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Sunday, March 31, 2013


Another Hanuman book I'm blessed to have -- thank you, jim mccrary -- is SAFE IN HEAVEN DEAD, a collection of interview-excerpts curated by Michael White. 

Mr. White describes the project in his Introduction as "a brief glimpse of Kerouac tossing a few more words into the void."  I'm glad I was in the way of the tosses, though.  There are gems in this 3" x 4" book.  Some of Moi's favorites come from "The Art of Fiction XLI: Jack Kerouac," The Paris Review, No. 43, Summer 1968:
All my editors since Malcolm Cowley have had instructions to leave my prose exactly as I wrote it. In the days of Malcolm Cowley, with On The Road and The Dharma Bums, I had no power to stand by my style for better or for worse. Malcolm Cowley made endless revisions and inserted thousands of needless commas. I spent $500 making the complete restitution of the Bums manuscript and got a bill from Viking Press called "Revisions." ...

You simply give the reader the actual workings of your mind during the writing itself: you confess your thoughts about events in your own unchangeable way...did you ever hear a guy telling a long wild tale to a bunch of men in a bar and all are listening and smiling, did you ever hear that guy stop to revise himself, go back to a previous sentence to improve it, to defray its rhythmic thought iimpact...he's passed over it like a part of the river flows over a rock once and for all and never returns and can never flow any other way in time? Incidentally, as for  my bug against periods, that was for the prose in October in the Railroad Earth, very experimental, intended to clack along all the way like a steam engine pulling a 100-car freight with a talky caboose at the end, that was my way at the time and it still can be done if th ethining during the swift writing is confessional and pure and all excited with the life of it. And be sure of this, I spent my entire youth rehashing, speculating and deleting and got so I was writing one sentence a day and the sentence had no FEELING. Goddamn it, FEELING is what I like in art, not CRAFTINESS and the hiding of feelings."

What about jazz and bop as influences?
Yes, jazz and bop, in the sense of a, say, a tenor man drawing a breath and blowing a phrase on his saxophone, till he runs out of breath, and when he does, his sentence, his statement's been made...that's how I therefore separate my sentences, as breath separations of the mind...I formulated the theory of breath as measure, in prose and verse, never mind what Olson, Charles Olson says, I formulated that theory in 1953 at the request of Burroughs and Ginsberg. Then there's the raciness and freedom and humor of jazz instead of all that dreary analysis.

And so where shall we "shelve" Kerouac's heavenly book?  Well, why  not on one of the chairs from the diaspora?!  After all, Kerouac was ever ... on the road ...

Sorry, couldn't resist that on the road crack.  But, also, I like how the sunflowers pick up on the yellow and gold on the Hanuman book cover.  Gold -- the Buddhist color for enlightenment...

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