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Readers will be interested to know (at least, I presume they will), that Jack Kerouac has a page on MySpace featuring extracts from his writing and good, if familiar, photographs–as well as links to other sites about Ginsberg, Burroughs and Neal Cassady. If you want to have a look it’s located at: http://www.myspace.com/king_of_the_beats .

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John Sampas, executor of Jack Kerouac’s literary estate, has announced the publication of an “unexpurgated” version of “On The Road”. The estate has signed a contract with Viking to produce the book, tenatively scheduled to appear next year, which sees the fiftieth anniversary of the original publication, and–no doubt–a sleazy coroporate buckfest that puts even “Howl Fifty” in the shade.

Unexpurgated, I hear you ask? Yes. Many things were apparently removed from the original typescript when “Road” went into book form–some by Kerouac but probably many more by his publishers and his editor. He was viewed then–as he is now by the literary establishment–as a primitive whose style needed drastic pruning to make it intelligible to the world. And he wrote about things that were presumed not to be palatable to the tastes of the times. Couldn’t have a big book full of sex and drugs, now, could we? Nobody would buy that.

Sampas says sections of the typescript crossed out by Kerouac won’t be included in the unexpurgated version of the book. Can it then be considered truly unexpurgated? It seems doubtful. And I’m not sure how they intend to determine who crossed out what, though I’d be interested to know. Why not just give us the whole thing, including the deletions, noting that certain passages may have been excised by Jack so that we have a sense of what his final vision of the book may have been while also getting a valuable insight into his creative method and the flow of his mind? so that we can learn about the real man.

There is too much shaping and reshaping of history across all of the Beat estates, and I for one would like it to stop. These men were imperfect human beings who did things which, in our pallid and conservative age, most people would find unpalatable. But that is the truth from which some of the greatest writing of the modern age sprang. Lie about it and we’ll never understand anything.

It seems, after a little research, that Gerald Nicosia’s unsurpassed biography of Kerouac, “Memory Babe”, is now out of print in every country this writer is aware of other than (for some reason) Spain. How on earth did that happen? Those close to the politicking that poisons the Beat world know that Nicosia is not terrifically well-liked by the Kerouac Estate, but CHILDREN! this is the definitive work. Don’t you want your boy to be represented properly to posterity? Biographies, historically, have shaped the way a writer is perceived for generations.

Kerouac fans should write to publishers in their own countries and request a new edition of the book straight away. Aside from everything else it’s an injustice. You can pick up the Barry Miles or Tom Clark books everywhere, and though I’m sure their mothers loved them, neither author is a patch on Gerald Nicosia.

the fog thunders – we put
silver light on face – we
took the heroes in – a billion
years ain’t nothing

Write what you want bottomless from bottom of mind
You’re a genius all the time
Writer-director of Earthly movies sponsored

I want to be considered a jazz poet
blowing a long blues in an afternoon jam
session on Sunday. It take 242 choruses;
my ideas vary and sometimes roll from
chorus to chorus or from halfway through
a chorus to halfway into the next.

music is noise, poetry dirt

fifty pesos
3 cheers forever
It’s beautiful to be comfortable
Nirvana here I am

I demand that the human race cease multiplying its kind and bow out. I advise it.

I curse and rant nowadays because I don’t want to have to work to make a living and do childish work for other men (any lout can move a board from hither to yonder) but I’d rather sleep all day and stay up all night scrubbling these visions of the world which is only an ethereal flower of the world, the coal, the chute, the fire and ashes all, imaginary blossoms.

Artist or no artist, I can’t pass up a piece of fried chicken when I see it, compassion or no compassion for the fowl.

The central entire essence of which is dazzling radiant blissful ecstasy unending, the unbelievable truth that cracks open my head like an oyster.

I’d rather but thin than famous – but I’m fat
paste that in yr. Broadway show

My only possible statement on poetics and poetry is this: Add alluvials to the end of your line when all is exhausted but something has to be said for some specified irrational reason, since reason can never win out, because poetry is NOT a science. The rhythm of how you decide to "rush" yr statement determines the rhythm of the poem, whether it is a poem in verse-separated lines, or an endless one-line poem called prose (with its paragraphs).

So let there be no equivocation about statement, and if you think this is not hard to do, try it. You'll find that your lines are heavier than your intentions. And your confessions lighter than Heaven..

Otherwise, who wants to read?

~letter to Don Allen, fall 1959  (Heaven & Other Poems, City Lights Books 1977)

“On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars –
Something good will come out of all things yet – And it will be
golden and eternal just like that – There’s no need to say another
word.”
– Jack Kerouac, Big Sur