The is NOT an Anthology
Jul13

The is NOT an Anthology

In 1959, the painter, Brion Gysin, “accidentally” cut through a pile of newspapers with a Stanley Knife and changed the future of writing. William S. Burroughs, who would popularize this “cut-up method” would prefer to say that Gysin “cut into the future,” but regardless of semantics – “art is merely a three letter word, my dear” – that which was done could not be undone. Burroughs worked to hone the technique from purely haphazard to...

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Mark Murphy/ Bop for Kerouac
May01

Mark Murphy/ Bop for Kerouac

“I want to be considered a jazz poet . . .” i Don’t miss Mark Murphy’s 1981 recording “Bop for Kerouac.”ii Jack loved jazz and wanted to be known as a jazz poet. Highly-acclaimed American jazz vocalist Mark Murphy will take you for a luxurious spin with this beautiful recording, a rich tribute to Kerouac and the music he adored. It’s gorgeous jazz—silky smooth and pure as a pure jazz singer or a pure man jazz poet—and Murphy puts...

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The Architect Who Shaped Paterson, New Jersey, and Its People
Mar13

The Architect Who Shaped Paterson, New Jersey, and Its People

For readers especially interested in the Paterson life of Allen Ginsberg and his family, take note of The Life & Times of Fred Wesley Wentworth: The Architect Who Shaped Paterson, NJ, and Its People by Richard E. Polton. There is no mention of the Ginsbergs in this architectural history book, but this was their home, a “red” city that with its waves of immigrants—by 1900 a tremendous influx of Italians and Eastern European...

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The Stray Bullet: William S. Burroughs in Mexico
Jan20

The Stray Bullet: William S. Burroughs in Mexico

In 1995 a scholar named Jorge Garcia-Robles wrote a long essay about William S. Burroughs’ time in Mexico, partly based upon interviews conducted with Burroughs and people that knew him during his time there. The essay was well-received and won the Malcolm Lowry literary essay award, and Garcia-Robles became the leading expert on the Beat Generation and their ties to Mexico. Unfortunately this reviewer doesn’t speak Spanish and had to...

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American Hipster: A Life of Herbert Huncke
Nov11

American Hipster: A Life of Herbert Huncke

From: While the name Herbert Huncke may not be well-known among the general population, it is certainly familiar to readers of the Beat Generation. You simply cannot tell the life story of Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, or Jack Kerouac without it, and he appears quite obviously in some of their most important works, including Junky, On the Road, and “Howl.” These three writers, among the most important in American literature,...

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The Town and the City
Nov07

The Town and the City

The Town and the City is a complete joy, Jack Kerouac’s holiday present to the world. As the New England chill turns to cold and colored leaves fall from trees, girls and boys, it’s time to dust off copies of The Town and the City and settle down to an autumnal read for the fall season of football games and big Thanksgiving turkey dinners and American life seen through the glorious, golden, rose-colored glasses of Jack Kerouac....

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Summer Bop 2013
Jul28

Summer Bop 2013

“All I can say is, if you know Jimmy Heath, you know Bop.” — Dizzy Gillespiei Jack Kerouac, jazz enthusiast extraordinaire, was inspired by and promoted jazz in his writing. He breathed jazz in prose and poetry. Allen Ginsberg called it “spontaneous bop prosody.” Ann Charters wrote in Kerouac: A Biography he “identified more with musical geniuses like Bud Powell, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Gerry Mulligan and...

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Review: This Ain’t No Holiday Inn
Jun14

Review: This Ain’t No Holiday Inn

This Ain’t No Holiday Inn: Down and Out at the Chelsea Hotel 1980-1995 By James Lough   New York’s Chelsea Hotel has a special place in American culture. It has surely been a home, or a home-away-from-home, to more influential artists than any other building in the nation. To list the famous names in American art and literature that have stayed there would require more words than can be devoted to one book review, and would serve...

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