Sunday, March 19, 2017

On The Road: Chapters in One Sentence




Each time we've read On The Road in my Kerouac class at the University of Maine at Farmington (every spring since 2013), I have had students work in groups to craft what I call, "Chapters in One Sentence." It's a way to summarize the narrative and leaves us with a concise overview of the novel. I don't edit their content, but I do try to correct major grammatical and spelling errors. Some of the entries are my own, as we don't have enough time in class to do all the chapters.

You may find what you think are inaccuracies or omissions, but keep in mind this is a first-year class and it's only an in-class activity to get the students talking about what they read. I think it's interesting to see what they find important.

Here's a link to the document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vxQnIgoYD4gIvhczjPE8KLDi2sXnWFHbtaszumZDSNE/edit?usp=sharing

One of these days I may undertake to create the whole document myself from scratch just to see what it looks like. If I do, I'll share it with readers of The Daily Beat.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Happy 95th Birthday to Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac was born this date in 1922. He would have been 95 years old today.

Happy Birthday to an iconic American writer and hero of The Daily Beat.

I'll be reading some Kerouac today in his honor.

Event in Mill Valley, CA to honor Jan Kerouac this Tuesday




Social media reports Kerouac Estate executor John Sampas has died

John Sampas

According to several social media reports, long-time Jack Kerouac Estate executor John Sampas died on Thursday March 9. While I don't see anything in the news, there is an empty obit page here and a piece on Beatdom here,

This is significant news for the Kerouac community. Who will step into the role of executor? Will it be Jim Sampas, John's nephew? Or are there others jockeying for power?

It will be very, very interesting to see how this plays out. But for now, condolences are in order.




Sunday, March 5, 2017

Jack Kerouac and March 5

Jack Kerouac at  the Village Vanguard, December 1957


It's March 5. What can we say about that date and Jack Kerouac (during his lifetime)?

Well, we've been blogging about Jack Kerouac here at The Daily Beat since July 15, 2008. That will make 9 years come this summer. How many times do  you think we've blogged on March 5 in those 9 years?

The answer is twice. Once in 2009 and once in 2012.

And now 2017.

But what else can we say?

I searched the Cosmic Baseball Association's chronology in vain for a March 5 event, and, in fact. by my count the month of March only shows up 23 times in the whole chronology. That in itself is weird, weird, weird (see my post about the number 23 here).

I next turned to the two volumes of selected letters edited by Ann Charters covering 1940-1956 and 1957-1969. Guess what? No entries for that date.

I didn't mine any of my many Kerouac biographies because that would be pretty tedious going. There may well be something in there.

A Google search for "March 5 and Jack Kerouac" yields one interesting but inaccurate hit. According to This Day in Jazz History, Kerouac recorded Poetry For The Beat Generation with Steve Allen on this date in 1957. I'm not sure that's accurate. The CBA's chronology shows Kerouac in Tangier from February through March 1957, and it's pretty clear from multiple sources that the recording happened after Kerouac's disastrous Village Vanguard performance. The latter was certainly December 1957.

The information accompanying Rhino's The Jack Kerouac Collection states that Poetry for the Beat Generation was "Possibly recorded March 1958." It would seem that the official re-release of this recording would state its exact date were it known. What we're left with is that Kerouac may or may not have made this particular recording on March 5, 1958.

One fairly certain Kerouac event on a March 5 was John Brooks' review of The Town and the City appearing in The New York Times (Source: The Beat Generation FAQ, p. 52).

Another is that Kerouac wrote a journal entry in 1948 (Source: Windblown World, p. 58). It had to do with writing 500 words, typing a manuscript, and going into N.Y. at night and running into a "big crowd of new people" (with "much drinking, talking, etc.").

All of this makes me wonder if it would be possible to create a daily Kerouac calendar showing an event from Kerouac's life each day of the year. I'd buy it.

What Kerouacian event can you cite that occurred on this date between March 12, 1922 and October 21, 1969?








Sunday, February 26, 2017

Jack Kerouac and Jiddu Krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti and Jack Kerouac circa 1966

I was on a Jiddu Krishnamurti kick a few years ago and he remains an enigmatic philosophical/religious influence on me. Over the last few days I have almost re-read all three of Mary Lutyens' biographies of Krishnamurti, and this passage in Krishnamurti: The Years of Fulfillment stuck out (I may have read this for the first time before I was into Kerouac and the Beats, or maybe I just forgot reading it).

On the 26th [of September 1966] K [Krishnamurti] was to give the first of six talks at the New School for Social Research in New York, continuing until October 7. During this time in New York he met Ralph Ingersol, journalist and author Tim Leary, the psychologist, and Allen Ginsberg, the poet, who had collaborated with Keary in anti-war propaganda in 1961 (p. 136).

This got me wondering whether Krishnamurti and Kerouac ever met, so I Googled the two names and, interestingly enough, previous mentions on my blog from 2008 and 2012 are the first two hits (http://thedailybeatblog.blogspot.com/2008/12/kerouac-krishnamurti-burroughs-and.html and http://thedailybeatblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/jack-kerouac-and-compassion.html).

Resorting to my go-to biography, Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac by Gerald Nicosia, I see no mention of Krishnamurti in the index. Likewise I find nothing in the indexes of other Kerouac biographies (Charters, Clark, Miles, Maher, McNally). I think Kerouac was in Italy during the dates Krishnamurti met Ginsberg in NYC, so if they ever met it was likely another time.

So there's a mystery for you readers to solve: Did Jack Kerouac and Jiddu Krishnamurti ever meet? Let us know if you have some evidence one way or the other.



Jack Kerouac Tumbler and Pinterest pages

Allen Ginsberg


My great friend Richard Marsh alerted me to this Jack Kerouac Tumbler page (http://jackkerrouac.tumblr.com/) because he had not seen the above picture of Allen Ginsberg "in unusual beard looking like a german [sic] geologist." I don't remember seeing it, either. Can anyone source it (I wish people would do that more, me included -- which is why I'm asking)? While trying to source it using a Google image search (to no avail), I happened on this Pinterest page with many pictures of various Beats and related images: https://www.pinterest.com/octaviawinters/the-beats/. It identifies the above as being taken in Mexico in 1954.

I haven't looked around at the whole set of posts on the Tumbler page yet (just the Ginsberg photo alone earned it a mention here on The Daily Beat), or the Pinterest page, either, so I am not sanctioning either one. I'm merely pointing them out for your potential interest and amusement. If you know of similar pages, send the links along in a comment.