Celebrating Allen Ginsberg’s birthday with a few videos

Allen Ginsberg

In honor of Allen Ginsberg's birthday (June 3, 1926), we've gathered a few videos together. We've got some poetry for you, a chant, and an interview or two. What are your favorite Ginsberg recordings? Please leave a comment below! Allen Ginsberg leads a chant in Chicago, 1968 ahead of the Democratic National Convention Hey, you smokers! Listen to what Allen … [Read more...]

Review – Alleycats and Beatsters: The Hip, the Gone, and the Way Gone

How Hip Was My Alley by Kenton Crowther

Alleycats and Beatsters, a collection of essays by British writer Kenton Crowther, explores what it means to be Beat, the nature of hipness, and the poets, writers and hipsters who orbited the Beats, either closely or from a distance. This isn't a series of formal essays, but rather Crowther's considered thoughts and opinions based on his wide-ranging readings of the Beats … [Read more...]

Addendum to “Lost Letter Found”

Kerouac - The Sea is My Brother

Here is an addendum to a previous article written for Empty Mirror. Herewith I will describe the contents of the "lost" letter in both the U.K. and U.S. trade editions of The Sea is My Brother so that you may fill in a hole in the narrative of the book. As I read through the Viking (U.K.) edition of The Sea is My Brother, I noted that the editor, Dawn Ward explained that … [Read more...]

How Kerouac’s haiku changed my life

Kerouac Book of Haikus - collage by EmptyMirrorBooks.com

When I was twenty-two, I was lucky enough to be the only South African on an American college campus, studying Creative Writing and trying to figure out what to do with my life (along with every other college student, it seems). One chilly Fall day, I signed up for a course that unwittingly changed my life: an in-depth seminar on Jack Kerouac. I had read On the Road, of … [Read more...]

A “lost” Jack Kerouac letter found . . . and “lost” again.

Kerouac - The Sea is My Brother

In the U.K. edition of Jack Kerouac's 1945 novel, The Sea Is My Brother (Penguin 2011), there is an addendum of material meant to represent Jack Kerouac's formative writing experience during the early to mid-1940s. The thrust of this formative experience, according to this added text, hinged on Kerouac's sporadic friendship with Sebastian Sampas. Never mind the willful … [Read more...]

The Great Consciousness of Life

grass

Reaching in, pulling out. The great divide is conquered; and there lies an ever-evolving mission to extract meaning from chaos. This, then, is where it resides, the theater of the soul and the heart. In rewriting my biography of Jack Kerouac, I found that the only way to revisit that book once again was to take all of Jack Kerouac's epic letters to Neal Cassady, all of … [Read more...]

4 terrific Gregory Corso videos

from the video "Gregory Corso Walks & Talks in Rome, " Dario Bellini / YouTube

In honor of Gregory Corso's birthday (he was born March 26, 1930), we've collected some videos of him. Check 'em out. 1. & 2. Gregory Corso Walks and Talks in Roma, 1989 "Two weeks with Gregory during one of his long stays in Roma, with Michael Sullivan, Francis Kuipers, Adriano Gangi, Mimmo Cioffarelli, Dario Bellini and friends. *Transcription of all talks from two hours … [Read more...]

In honor of Jack’s birthday: 4 Kerouac Videos

jk-nyc

In honor of Jack Kerouac's birthday (March 12), here are some videos to enjoy. 1. Kerouac & friends in New York "Silent footage of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, and others in New York, Summer 1959. The location is in and around the Harmony Bar & Restaurant at E 9th St. and 3rd Ave. Others seen are Mary Frank (wife of film-maker Robert Frank) and children … [Read more...]

Review – Anywhere Road: Retracing Jack Kerouac, by Joerg Haeske

Anywhere Road: Retracing Jack Kerouac by Joerg Haeske

"What's your road, man?—holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It's an anywhere road for anybody anyhow." - Jack Kerouac, On the Road For the last several years, on his website www.RetracingJackKerouac.com, Joerg Haeske has documented his travels to places which figured in Jack Kerouac's life and work. Now Joerg has gathered together some of his … [Read more...]

Review – Free Beer: Kicks & Truth with Jack Kerouac by Cliff Anderson

free-beer-anderson-kerouac

Free Beer: Kicks & Truth with Jack Kerouac, and other strong drinks is a collection of twelve stories by Cliff Anderson. Also included is Kerouac scholar Rod Anstee's 1990 interview with Anderson, titled "Dare to be Kind." In the tale that gives this collection its title, "Free Beer," Anderson recounts his friendship with Jack Kerouac, which began in St. Petersburg, Florida … [Read more...]

Kerouac & An American Marriage

kerouac Gide

(an excerpt from a work-in-progress) In January 1945, Jack Kerouac set out to write his Great American Novel. His newly-drafted notes embraced the activities of the last four years and scaffolded the events up to, during and after his hastily-arranged marriage to Edie Parker on August 22, 1944. He titled this new tome An American Marriage. Kerouac's relationship with Edie … [Read more...]

Are There Any Good Unpublished Kerouac Books Left?

notebooks

With the glut of books that thankfully made our way in the past 20 years or so, we now have (probably) just as many posthumous titles as those Kerouac published in his lifetime. These have added exponentially to our understanding toward what Kerouac achieved in his own right as an American writer. However, there is still much more that can be published. Or, think of them as my … [Read more...]

Jack Kerouac – “Big Sur” Movie Trailer

Big Sur film - Kerouac

The film, Big Sur, based upon Jack Kerouac's novel of the same name, released nationwide on November 1, 2013. Directed by Michael Polish, who also wrote the screenplay, it stars Jean-Marc Barr as Jack Kerouac. Other cast are: Stana Katic as Lenore; Henry Thomas as Phillip Whalen; Josh Lucas as Neal Cassady; Kate Bosworth as Billie; Radha Mitchell as Carolyn Cassady; Anthony … [Read more...]

Earwitness Testimony: Sound and Sense, Word and Void in Jack Kerouac’s Old Angel Midnight

Old Angel Midnight

“the ineluctable modality of the audible” – James Joyce Ulysses So much of Jack Kerouac’s writing seems impelled by an impatience with all verbal restraints and by an urgent purpose that strains to push and pivot, dodge and drive – like the star running back Kerouac once was – past syntax and grammar and language itself in order to touch a truth beyond language. Nowhere in … [Read more...]

Who was Neal Cassady?

Neal Cassady

Neal Cassady: a brief biographical sketch Born on February 8, 1926, Neal Cassady grew up in Denver, Colorado. He was the son of a barber who moved the family from cheap hotel to cheap hotel. As a young man, Neal was usually a truant, hanging out in pool halls, hitchhiking, stealing cars, and, finally, landing in reform school, where he read his way through the library's … [Read more...]

Get “On the Road” movie gear!

otr-newposter

The long-anticipated film adaptation of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road", directed by Walter Salles and produced by Francis Ford Coppola will soon be released in the United States. Here are some books, CDs and accessories associated with "On the Road." On the Road - with a new movie cover Haven't read the book yet? Want to read it again before you see the movie? A new … [Read more...]

Neal & Carolyn Cassady’s house at 29 Russell St., San Francisco

29 Russell St., 1999, by Joshua Medsker

It’s been about ten years now since I saw Beat legends Neal and Carolyn Cassady’s house. It was such a thrill for me; I can remember it perfectly. My old friends Kirstin and Colin, from Alaska had just moved down to San Francisco the year before in 1998, and had told me about it. “Yeah,” Kirstin told me, “it’s just up the street from our apartment.” Jack Kerouac lived with them … [Read more...]

The Official Kerouac “On the Road” Movie Trailer is Here!

On the Road movie poster

"On the Road," the movie based on Jack Kerouac's novel of the same name, will be released in the United States on December 21, 2012. Produced by Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope, it's directed by Walter Salles (Motorcycle Diaries) and stars Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, and Kristen Stewart. Check out the official trailer below! Haven't read On the Road yet, or want … [Read more...]

La Picaudiere – and Hundertwasser’s Honey

Honeycomb - copyright Andreius / sxc.hu

Asked in an interview what he would remember most about his life as an artist, Man Ray replied "the women." I was a bee whisperer, like Edmund Hillary who climbed Mount Everest and who was a beekeeper in New Zealand, and I was writing poetry, it tumbled out of me. There was the feeling of total isolatedness. The road there — if you'll let a guide direct you who never … [Read more...]

The Sea is My Brother by Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac - The Sea is My Brother

The Sea is My Brother was Jack Kerouac's first attempt at a novel. Technically it fits the criteria of a novella, the original manuscript weighing in at 158 pages. Published for the first time in its entirety by Penguin Classics (2011) and bound together with other collected juvenilia, it is important to remember that this manuscript is exactly that, juvenilia. Penned by … [Read more...]

Heeding the Call of the Open Road

photo by adjac / sxc.hu

Beat culture and hippie culture were both long gone as a central movement by the time I was growing up, but hop on the bandwagon I did. As a teenager, there was nothing I wanted more than to get the hell out of dodge, my hometown in the California Bay Area, filled with cow patties, rednecks and suburban normalcy. Without having read Jack Kerouac’s books (yet), I adopted … [Read more...]

Beat Generation Photos by Rob Lee

Photos by Rob Lee

Lawrence FerlinghettiMarch 11, 1987 Taken in his office above City Lights Bookstore (shaped like an arrowhead bisecting Columbus Avenue and Jack Kerouac Alley), Ferlinghetti spends more time in his painting studio at this point in his life. A quiet, observant presence, "fighting the good fight." Gregory CorsoSeptember 25, 1988 Gregory was on a tear, for reasons … [Read more...]

Kerouac and the Outsider – A Puzzle

Jack Kerouac Alley / Double Feature / Flickr

It was Horst who started it. Horst Spandler had been translating the 1971 Kerouac anthology Scattered Poems into German. Along the way he'd been asking others their advice on the meaning of parts of Jack's poems. One such query I received concerned Kerouac's rather fine "Sept. 16, 1961, Poem" (on page 29). Horst wanted to know whether the line which reads "sad today glad … [Read more...]

The Practice of the Wild by Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder Practice of the Wild

When someone comes up with a fresh and startling way of looking at our world, you can bet that it is drawn from a combination of sources, fields, and disciplines. Gary Snyder has done just this with The Practice of the Wild, joining his backgrounds in mythology, history, religion, literature, anthropology, language, and natural history. The result is a series of interlocking … [Read more...]