Angels, and Vanity of Duluoz; June Hubbard in Visions of Cody; Joan in The Haunted Life and Other Writings; Mary Dennison in The Town and the City; and "my old lady" in And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks.

Jack Kerouac's mother, Gabrielle, was born this date in 1895. She appeared as Angie in Vanity of Duluoz and Desolation Angels; Ma in Book of Dreams; Angy in Maggie Cassidy; Angy Duluoz in Doctor Sax; Ange Duluoz in Visions of Gerard; Marguerite Martin in The Town and the City; and, Sal's Aunt in On The Road.

Artist and wife of photographer Robert Frank, Mary, was born this date in 1933. She appeared as Mary Frank in Lonesome Traveler.

Architectural critic, writer, Pulitzer Prize winner, and Kerouac friend Allen Temko was born this date in 1924.  He appeared as: Roland Major in On The Road; Irving Minko in Book of Dreams; Irwin Minko in Desolation Angels; Allen Minko in Visions of Cody; and, Alan Minko in Book of Dreams (expanded edition).

RIP, Mr. Cassady and Happy Birthday to Mr. Saijo, Ms. Adams, Ms. Kerouac, Ms. Frank, and Mr. Temko.