The Sea is my Brother

Since the fiftieth anniversary of On the Road, Kerouac has been somewhat revitalized. Despite being dead for forty years, Beat enthusiasts are still getting to read fresh material, as publishers trawl through his estate for unpublished material. First there was the Original Scroll version of On the Road, which cast off the restraints necessary for the first fifty years of publication, and included the real names of characters as...

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The Breton Traveller

THE BRETON TRAVELLER — Jack Kerouac’s Search for his Roots by Dave Moore Much has been written about Kerouac’s apparent rootlessness being the driving force behind his travels and his writing. His search for his true roots was endless. In the final decade of his life it became desperate. Jack had learned, from his father and uncles, that their ancestor came from France to Canada in the 1700s. But Kerouac’s quest was...

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Jack Kerouac’s Visions of Gerard

By Kristin McLaughlin Without Gerard, what would have happened to Ti Jean? – Jack Kerouac[1] Visions of Gerard is Kerouac’s prolonged meditation on his older, saintly brother Gerard, who died at the age of nine (Jack was four at the time) of rheumatic fever.  As the cornerstone of the Dulouz legend, Visions of Gerard, along with Maggie Cassidy and Dr. Sax, deals with Kerouac’s early life in Lowell, Massachusetts.  Most biographers...

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Lisa Brawn’s Beat Woodcuttings
Jul10

Lisa Brawn’s Beat Woodcuttings

Lisa Brawn has been experimenting with figurative portrait genre woodcuts for almost twenty years. She has recently been working with century-old Douglas Fir beams salvaged from restoration projects. Among her current projects is a healthy interest in the Beat Generation. While reading Ginsberg’s Selected Poems 1947-1997, she has been applying her woodcutting skill to the image for famous Beat figures (and Hunter S. Thompson, for the...

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Alene Lee – Subterranean Muse

by Steven O’Sullivan Alene Lee is the real name of The Subterraneans’ Mardou Fox, and of Irene May from Big Sur and Book of Dreams. Little is known about her, as she fell from the unwanted spotlight. She isn’t even acknowledged in books devoted to the women of the Beat Generation. We have seen photos of her, and we know part of her racial heritage – black & Cherokee. We know Kerouac met her as she typed manuscripts for...

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Kerouac and the Outsider – A Puzzle

by Dave Moore It was Horst who started it. Horst Spandler has been translating the 1971 Kerouac anthology Scattered Poems into German. Along the way he’s been asking others their advice on the meaning of parts of Jack’s poems. One such query I received, a few months ago, concerned Kerouac’s rather fine “Sept. 16, 1961, Poem” (on page 29). Horst wanted to know whether the line which reads “sad today glad tomorrow: somber today drunk...

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Visions of Vollmer

by David S. Wills In Issue Two of Beatdom, we ran a story about the women of the Beat Generation, and we obviously talked a little about Joan Vollmer. However, we didn’t say enough to do her justice, for she was a fascinating character who became famous for all the wrong reasons. Vollmer took a bullet in the head from her husband, William S. Burroughs, on September 6th, 1951, and went down in literary history as no more than a wife...

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The Beats & Sixties Counterculture

The 1960s are associated with what Frank calls ‘the big change, the birthplace of our own culture, the homeland of hip’, a period of various shifts that have shaped our current society[1].  This hints at an underlying consensus that the 1960s were a time of high artistic endeavour, the centre of countercultural resistance, and some of the cultural ripples that are still being felt today. by Jed Skinner What factors influenced this...

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