Review: Paul Bunyan, by Larry Beckett
Sep02

Review: Paul Bunyan, by Larry Beckett

Larry Beckett is generally best-known as a songwriter, yet probably better known to Beatdom readers as the author of Beat Poetry – the first book entirely devoted to the poetry of the Beat Generation. Yet he has devoted much of his life to writing poetry, and earlier this year he released an impressive book called Paul Bunyan through Smokestack Books in the UK. Paul Bunyan is part of Beckett’s American Cycle series of “long poems”...

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At the End of the Road: Jack Kerouac in Mexico
Apr27

At the End of the Road: Jack Kerouac in Mexico

In 2013 I was asked to review a book called The Stray Bullet, about William S. Burroughs’ years in Mexico. I described it as “unreadable,” which made it rather surprising when, a year and a half later, the publishers asked me to review another book by the same author and translator – Jorge Garcia-Robles and Daniel C. Schechter – called At the End of the Road: Jack Kerouac in Mexico. Garcia-Robles styles himself as the “leading...

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Count by Any Other Name
Sep28

Count by Any Other Name

“Basie’s stuff means something.” i Jack Kerouac, Horace Mann Record Good Morning Blues: The Autobiography of Count Basie as told to Albert Murray (first edition 1985) is something like the Count’s music: it’s not only about the notes he plays, it’s also about the notes he leaves out. This is more a “tell some” rather than a “tell all,” and so be it. Basie plays it straight and simple, like his music, and the subject of the book is...

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From Albion to Shangri-La
Jul23

From Albion to Shangri-La

From Albion to Shangri-La consists of collected excerpts from Peter Doherty’s journals, circa 2008 to 2013, with an added selection from his tour diaries, all rounded off with a previously unpublished interview with editor, Nina Antonia – the rock journalist’s rock journalist, no stranger to the darker excesses of some of rock’s more elegantly wasted sons – whose sharp eye and clear ear have been called upon to assist in this literary...

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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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