October Ghost

JK - Kerouac typewriter

The smudged days of October—when my mood is hand in hand with the weather—remind me of Jack Kerouac. He died in October, on the 21st, and the anniversary of that day always comes and goes like a local subway suddenly gone express. I watch it pass, thinking I should do something, somehow commemorate the event, but I never do anything at all.I am aware that it is no longer … [Read more...]

Some Kind of Dharma: Photographs

Some Kind of Dharma 1 (detail) - Steve Paul

“to just start at the beginning and let the truth seep out”Grant Street, San Francisco, 2009You can quite intentionally make a Beat pilgrimage in San Francisco, soaking in the aura, the coffee, the Bohemian spirit in North Beach nooks, bars and alleys. I did not do that. I chanced upon this sidewalk marker on Grant Street, Chinatown’s main drag, and it held me for a … [Read more...]

Book Review – Kenton Crowther’s Kerouac on the Binge

Kerouac: On the Binge by Kenton Crowther

Kenton Crowther's latest short e-book, a 3200-word essay titled Kerouac on the Binge (perhaps rather indelicately), is not an in-depth study of the author and his work, but rather the thoughtful musings of one who has read Kerouac's works in depth, and has something to say about them.You might see the word "binge" and think it refers to drinking. And, that's certainly … [Read more...]

The Road Toward Visions of Cody

The Road to Visions of Cody

In March 2015, Jack Kerouac's masterpiece, Visions of Cody, will be reprinted by Library of America (along with Visions of Gerard and Big Sur). Edited by Todd Tietchen, the novel has been extensively annotated with notes and a number of editorial idiosyncrasies restored.  * * * In the months following Jack Kerouac's April 1951 typing of On the Road, an act born out of a need … [Read more...]

Jack Kerouac’s “Strange Cemetery in Jamaica”

In the background, the "gastank" can be seen which is actually a water tank for the railroad.

--- from a work-in-progress, I, Duluoz!: An Appreciation of Jack KerouacIf I had to pick my favorite poem of Jack Kerouacʼs, it would be “Strange Cemetery in Jamaica” published in Some of the Dharma (1997). Strangely, or even tragically, it was omitted from the Library of America volume of Kerouacʼs Collected Poems, as it signifies Kerouacʼs creative breakthrough of … [Read more...]

An interview on Jack Kerouac and Library of America

Jack Kerouac - Library of America

March 2015 will mark the occasion of the publication of the third volume of Jack Kerouac works published by Library of America. I took this occasion to catch up with editor, Todd Tietchen, assistant professor of English at University of Massachusetts Lowell. The book is a chronological publishing continuum of the first volume and contains the groundbreaking novel Visions of … [Read more...]

The Great Consciousness of Life


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...]

Wordsworth and the Beats: The Longevity of Influence

Wordworth & Kerouac

Although William Wordsworth once stated that he was “not a critic” and, in fact, “set little value upon the art” (Leitch 556), in his “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” he nevertheless proposed and discussed several controversial ideas that would become key components to his literary philosophy, securing the “Preface” as a significant and influential addition to the cannon of … [Read more...]

Two poems by Nick D’Annunzio Jones

halleys-comet 2

Good Morning, GodAt breakfast, I launch a small pink quasar into a black hole. Minutes later, receptors blocked, serotonin-flooded, my cosmos collapses; heaven-humming, orbiting hypomania, bang – a star is born!I also hear a comet talking: Side-effects include universal love, space dreams, moonwalking; if the urge to produce a paean about astro-pharmacology … [Read more...]

At the Carnival of Drunken Poets

photomicography4 / credit: http://www.freeimages.com/profile/richermcm

I ran into Kerouac at the carnival where those just dead meet those about to be reborn. He and I have wandered through the zodiac again and again, like prodigal suns. Both of us enter this carnival under the 13th sign, which is the sign of Drunkenness, in the house of Lilith, with Coyote rising, the Moon single and pregnant again. When the carnival master sees us, … [Read more...]

Paul Maher Jr. considers Kerouac’s Haunted Life

The Haunted Life and Other Writings by Jack Kerouac

The Haunted Life and Other Writings / Da Capo Press / March 11, 2014 / 208 pp.Seventy years ago, in May 1944, Jack Kerouac toiled over a novella-length work set in Lowell, Massachusetts. It was written at the prompting of his two newest friends, the mischievous nihilist Lucien Carr and the budding poet, Allen Ginsberg. He titled it The Haunted Life and it was never … [Read more...]

Kerouac Before the Jazz: a review of “The Haunted Life”

The Haunted Life and Other Writings by Jack Kerouac

There are some great lost manuscripts in American literature and some are truly lost. Ernest Hemingway famously lost the only draft of the first short stories he ever wrote on a French train. Most writers have "lost" manuscripts, conspicuously placed in quotes because those stories for whatever reason the writer has are socked away until after their deaths (interestingly, … [Read more...]

Sleeping by Big Sur

Big Sur (detail). Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/superfamous/6094423758/ superfamous / CC BY

I slept with a copy of Big Sur by my pillow a read of a man charting alcoholic declineI have drunk too much to remember my face I have drunk too much to remember the facts I have drunk too much and forgotten the race here-there-get up-go-get-it-donebut woke beside the book feeling good and like doing nothing at all all day until night fell again … [Read more...]

Movie Review – Kill Your Darlings


Long before Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William S. Burroughs would be celebrated as the poetical and political figureheads of a 'beat generation,' there was a murder.In the new film, Kill Your Darlings, the crime scene sets itself at Columbia University, 1944, when a young Allen Ginsberg (Radcliffe) is introduced to the anarchic, pornographic mind of fellow student, … [Read more...]

Jack Kerouac Eats an Eggroll

San Francisco Chinatown courtesy Roger 4336 http://www.flickr.com/photos/24736216@N07/4061824394/

JACK KEROUAC EATS AN EGGROLL San Francisco, March, 1952Hey hunger, typewriter scroll of walled up mysteries. Here’s to you, binge three weeks’ wide, dragon hitched to your sleeve. The love letter in a menu’s calligraphy. Hey stained teacup. Waitress’s face a crazed plate. Blame nicotine, benzedrine, beg a dime (hey buddy). Doodle on a napkin. Pray to the wharf gods of … [Read more...]

Interview – Paul Maher Jr., author of Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac's On the Road

Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac's On the Road is an accurate, up-to-date, meticulously researched account of how Jack Kerouac's 1957 novel, On the Road came to be written.Kerouac scholars Paul Maher Jr. (author of Kerouac: His Life and Work; editor Empty Phantoms: Interviews and Encounters with Jack Kerouac) and Stephanie Nikolopoulos bring to … [Read more...]

Jim Morrison and Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac and Jim Morrison

“If he (Jack Kerouac) hadn’t written On The Road, The Doors never would have existed.” — Ray ManzarekManzarek might have added that if Jack Kerouac hadn’t written On The Road, none of the late 60’s might have happened the way they did, with kids hitting the road in search of themselves and the transcendental experiences that Kerouac had described in his novels. … [Read more...]

BIG SUR Film Preview in Selected Theatres – week of October 14, 2013!

Big Sur Movie Poster

Gathr Films has announced a series of one-day-only showings of Big Sur in indie theatres in selected cities across the USA the week of October 14, 2013. These screenings are in advance of the film's nationwide release on November 1, 2013.Here's your chance to see it before anyone else!Check out the schedule below & get the details...Gathr Films Serves Up National … [Read more...]

For Beat’s Sake: An Interview with Carolyn Cassady

Off the Road - Carolyn Cassady

We all live inside history, and Carolyn Cassady has seen her share. Ms. Cassady was gracious and open when she sat for an interview at her home in Monte Sereno, not far from Los Gatos.Carolyn Cassady, best known for her relationships with husband Neal Cassady and novelist Jack Kerouac, is an attractive woman with an easy laugh. The fifth child of a Nashville biochemistry … [Read more...]

Review – The Beats: A Very Short Introduction by David Sterritt

The Beats: A Short Introduction by David Sterritt

The Beats: A Very Short Introduction by David Sterritt / Oxford University Press / 978-0-19-979677-9 / 126 pagesDavid Sterritt's work might be familiar to Beat or film aficionados through his previous books, which include Mad to be Saved: The Beats, the '50s, and Film, and Screening the Beats: Media Culture and the Beat Sensibility among others.In The Beats: A Very … [Read more...]

Charged Vision: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg

Jack Kerouac by Allen Ginsberg

The photographs of Allen Ginsberg recently were on display at the Jewish Contemporary Museum in San Francisco. Walking through the museum is like going on a jaunt through Beat History. A spritely Jack Kerouac followed by the drunk. A youthful William Burroughs, and the junky with withered skin. Gregory Corso, Gary Snyder, Robert La Vigne, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and of course, … [Read more...]

The Beat Generation vs. “Beatniks”

beat beat beat

"Beatnik" is sometimes - incorrectly - used to describe to the Beat Generation writers and artists. We're going to straighten out the confusion for you! Here's an explanation of who the Beats were, and what the term "beatnik" is all about.What is the "Beat Generation"? "Beat Generation" refers to a group of writers who hit their creative stride in the 1940s-1960s. They … [Read more...]

3 Poems by Ryan Ritchie

copyright fulingame / sxc.hu

FOR JACK nothing any wordsmith can do with a keyboard matches the beauty that leaps from the subconscious mind of the jazz musician. we sit and think, type, sit and think some more, never achieving improvisational nirvana. what jazzmen do fills the nighttime sky, brings us closer to god than any sunday service. for us, improv becomes … [Read more...]

Bruce Hodder’s Ten Favourite Books

In Watermelon Sugar

1. In Watermelon Sugar – Richard Brautigan2. Big Sur – Jack Kerouac3. Desert Solitaire – Edward Abbey4. Ulysses – James Joyce5. The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Matsuo Basho6. The Great Shark Hunt – Hunter S. Thompson7. Pilgrims of the Wild – Grey Owl8. Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir – Joyce Johnson9. Dr. Sax – Jack Kerouac10. A Modest … [Read more...]