Jack Kerouac and Hart Crane’s Proclamations

 [Hart Crane  (1899-1932) standing in fromt of The Brooklyn Bridge]

AG: So it’s one assertion, or one, say, magisterial mind –  The (very) last chorus [Chorus 242] of Mexico City Blues. Now, recapping from (Jack) Kerouac‘s magisterial point-of-view – instructions for creating a liberated society – (what was the phrase used by (Chogyam) Trungpa last night (sic)?, the name of Naropa?) – the creation of an enlightened society): “The sound in your mind/is the first sound/that you could sing/ If you were singing/at a cash register/with nothingon yr mind – / But when … Read More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 228

From the interesting collection – Literary Ephemera – 14 Postcards From Popular Authors:

 – “Dear Ed (White) – Sorry we keep missing each other, love to Justin. I have been occupied learning music, recording new original songs, collecting all my old recent poetry, returning from traveling. I just haven’t had time to stop & renew nostalgia everywhere – fancied – see you one xmas or another soon I hope – Saw a little magazine with one of your letters of Jack [Kerouac]. I visited his mother and widow in St Petersburg this year, [1970] finally, & sang them Blake’s Read More

Clark Coolidge on Jack Kerouac


 [Clark Coolidge]


NAROPA’s Summer Session concluded this week and one highlight was the series of lectures delivered by the poet Clark Coolidge on Allen – “Allen Ginsberg – Poet”. We hope to include transcripts of some of that material here, in the months ahead, on The Allen Ginsberg Project.  Meanwhile, looking back to 1982, here’s a transcript of Coolidge’s talk at the legendary Twenty-Five Year Anniversary of On The Road – Jack Kerouac Conference (We’ve already included selections from those festivities here, here amd here – not forgetting here and here)  One session (see hereRead More

Friday’s Weekly Round-Up – 226


[Thaddeus Marshall – Photograph by Teresa Marshall Hale – courtesy Mark Giordano]

A wonderful thing – “On July 18, in a moment of belated poetic justice, a stone will be laid on the otherwise unmarked grave of Thaddeus Marshall, an African-American street vendor from Rutherford, N(ew) J(ersey), noting his unsung contribution to American Literature” (from Jennifer Schusessler’s illuminating article in last Monday’s New York Times – “The Forgotten Man Behind William Carlos Williams’ s Red Wheelbarrow”)   Schusessler spotlights William Logan‘s exhaustive research into the poem in the current Parnassus (including his uncovering of the identity … Read More

Haiku and Desolation Angels



..tape begins in media res with Allen writing on the blackboard – “building on the ground, the film in.. (the) film crackling in plastic bags..under plastic bags in a breathing class” –  

(He continues reading his own short haiku-like poems)
Nagasaki Day– “Blue sky cumulus clouded  over the white plutonium plant /Rocky Flats mountains ridge west, Denver below in morning sun/ walking off with police and photographers”
Golden Court – “Waiting for the Judge, breathing silent/Prisoners, witnesses, Police/the stenographer yawns into her palms” – That’s the … Read More

Keats, Shakespeare and Kerouac (A Query)



[Jack Kerouac] 


John Keats


William Shakespeare

Student: Allen, wouldn’t you say that a lot of the British poems written in (the) English language (are, formally, tight)?

AG: Until this century, yes. ‘Tis is a craft, sir. To be able to…  (and) (let’s see you do this!). This (too) [Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues] is a craft – the craft of observation of mind. The discipline here is the discipline of observation of mind accurately – accurate, precise, observation of mind.
Student: But it sounds (initially, without a) sense of craft and, (clearly), it took a long time to get … Read More

Jack Kerouac and Kenneth Patchen

Student: Would you put down Kenneth Patchen’s  The Journal of Albion Midnight in that kind of [internalized subjective exploration] category?

AG:  I haven’t read it in so long, but I think that The Journal of Albion Moonlight does not quite have as much central focus point. See, this whole book (Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues) is about the mind and the language of the mind, the language that you hear in the mind. I don’t remember what the subject of.. Journal of Albion Moonlight was, but I have a feeling it was just quixotic thoughts, and quixotic, somewhat … Read More

Mexico City Blues – 7


[Gore Vidal]


[“Dem eggs & dem dem/Dere bacons”]

[“..be boppy/be buddy/I didn’t took/I could think/So/bepo/beboppy..”]


[William Carlos Williams]

AG: I’m just trying to check through the things (in Jack Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues) that are exemplary of pure poetry

“”Darling!”/Red hot,/That kind of camping/I don’t object to/unless it’s kept/within reason” – You got that? – “”Darling!”/Red hot,/That kind of camping/I don’t object to/unless it’s kept/within reason./ “The coffee is delicious.”/
This is for Vidal./ Didn’t know I was.a Come-Onner, did you? (Come-on-er)/ I am one of the world’s/Great Bullshitters,/Girls/  Very High Cantos.” – It’s whatever he thought. … Read More

Mexico City Blues Readings

In 1996, Shambhala Publications (for their Shambhala Lion Editions) produced a two-cassette audiobook (that ran for just under three hours) – Allen reading the entire Mexico City Blues. We’ve featured Allen reading from Mexico City Blues before (see this 1975 Naropa class –  and, as we mentioned there, by way of contrast, a later, 1988 Mexico City Blues class) Here‘s the first ten sections from the Shambhala recording             Here’s Gregory Corso reading from Mexico City Blues

Johnny Depp reading from Mexico City Blues

Kerouac himself reading 

and not forgetting this unforgettable Chorus – (211th Chorus – “The wheel Read More

Mexico CIty Blues – 6


[Henry Luce]

[“…And nobody cares how you hang/ Your spaghetti wash…”]

[Louis Armstrong]


[“..I want to go and live in the desert..”]

[“…One Thousand/Two hundred and fifty/Men/Sitting around a grove/of trees/Outsida town/right now/  With Buddha/is their leader/Discoursing in the middle,/Sitting lotus posture…”]

Allen’s notations on Jack Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues continues

“America is a permissible dream” – This is in (19)53, and Henry Luce was writing about the “American Century”, and Henry Luce was having lunch with John Foster Dullesevery week in Washington, and spreading the basic CIA moral American line through Time magazine and the Luce … Read More