Irving Rosenthal’s death last Friday aged 92 is duly noted. We’d draw your attention to our post on him from back in 2020 and our notice on his 1959 “Howl” Big Table benefit reading (also the notices here at The Beat Museum and by Alastair Johnston for Reality Studio)
Joan Vollmer (Burroughs) ” was a vibrant, creative spirit. In the 1940s, she curated community in her Upper West Side apartment in Manhattan and led all-night discussions that laid the groundwork for the Beat Generation’s hallmark characteristics – social freedom and spontaneous literary composition. She introduced Jack Kerouac to Marcel Proust and William Burroughs to the Mayan Codices, and, through her eventual descent into addiction, partially inspired Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”. The Beat Generation was as much a cultural movement as a literary one, and through her sexual fluidity and refusal to submit to socially prescribed female timidity, Joan inspired women to become “Beat’…”
Katie Bennett‘s provocative personal essay, “On the Disappearing of Joan Vollmer Burroughs“, for Literary Hub, on feminine erasure and the search for identity, is an essential read. (Check out the “Comments” that follow too)
LuAnne Henderson (Skoneki) (1930-2009), another occluded Beat woman – “Marylou” of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. Gerald Nicosia and Anne Marie Santos’ 2011 volume, “One and Only – The Untold Story of On the Road tells the story. Nicosia, back in 1978, met and extensively interviewed her. French Beat scholar, Jean-François Duval had a similar inspirational encounter, several years later (1997) which forms the basis for his recently-published roman vrai (true novel), LuAnne on the road with Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac
Duval is interviewed about the book here
Interviewer: Qu’a représenté LuAnne pour vous? (What did LuAnne mean to you?)
J-F D: Elle est la seule femme qui ait accompagné Jack Kerouac et Neal Cassady (Dean Moriarty dans Sur la route), partagé leurs aventures, dans la poussière et sur le bitume. Et donc la seule à pouvoir nous offrir un regard féminin sur cette épopée. (She is the only woman who accompanied Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady (Dean Moriarty in On the Road), shared their adventures, in the dust and on the road. And therefore the only one who can offer us a feminine look at this epic).
A vrai dire, elle illumine tout le livre de sa jeunesse, de sa vivacité, elle est la plus charnelle des femmes que Jack met en scène. Je dirais même qu’elle est la première teenager de l’histoire de la littérature. L’adolescence telle que nous l’entendons est née à l’ère du «baby boom». En ce sens, les années 1950 en Occident ont été «les plus jeunes» du XXe siècle. LuAnne anticipait tout cela, elle incarnait les jeunes filles entre 15 et 20 ans qui, dans les décennies suivantes, allaient conquérir leur indépendance et se lancer à leur tour sur les routes du monde. (To tell the truth, she illuminates the whole book with her youth, her vivacity, she is the most sensual of the women that Jack portrays. I would even say that she is the first teenager in the history of literature. Adolescence as we understand it was born in the era of the “baby boom”. In this sense, the 1950s in the West were “the youngest” of the 20th century. LuAnne anticipated all of this, she embodied the young girls between the ages of 15 and 20 who, in the following decades, would conquer their independence and in turn launch themselves on the roads of the world).
More female neglect – Nolan Kelley at Hyperallergic on Diane Di Prima and her recently-published Spring and Autumn Annals – “Diane di Prima’s Autobiographical Works Never Received The Same Attention As Her Poetry”
The Bob Dylan Center, The Bob Dylan Archives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, opening next week (well, actually, May 10th) to great anticipation.