Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Book of Sketches

The latest posthumous release by Jack Kerouac is Book of Sketches. From the article I read in the Sunday Chicago Tribune by Gerald Nicosia: "Book of Sketches records the life of an outward failure, a man with no income and nothing to his name..." "...still stung by his sister's charge that he was a bum and had let down their widowed mother, he [Kerouac] writes, 'I am not a dead duck, not a criminal, a bum, an idiot, a fool -- but a great poet & a good man -- & now that's settled I will stop worrying about my position -- & -- concentrate on working for stakes on Sp. [Southern Pacific] RR so I can write in peace, get my innerworld lifework underway."

The writings in Book of Sketches span 1952-57, Kerouac's wandering years between the writing of On the Road and its publication. Kerouac appeals because he burned with a manic, lively, yet contemplative, lonely and misunderstood energy. And he loved America, loved its landscapes, the city cacophany of bowery San Francisco, the seaside pounding isolation of Big Sur or a lonely Washington fire lookout tower. Kerouac is a life-loving folk hero in the tradition of Whitman, Thoreau and Emerson. These men all loved life and wrote of that love with keen observational eyes.

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