Reconsidering the Importance of the Joan Anderson Letter
Dec16

Reconsidering the Importance of the Joan Anderson Letter

It’s been an exciting few years for fans of the Beat Generation. Since Beatdom was founded, we have seen the release of a number of high profile movie adaptations (including Howl and On the Road), the publication of previously unpublished Beat works like The Sea is My Brother, and various major anniversaries (including the fifty years that have passed since Howl and On the Road were published, as well as the centenary of the birth of...

Read More
Jean-Louis Wept
Dec03

Jean-Louis Wept

“I cried in the Cathedral of the Savior to hear the choir boys sing a gorgeous old thing, while angels seemed to be hovering around—” Jack Kerouac, “Big Trip to Europe” Jean-Louis wept Affects and effects Choir boys sang Sending a pang In lonesome heart Romanesque art Lonesome travels One unravels Cezanne’s greens Baptistery scenes Smokyblue hills Rust reds fulfill Road visions Vermouth rhythms Lucid liquid diamond Infants...

Read More
Neal Cassady’s “Joan Anderson Letter” Finally Found
Nov24

Neal Cassady’s “Joan Anderson Letter” Finally Found

“It was the greatest piece of writing I ever saw, better’n anybody in America, or at least enough to make Melville, Twain, Dreiser, Wolfe, I dunno who, spin in their graves.” - Jack Kerouac In 1950, Jack Kerouac read a 16,000 word letter written by his friend and muse, Neal Cassady, that was so revolutionary it caused him to abandon previous attempts at the project that would eventually become On the Road. His new...

Read More
Hubert Selby Jr’s American Dream
Oct26

Hubert Selby Jr’s American Dream

The American Dream is the unifying theme across the work of the Beat Generation. Jack Kerouac wrote wondrous love letters while William Burroughs explored its often nightmarish landscape. However, Hubert Selby Jr. was the only writer to identify its failure while also providing an antidote to correct it. Hubert “Cubby” Selby Jr. was born in the dilapidated Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, New York in 1928.  He spent his formative years...

Read More
Francis Thompson
Oct20

Francis Thompson

“Francis Thompson (!)” i “My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap. My days have crackled and gone up in smoke, Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.” “The Hound of Heaven” by Francis Thompson   Soul chaste First chastised by a chase Through London laudanum haze and haste Up and down and down and out Stop to have another taste Nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide ii On this side of the great divide The hound and...

Read More
Saint Francis
Oct07

Saint Francis

“I love St. Francis of Assisi as well as anybody in the world.” Desolation Angels Once a sybarite youth and reveler Dreams and visions and change of heart Lepers and beggars fevered new start Francis set to restore his Father’s house He threw and flung church gold away Bernardone beat and locked he stayed Francis turned from father’s ways And stood there humble, pure, and bare He wed himself to poverty and fast as fare To gain heaven...

Read More
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...

Read More
The Kid from Red Bank
Sep16

The Kid from Red Bank

“Count Basie’s swing arrangements are not blaring, but they contain more drive, more power, and more thrill than the loudest gang of corn artists can acquire by blowing their horns apart.” i Jack Kerouac Count, bink-bink! The Kid from Red Bank On the River Navesink Red Bank Boogie One O’Clock Jump Stomp and stamp and stump the band Give the man a mighty hand Tinkling keys Fats Waller knees William Basie’s simple swing Keep your flashy...

Read More