In 1952 and 1953 as he wandered around America, Jack Kerouac jotted down spontaneous prose poems, or "sketches" as he called them, on small notebooks that he kept in his shirt pockets. The poems recount his travels—New York, North Carolina, Lowell (Massachusetts, Kerouac’s birthplace), San Francisco, Denver, Kansas, Mexico—observations, and meditations on art and life. The poems are often strung together so that over the course of several of them, a little story—or travelogue—appears, complete in itself. Published for the first time, Book of Sketches offers a luminous, intimate, and transcendental glimpse of one of the most original voices of the twentieth century at a key time in his literary and spiritual development.
"A fascinating literary and historical document, the most insightful look at the Beat Generation." —Dan Wakefield, author of New York in the Fifties and Going All the Way First published in 1978, Jack's Book gives us an intimate look into the life and times of the "King of the Beats." Through the words of the close friends, lovers, artists, and drinking buddies who survived him, writers Barry Gifford and Lawrence Lee recount Jack Kerouac's story, from his childhood in Lowell, Massachusetts, to his tragic end in Florida at the age of forty-seven. Including anecdotes from an eclectic list of well-known figures such as Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Gore Vidal, as well as Kerouac's ordinary acquaintances, this groundbreaking oral biography—the first of its kind—presents us with a remarkably insightful portrait of an American legend and the spirit of a generation.
There are few writers about whom it can be said that they write just like they speak, but Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) is clearly one of them. In 1958, Kerouac was a struggling writer trying to create a new literary aesthetic based on the rhythms of human speech, jazz-based improvisation, autobiography, and American slang. That year saw the publication of his second novel On the Road, which would instantly propel him to fame and ensconce him in the literary establishment. By 1969, he was dead of internal hemorrhaging brought on by excessive drinking. Though his literary reputation may have faded, the revolutionary zeal of his novels and the originality of his voice ensure that his books are cont...
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Kate Bosworth, Josh Lucas, Anthony Edwards, and Radha Mitchell "Each book by Jack Kerouac is unique, a telepathic diamond. With prose set in the middle of his mind, he reveals consciousness itself in all its syntatic elaboration, detailing the luminous emptiness of his own paranoiac confusion. Such rich natural writing is nonpareil in later half XX century, a synthesis of Proust, Céline, Thomas Wolfe, Hemingway, Genet, Thelonius Monk, Basho, Charlie Parker, and Kerouac's own athletic sacred insight. "Big Sur's humane, precise account of the extraordinary ravages of alcohol delirium tremens on Kerouac, a suerior novelist who had strength to complete his poetic narrative, a task few scribes so afflicted have accomplished—others crack up. Here we meet San Francisco's poets & recognize hero Dean Moriarty ten years after On the Road. Jack Kerouac was a 'writer,' as his great peer W.S. Burroughs says, and here at the peak of his suffering humorous genius he wrote through his misery to end with 'Sea,' a brilliant poem appended, on the hallucinatory Sounds of the Pacific Ocean at Big Sur." —Allen Ginsberg
The first collection of letters between the two leading figures of the Beat movement Writers and cultural icons Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg are the most celebrated names of the Beat Generation, linked together not only by their shared artistic sensibility but also by a deep and abiding friendship, one that colored their lives and greatly influenced their writing. Editors Bill Morgan and David Stanford shed new light on this intimate and influential friendship in this fascinating exchange of letters between Kerouac and Ginsberg, two thirds of which have never been published before. Commencing in 1944 while Ginsberg was a student at Columbia University and continuing until shortly before Kerouac's death in 1969, the two hundred letters included in this book provide astonishing insight into their lives and their writing. While not always in agreement, Ginsberg and Kerouac inspired each other spiritually and creatively, and their letters became a vital workshop for their art. Vivid, engaging, and enthralling, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters provides an unparalleled portrait of the two men who led the cultural and artistic movement that defined their generation.
In Jack Kerouac’s teenage years his friends gave him a nickname that was prescient and stuck with him throughout his life—Memory Babe. Kerouac was able to conjure up scenes from his childhood and adolescence that astounded his friends with their precision and detail. This talent was to serve him well as a novelist, enabling him to recall long segments of conversation that he could instantly pound out on his typewriter. Maggie Cassidy is one of Kerouac’s most tender recollections of his past, focusing on his first true love when he was a high-school senior and a local star athlete. Filled with the sweet innocence of youth and the daily heartbreak of quarrels and unfulfilled sexual yearn...
Best known for his "Legend of Duluoz" novels, including On the Road and The Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac is also an important poet. In these eight extended poems, Kerouac writes from the heart of experience in the music of language, employing the same instrumental blues form that he used to fullest effect in Mexico City Blues, his largely unheralded classic of postmodern literature. Edited by Kerouac himself, Book of Blues is an exuberant foray into language and consciousness, rich with imagery, propelled by rythm, and based in a reverent attentiveness to the moment. "In my system, the form of blues choruses is limited by the small page of the breastpocket notebook in which they are written, like the form of a set number of bars in a jazz blues chorus, and so sometimes the word-meaning can carry from one chorus into another, or not, just like the phrase-meaning can carry harmonically from one chorus to the other, or not, in jazz, so that, in these blues as in jazz, the form is determined by time, and by the musicians spontaneous phrasing & harmonizing with the beat of time as it waves & waves on by in measured choruses." —Jack Kerouac