Tag Archives: Jack Kerouac – Old Angel Midnight

Kerouac & Ginsberg: The Letters

Letter writing is defintely a fading art… I know, I know, email is ‘like’ letter writing, but from my perspective, it doesn’t even come close. Finding the right pen, or pulling out the trusty typewriter; getting a few crisp sheets of paper; sitting down with your thoughts and really connecting with someone, wherever they may be… these are just some of the intense pleasures of writing a letter.

Two men who knew a great deal of these pleasures were Kerouac & Ginsberg and thankfully for us, 200 of their leters have been gathered together in a sweet little tome by Bill Morgan and David Stanford.

As Michael Miller wrote in the New York Observer, “the collection reads like a Dostoyevsky novel: It begins with a murder and ends, essentially, with a suicide (Kerouac’s death from cirrhosis of the liver in 1969). The authors are wild and unguarded, real-life protagonists that never quite made it into the Beat literature: Kerouac, stubborn, paranoid, hot-tempered, but in love with every person he meets; Ginsberg, the horny kid prone to hallucinations and consumed by poetry.”

Definitely a must have for this Lost Shark’s shelves.

And if like me you are kicking back enjoying the Sunday morning sun, you might just like to take in a bit of Kerouac & Ginsberg. So, for all you Allen lovers here’s a link to a short film (around an hour) – Allen’s Last Three Days on Earth as Spirit, a video diary of Ginsberg in the days immediately before and after his death by Jonas Mekas. And thanks to the good people at Ubuweb, on the same page there is also a great interview with Ginsberg from 1995 with Jeremy Isaacs.

And for the Jack lovers, why not kick back and listen to Clark Coolidge and Michael Gizzi read from Old Angel Midnight.

Or like me… why not take it all in.

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Strange Conversations

I was flipping through some old mags and journals tonight and came across an issue of University of QLD journal, Vanguard. Inside the issue was a series of ‘conversations’ between some of the greats of twentieth century literature – Raymond Carver, Allen Ginsberg, e.e. cummings and Jack Kerouac – and a number of local Brisbane poets. The editors had pitched us a series of questions from the works of these literary giants and encouraged us to go nuts. The results… some frenetic, curious and strange conversations.

Here’s a sample from each interview… and if you want to add your own response to one of the questions, feel free drop it in the comments.

 

Interviewer: e.e. cummings, from 100 Selected Poems

Interviewees: Jef Caruss (JC) and Sheish Money (SM)

e. e.:  shall the voice of liberty be mute?

JC: If I can’t yell the occasional obscenity, then I cannot be free.

e. e.:  I say to you who are silent.—“Do you see Life?”

SM: I say to you who are dead do you hear noise?

e. e.:  what if a dawn of a doom of a dream bites this universe in two, peels forever out of his grave and sprinkles nowhere with me and you?

SM: Then the twilight of a beginning being will forge a pact with grave and gifted and float nothingness on air till you and I return.

 

Interviewer: Raymond Carver (RC), from All of Us: The Collected Poems

Interviewee: Graham Nunn (GN)

RC:  What the hell is going on?

GN: In a soft skinned sunset, the hot breath of prayer is sketching new purpose; bleeding silver sutures to stitch up the remnants of something far more interesting, for we are gone sweetness…wired, split, shot to elsewhere.

RC: What’s wrong?

GN: All the trees are dressed in flames, houses stumble forward menacingly, foaming at the windows and the road has torn itself free from underfoot. Our heads are filled with avalanches and our mouths with waterfalls.

RC: Have you had any fresh lemonade lately?

GN: I have written english nouns without capitals, bared my teeth at the tatting of tongues, watched a thunderstorm in my cupboard, philandered over elegant chairs and drank myself silly thank you very much!

 

Interviewer: Jack Kerouac (JK), from Old Angel Midnight

Interviewee: Rowan Donovan (RD)

JK: How are you Mrs Jones?

RD: Since the operation? Good! And since my marriage to Mr. Jones? Even better! It’s amazing what these doctors can do today. A little nip here. A little tuck there and—Hey Presto—just me and my new private parts. Actually, it was the wedding and all the fuss that was trying but now I’m good, and thank you for asking, Mr. Kerouac. Mind if I call you Jack?

JK: Why read Don Quixote when you can read The Diamond Sutra or the Wonderful Law Lotus Sutra?

RD: That’s right! Why read a classic of Western Literature when you can read the sutra that first enlightened Hui Neng?

JK: Do I dream?

RD: Not if you have read The Diamond Sutra.

JK: What kinda world we’d have (Hi Missus Twazz) (O jullo Mr. Moon mock) a world all poits?

RD: Ahh, Jack. I love it when you talk dirty.

 

Interviewer: Allen Ginsberg (AG), from Planet News:

Interviewee: Julie Beveridge (JB)
 

AG: The colour of the wind?

JB: The wind had no colour til I quit smoking and now it looks like all the cigarette smoke I no longer inhale, it just follows me around asking me why I don’t drop by anymore.

AG: Do you want to live or die?

JB: I don’t know whether to kill myself or go bowling.

AG: Well, who knows?

JB: The guy at the bowling alley said to kill myself. He’d know I guess.

AG: How big is the prick of the President?

JB: Not as big as mine… but bigger than yours.

AG: You’re in a bad mood?

JB: Don’t get upset, your prick is a fine size. There’s no need to get personal.

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