The recent publication, a couple of months ago, by Library of America, of Jack Kerouac’s extraordinary Collected Poems (tho’, as Paul Maher has pointed out, not the Complete Poems) is indeed cause for jubilation. Kerouac, the poet (perhaps less known and less appreciated than Kerouac, the novelist – tho’ Mexico City Blues has always had its aficionados), includes, of course, Kerouac, the (jazz) musician, and Kerouac, purveyor of a particularly American version of classic Japanese haiku.
“Blues and Haikus’ (with saxophonists Al Cohn and Zoot Sims) is the second Kerouac album (following “Poetry For The Beat Generation” (with pianist Steve Allen) – “Readings by Jack Kerouac on the Beat Generation” (with no accompaniment) was the third and final recording) . The record was re-released in 1990, along with the other two, as part of The Jack Kerouac Collection, the Rhino Records handsome boxed-set, including an additional 16 extra minutes of out-takes. These American Haiku (“American Haikus”) comprise the opening track – “Well here I am/ 2 p.m./ What day is it?” –
Peter Gullerud’s recent inventive accompanying sketches may be glimpsed here.