Beats in NYC (1959)

September 21, 2018 at 10:04 am (Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, The Beats)

Silent 16mm film of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr and friends in the East Village, summer of 1959…

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Jack Kerouac – Excerpt from “On the Road” (TV – 1959)

July 17, 2018 at 6:10 pm (Jack Kerouac, Poetry & Literature, The Beats)

Jack Kerouac reads from On the Road on The Steve Allen Show from Nov. 16, 1959…

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Jack Kerouac and Ed Sanders – “Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr.” (TV – 1968)

February 25, 2018 at 7:33 am (Jack Kerouac, Life & Politics, The Beats)

Jack Kerouac’s infamous Sept. 3, 1968 appearance on William F. Buckley’s show Firing Line, along with Ed Sanders and Lewis Yablonsky. Episode 113: The Hippies…

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Jack Kerouac – “October in the Railroad Earth” (1957)

March 31, 2016 at 7:44 pm (Jack Kerouac, Poetry & Literature, The Beats)

There was a little alley in San Francisco back of the Southern Pacific station at Third and Townsend in redbrick of drowsy lazy afternoons with everybody at work in offices in the air you feel the impending rush of their commuter frenzy as soon they’ll be charging en masse from Market and Sansome buildings on foot and in buses and all well-dressed thru workingman Frisco of Walkup ?? truck drivers and even the poor grime-bemarked Third
Street of lost bums even Negros so hopeless and long left East and meanings of responsibility and try that now all they do is stand there spitting in the broken glass sometimes fifty in one afternoon against one wall at Third and Howard and here’s all
these Millbrae and San Carlos neat-necktied producers and commuters of America and Steel civilization rushing by with San Francisco Chronicles and green Call-Bulletins not even enough time to be disdainful, they’ve got to catch 130, 132, 134, 136 all the way up to 146 till the time of evening supper in homes of the railroad earth when high in the sky the magic stars ride above the following hotshot freight trains–it’s all in California, it’s all a
sea, I swim out of it in afternoons of sun hot meditation in my jeans with head on handkerchief on brakeman’s lantern or (if not working) on book, I look up at blue sky of perfect lostpurity and feel the warp of wood of old America beneath me and I have
insane conversations with Negroes in second-story windows above and everything is pouring in, the switching moves of boxcars in that little alley which is so much like the alleys of Lowell and I hear far off in the sense of coming night that engine calling our

But it was that beautiful cut of clouds I could always see above the little S.P. alley, puffs floating by from Oakland or the Gate of Marin to the north or San Jose south, the clarity of Cal to break your heart. It was the fantastic drowse and drum hum of lum mum afternoon nathin’ to do, ole Frisco with end of land sadness–the people–the alley full of trucks and cars of businesses nearabouts and nobody knew or far from cared who I was all my life three thousand five hundred miles from birth-O opened up and at last belonged to me in Great America.

Now it’s night in Third Street the keen little neons and also yellow bulblights of impossible-to-believe flops with dark ruined shadows moving back of tom yellow shades like a degenerate China with no money-the cats in Annie’s Alley, the flop comes on, moans, rolls, the street is loaded with darkness. Blue sky above with stars hanging high over old hotel roofs and blowers of hotels moaning out dusts of interior, the grime inside the word in mouths falling out tooth by tooth, the reading rooms tick tock bigclock with creak chair and slantboards and old faces looking up over rimless spectacles bought in some West Virginia or Florida or Liverpool England pawnshop long before I was born and across rains they’ve come to the end of the land sadness end of the world gladness all you San Franciscos will have to fall eventually and burn again. But I’m walking and one night a bum fell into the hole of the construction job where they’re tearing a sewer by day the husky Pacific & Electric youths in torn jeans who work there often I think of going up to some of ’em like say blond ones with wild hair and tom shirts and say “You oughta apply for the railroad it’s much easier work you don’t stand around the street all day and you get much more pay” but this bum fell in the hole you saw his foot stick out, a British MG also driven by some eccentric once backed into the hole and as I came home from a long Saturday afternoon local to Hollister out of San Jose miles away across verdurous fields of prune and juice joy here’s this British MG backed and legs up wheels up into a pit and bums and cops standing around right outside the coffee shop-it was the way they fenced it
but he never had the nerve to do it due to the fact that he had no money and nowhere to go and O his father was dead and O his mother was dead and O his sister was dead and O his whereabout was dead was dead but and then at that time also I lay in my room on long Saturday afternoons listening to Jumpin’ George with my fifth of tokay no tea and just under the sheets laughed to hear the crazy music “Mama, he treats your daughter mean,” Mama, Papa, and don’t you come in here I’ll kill you etc. getting high by myself in room glooms and all wondrous knowing about the Negro the essential American out there always finding his solace his meaning in the fellaheen street and not in abstract morality ”
and even when he has a church you see the pastor out front bowing to the ladies on the make you hear his great vibrant voice on the sunny Sunday afternoon sidewalk full of sexual vibratos saying “Why yes Mam but de gospel do say that man was born of woman’s womb -” and no and so by that time I come crawling out of my warmsack and hit the street when I see the railroad ain’t gonna call me till 5 AM Sunday morn probably for a
local out of Bay Shore in fact always for a local out of Bay Shore and I go to the wailbar of all the wildbars in the world the one and only Third-and -Howard and there I go in and drink with the madmen and if I get drunk I git.

The whore who come up to me in there the night I was there with Al Buckle and said to me “You wanta play with me tonight Jim, and?” and I didn’t think I had enough money and later told this to Charley Low and he laughed and said “How do you know she wanted money always take the chance that she might be out just for love or just out for love you
know what I mean man don’t be a sucker.” She was a goodlooking doll and said “How would you like to oolyakoo with me mon?” and I stood there like a jerk and in fact bought
drink got drink drunk that night and in the 299 Club I was hit by the proprietor the band breaking up the fight before I had a chance to decide to hit him back which I didn’t do
and out on the street I tried to rush back in but they had locked the door and were looking at me thru the forbidden glass in the door with faces like undersea––I should have
played with her shurrouruuruuruuruuruuruurkdiei.

Jack Kerouac

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Jack Kerouac – “The Sea Is My Brother: The Lost Novel” (2011)

June 30, 2012 at 9:39 am (Jack Kerouac, Poetry & Literature, Reviews & Articles, The Beats)

A Dec. 1, 2011 review of this lost Kerouac novel (his first), taken from The Telegraph. Written by Nicholas Blincoe… 

The publication of a lost first novel by Jack Kerouac prompts two questions: “How good is it?” and “How lost was it?” Last month, the Anthony Burgess Foundation announced the discovery of Burgess’s lost opera on the life and death of Leon Trotsky. And where was this treasure  exactly? Apparently, lying among Burgess’s stuff – so not so very lost, after all.

The publication of The Sea Is My Brother, a novel Kerouac wrote when he was just 20, appears after a similar feat of literary detective work. Which is to say, someone opened a suitcase and found it lying there. One half suspects that the suitcase had been opened before, but on those occasions the person responsible read Kerouac’s title and quickly slammed the lid shut again.

Kerouac seemed to spring from nowhere with On the Road (1957), the definitive “beatnik” novel. He caught the imagination of a generation with an intensely Read the rest of this entry »

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Ted Berrigan Interviews Jack Kerouac – “The Art of Fiction No. 41” (1968)

June 29, 2012 at 9:53 am (Jack Kerouac, Reviews & Articles, The Beats)

In the summer of 1968, poet Ted Berrgian interviewed Jack Kerouac at his house. This was published in The Paris Review...

The Kerouacs have no telephone. Ted Berrigan had contacted Kerouac some months earlier and had persuaded him to do the interview. When he felt the time had come for their meeting to take place, he simply showed up at the Kerouacs’s house. Two friends, poets Aram Saroyan and Duncan McNaughton, accompanied him. Kerouac answered his ring; Berrigan quickly told him his name and the visit’s purpose. Kerouac welcomed the poets, but before he could show them in, his wife, a very determined woman, seized him from behind and told the group to leave at once.

“Jack and I began talking simultaneously, saying ‘Paris Review!’ ‘Interview!’ etc.,” Berrigan recalls, “while Duncan and Aram began to slink back toward the car. All seemed lost, but I kept talking in what I hoped was a civilized, reasonable, calming, and friendly tone of voice, and soon Mrs. Kerouac agreed to let us in for twenty minutes, on the condition that there be no drinking.

“Once inside, as it became evident that we actually were in pursuit of a serious purpose, Mrs. Kerouac became more friendly, and we were able to commence the interview. It seems that people still show up constantly at the Kerouacs’s looking for the author of On the Road, and stay for days, drinking all the liquor and diverting Jack from his serious occupations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jack Kerouac – Letter to Marlon Brando (1957)

January 7, 2012 at 1:58 am (Jack Kerouac, The Beats)

This letter from Jack Kerouac to Marlon Brando, dated 1957, was discovered in 2005 and recently sold at auction by Christie’s. In the letter, Kerouac is urging Brando to play the role of Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassidy) in a film version of his then-recent bestseller On the Road, while Kerouac would play Sal Paradise (himself)…


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Jack Kerouac – “On the Road” (1957)

July 15, 2011 at 6:10 pm (Jack Kerouac, Reviews & Articles, The Beats)

A review of On the Road from Phoebe Lou Adams from the October 1957 issue of The Atlantic. It’s always fascinating to read what critics thought of On the Road at the time of its release…

Ladder to Nirvana

Jack Kerouac’s second novel, On the Road (Viking, $3.95), concerns the adventures of the narrator, Sal Paradise, a war veteran who is studying on the G.I. bill and writing a book between drinks, and his younger friend, Dean Moriarty late of reform school. Neither of these boys can sit still. They race back and forth from New York to San Francisco, they charge from one party to another, they tour jazz joints, and Dean complicates the pattern by continually getting married. At odd moments they devote a little thought to finding Dean’s father, a confirmed drunk who is presumably bumming around somewhere west of the Mississippi.

Dean is the more important character. Mr. Kerouac makes considerable play with his disorderly childhood, his hitch in the reform school, and his rootlessness, but his activities seem less a search for stability than a determined pursuit of euphoria. Dope, liquor, girls, jazz, and fast cars, in that order, are Dean’s ladder to nirvana, and so much time is spent on them that it is hard to keep track of any larger pattern behind all the scuttling about. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jack Kerouac – 3 American Haikus (1959)

June 8, 2011 at 6:45 am (Jack Kerouac, Poetry & Literature, The Beats)

No telegram today
only more leaves

boy smashing dandelions
with a stick.


Drunk as a hoot owl,
writing letters
by thunderstorm.

Jack Kerouac

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Sarah Haynes – “An Exploration of Jack Kerouac’s Buddhism: Text and Life” (2005)

July 25, 2010 at 1:09 pm (Jack Kerouac, Reviews & Articles, The Beats)

Taken from Contemporary Buddhism Vol. 6, No. 2 by Sarah Haynes…



Jack Kerouac’s place in the literary world was secured in the 1950s with the publication of On the Road; however, his position as a Buddhist writer and practitioner was yet to be established. This paper examines his Buddhist life and texts, and explores two of his Buddhist books while focusing on his influences, their effects on his personal life and the impact these had on his writing and on Buddhism in America. Kerouac’s ‘Buddhist’ texts are not as well known as his others, although many of his more popular books include elements of Buddhism. The two Kerouac texts that are to be explored here are Some of the Dharma and The Scripture of the Golden Eternity. While the focus of this paper is on the exploration of these two texts, their content and structure, one cannot ignore the influencing factors that led Kerouac to write them and the aspects of his life that affected the way in which they were composed. Read the rest of this entry »

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