Thursday, March 31, 2022

Jack Kerouac's On The Road scroll on display in his hometown of Lowell, MA


The On The Road scroll

Jack Kerouac's original On The Road scroll is currently on display through April 15 at the National Park Service's Boott Cotton Mills Museum in Jack's hometown of Lowell, MA. Click HERE and scroll down for details. The museum is open daily from 12 noon to 5 P.M. and admission fees are listed at the NPS link above.

Be there or be square . . . .

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

A "3-for-1" date in the Kerouac world!


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

Today -- March 30 -- is a "3-for-1" date in the Kerouac world.

Jack Kerouac's "soul brother, " writer 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 1928. 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 last wished Holmes and Creeley happy birthday HER E and HERE, and remembered Solomon HERE.

March 30! Who knew?

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Important Kerouac insights

There are a number of important insights into Jack Kerouac in this recently published interview with Kerouac biographer/Memory Babe author, Gerald Nicosia.

Click HERE.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

My signed copy of the new & revised Memory Babe arrived today!

My signed copy of the new & revised Memory Babe

My very own signed copy of the new & revised edition of Gerald Nicosia's Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac arrived in the mail today. I can' wait to dig into all 841 pages. I want to review it here on The Daily Beat, but of course I need to read it first.

The official publication date is September 6 (when it will be in stores and on Amazon). The big reviews like Publishers Weekly won’t review a book unless the publication date is at least four months out. But don't despair -- you can get an advance copy now by contacting the author at

Congratulations on a monumental achievement, Gerry!

Happy heavenly birthday to poet Gregory Corso


Today is 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 Birthday in Beat heaven, Mr. Corso.

Friday, March 25, 2022

On this date in Beat history


65 years ago today -- on March 25, 1957 -- this happened:

What does that have to do with Kerouac, you ask? Well, Ginsberg was a central Beat character and friend of Jack's. That's a sufficient connection for our purposes.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Happy heavenly birthday to Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Lawrence Ferlinghetti reading in front of City Lights

Today -- March 24 -- would have been Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 103rd birthday (he died a little over a year ago on Feb. 22, 2021)! He appeared in Jack Kerouac's Big Sur as Lorenzo Monsanto. Click HERE for a brief bio. Click HERE for his official Facebook page. Click HERE for a remembrance at The Allen Ginsberg Project. 

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

(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!

More of his poetry can be found HERE.

Happy birthday in Beat heaven, Mr. Ferlinghetti.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Remembering poet 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 Ryder in The Dharma Bums).

We missed her birthday last year and so last wished her a happy birthday on November 19, 2020. You can read that post by clicking HERE (it includes some information about Kyger and a link to a bio/some of her poems). 

Click HERE for a really cool remembrance.

RIP, Ms. Kyger.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Remembering Charlie James


My poet friend Charlie James died one year ago today. He had a good run, making it to 92. We used to write letters back and forth to communicate as he was a many hour drive away. The last time I saw him was in 2019 when we stopped in Poughkeepsie with the RV on our way to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

He'd appreciate your reading some of his poetry in his honor today. You can read a sample on Amazon using the Look inside feature (click HERE). He wouldn't mind if you bought a copy, either. It did win the 18th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Award in the poetry category in 2011.

RIP, my friend. I miss you.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Jack Kerouac's 100th Birthday!


Cat lover and birthday boy, Jack Kerouac

Our literary hero, Jack Kerouac, would have turned 100 years old today. He was born March 12, 1922 in the family home at 9 Lupine Road, Lowell, Massachusetts.

Jack Kerouac's birthplace: 9 Lupine Road in Lowell, MA
(c) 2011 Rick Dale

Given that this blog is singularly Kerouac-focused, it's difficult to say much about Jack that we haven't said over the past 14 years of this blog's existence. Let's therefore let Jack speak for himself about the day he was born:

March 12, 1922, at five o'clock in the afternoon, in Lowell, Mass. was the day of the first thaw. I was born on the second floor of a wooden house on Lupine Road, which to this day sits on top of a hill overlooking Lakeview Avenue and the broad Merrimack River. From this house my mother, God bless her dear heart, lay listening to the distant roar of the Pawtucket Falls a mile away; she has told me all this. Besides of which it was a strange afternoon, red as fire; "noisy with a lyrical thaw," as I said in my fictions of the past, and that is to say the snow was melting so fast you could hear it in a million small streams under the vast snowy banksides crumbling just a little in their middles from the weight of the moisture. Pines dripped like the seasonal maple, made gum and gummy firsmells in the air. Great shoulders of snow dropped precipitous from their bleak wood. These descriptions are necessary at this point, for the following reason. (December 28, 1950 letter to Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters 1940-1956, 1995, Penguin Books, pp. 248-249)

Jack goes on about his birth -- I encourage you to look up this letter and read it in its entirety.

For those who have read this far, here is a special offer in honor of our hero. If you are the first one to comment on this post with the number 100 in your comment, I will send you a signed copy of The Beat Handbook free of charge. The winner will need to provide me with a snail mail address. 

Happy 100th birthday in heaven, Jack. 

Happy heavenly birthday to writer and Kerouac bestie 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 and Samuel). I read this book on the basis of a glowing recommendation from my great friend, Richard Marsh, whose judgment on books I trust very much. It's now one of my favorite Kerouacian biographies, right up there with Gerald Nicosia's Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac.

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

Happy heavenly birthday, Mr. Holmes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

NYC event on Jack Kerouac's birthday


Reminds me of the event my great friend Richard Marsh and I attended in June 2016 (click HERE). I'd go but I'm just not up for traveling right now.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

On-line Kerouac event this Sunday March 13

An on-line event featuring a panel discussing whether Kerouac still matters is taking place this Sunday March 13 at 3 PM: It's being put on by the Politics and Prose Bookstore in D.C.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Remembering poet 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.)

In a May 10, 1952 letter to Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac described visiting Lamantia:
In Frisco, the last week, I visited Lamantia with Neal, he is living in the former stone small castle overlooking Berkeley Calif. he was reading "The Book of the Dead," was reclined in a sumptuous couch with furnishings and turned us on, three friends from Calif. U. dropped in, a psychology major who is apparently his Burroughs, a tall handsome owner of the house (who is somewhat the Jack K.) lounging on floor and sleeping eventually [. . . .]  and a young eager intelligent kid who was like you; this was his circle, and of course he was being Lucien, they talked about psychology in terms of "I saw that damned black background to the pink again in yesterday's peotl," "Oh well (Burroughs), it won't hurt you for awhile" (both snickering). [. . . .] Lamantia showed me his poems about the Indian tribes on the San Luis Potosi plateau, I forget tribe name, they deal with his visions on Peotl and they, the lines are,
                                                            this, for effect, but more
complicated. (Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1940-1956, 1995, Penguin Books, p. 349)

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.

Friday, March 4, 2022

Remembering William Carlos Williams


Poet William Carlos Williams died on this date -- March 4 -- in 1963. Williams was Doctor Musial in Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums. We wrote about Williams on his birthday in 2021, 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.

In a September 11, 1955 letter to editor Malcolm Cowley, Jack explains his developing writing style and describes it as:
RHYTHMIC--It's prose answering the requirements mentioned by W. C. Williams, for natural-speech rhythms and words-- (Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1940-1956, 1995, Penguin Books, p. 515)
Rest In Poetry, Dr. Williams.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Cool Kerouac project under way in Lowell


Rick Dale at Jack Kerouac' grave

Jay Gaffney, a photographer from Jack Kerouac's hometown of Lowell, MA, is documenting what Jack's grave looks like in a photograph per day for a year. You can see his photographs to date HERE ( -- note that this is the street address of Jack's grave in Edson Cemetery).

Jay is holding an exhibit of his work at the renowned Four Sisters Owl Diner in Lowell on March 12, Jack's birthday, from 7 - 9 PM. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Remembering Sebastian Sampas


On this date -- March 2 -- in 1944, Sebastian "Sammy" Sampas died at age 21. Sampas was one of Jack Kerouac's closest and dearest friends, and it would be hard to overstate the significant influence one had on the other (especially in ways literary and intellectual). Jack's third wife, Stella, was Sebastian's sister. Sampas appeared in the following Kerouac works (Source: Character Key to Kerouac's Duluoz Legend):

Kerouac Work                                               Character Name

Doctor Sax                                                    Sebastian
Visions of Cody                                             Sebastian
Book of Dreams                                            Silvanus Santos
Vanity of Duluoz                                            Sabbas (Sabby) Savakis
Visions of Gerard                                          Savas Savakis
Atop an Underwood                                      Sam
The Town and the City                                  Alexander Panos
The Haunted Life and Other Writings           Garabed Tourian

There are some wonderful letters back and forth between Sebastian and Jack in Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters 1940-1956 (1995, Penguin). In a November 1942 letter Jack calls Sampas his "mad poet brother (p. 31).

Here is how a letter from March 1943 starts (p. 43):
You magnificent bastard! I was just thinking about you, and all of a sudden, I feel
very Sebastianish,
very Bohemian!
very Baroque!
very GAY!                                                                                                         (TURN!)
I was thinking, in a flash of glory, about all the things we've done!!!--and all the others we're going to do!
For  1. Vodka
        2. Love
        3. Glory. 
Alas, there was no "after the war" for Sampas -- he was killed by wounds received in the Battle of Anzio during WWII while serving as an army medic. His death from battle wounds is especially poignant today as the Russian military has invaded Ukraine and war deaths are mounting.

It would take an entire book to describe adequately the deep and loving friendship Sampas and Kerouac shared, so I won't attempt it here. Suffice to say that you can get a good sense of it from Kerouac biographies, letters between the two, and, of course, Jack's own words about Sampas in the above listed works.

RIP, Mr. Sampas. 

Happy belated heavenly birthday to Lucien Carr


(L-R) William S. Burroughs, Lucien Carr, and Allen Ginsberg
(for more photos see

Proto-Beat Lucien Carr was born on yesterday's date -- March 1 -- in 1925. We got distracted with war news and missed posting yesterday. Carr 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 January 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 (see Catherine De Leon's eye-opening article about Carr HERE). 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. 

Here is an excerpt from a February 24, 1956 letter from Jack Kerouac to Lucien Carr:
Are you reading your Diamond Sutra daily like a good boy?--I got it divided into days--that is the best thing you'll ever read, it is the only thing ever written that has any value. The Bible is for shits. The Diamond Sutra is for ding-dong Buddha gongs. The words and the paper of this letter are emptiness, the words and the paper of this letter aint [sic]different from emptiness, neither is emptiness different from the words and the paper of this letter, indeed, emptiness is the words & the paper of this letter. (Jack Kerouac Selected Letters 1940-1956, 1995, Penguin Books, p. 564)
My copy of A Buddhist Bible

I've been in a Buddhist frame of mind of late, and that passage rang out to me. If you're a Kerouac fan, you must have a copy of this book. It is the one of the only books he had to read during his time on Desolation Peak (we posted about this HERE). The Diamond Sutra starts on page 87 of my edition above. Happy reading...

. . . and Happy Heavenly Birthday, Mr. Carr.