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Poetry


Kerouac, Jack. Book of Blues. New York: Penguin Books, 1995.

As the allusion to music implies, these eight extended poems are highly improvisational and full of the poet's own internal rhythms. They refer to specific places from New York to San Francisco to Mexico City and contain vivid observations full of rich imagery.

Kerouac, Jack. Book of Dreams. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2001.

This is a trip inside the “sleepy” mind of Jack Kerouac and is tailored to the die-hard Kerouac fan.   It is something of a “hippie manifesto” as it describes the unedited, verbatim account of the author's dream written upon his waking. In these scattered glimpses into Kerouac's dreams, we see a reflection of many of the characters and events in his novels.

Kerouac, Jack. Good Blonde & Others. San Francisco: Grey Fox Press, 1993.  

Although this is one of his lesser-known writings, it is one that provides great insight into Kerouac. He portrays himself in his own life as he goes on the road with photographer Robert Frank, and discusses his own writing principles.   He also describes the origin of the quintessential Beat Generation.

Kerouac, Jack. Heaven and Other Poems. San Francisco: Grey Fox Press, 1977.

Here is a compilation of poems sent to Donald Allen, editor of Evergreen Review and The New American Poetry Anthologies , which were never actually published therein. Along with these nine poems are Kerouac's letters and statements regarding his verse as well as a cartoon drawing of Dr. Sax drawn by the poet for Neal and Carolyn Cassady's children.

Kerouac, Jack.  Mexico City Blues. New York: Grove Press, 1959.

Kerouac's poetry collection of numbered pieces marks a uniquely successful experiment in jazz poetry. These 242 choruses represent a jazz musician playing a series of solo variations, structured as the lyrics of a blues piece. It is meant to be read aloud with jazz accompaniment in the true spirit of the Beat Generation coffeehouse.

Kerouac, Jack. The Northport Haikus. Coventry, England: Beat Scene Press, 1989.

In Northport in 1964, while at a party at the house of his friend, artist Stanley Twardowicz, Kerouac was asked to write a haiku about a cat.   Instead, he handed out paper and pencils to the guests and everyone in attendance was asked to write a haiku. By the next morning, papers with poetry and drawings were strewn about. Twardowicz collected those haikus “attributed” to Kerouac and these were eventually published.

Kerouac, Jack. Old Angel Midnight. San Francisco: Grey Fox Press, 1993.

Influenced by James Joyce, Buddhist meditation, and friend Lucien Carr's speech patterns, this spontaneous prose poem was started in 1956 in Gary Snyder's Mill Valley, California home but not completed until 1959. Kerouac viewed the poem as an exercise in recording the unfettered roaming of his inner life and it was published as originally written, without revisions.

Kerouac, Jack. Pomes All Sizes. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1992.

This is a varied collection of Kerouac's mid-1950s road poems: hymns and songs of God, wine poems, dry poems, Dharma poems, Buddhist meditation, quirky poems, and poems to Beat friends. The cover is graced by a painting of Kerouac by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Kerouac, Jack. Scattered Poems. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1971.

This small collection of poems includes “Pull My Daisy” written in 1951 with Allen Ginsberg and Neal Cassady. Also in this collection is a poem called “Sept. 16, 1961, POEM,” which is a favorite of many Kerouac aficionados.

Kerouac, Jack. The Scripture of the Golden Eternity. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1994.


With such a lofty title, one can only expect some inspired meditations. Included are prose poems and Zen poems, which express the poet's search for peace and joy by becoming one with the universe.

 

 

 

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