A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Jack Kerouac’s paean to San Francisco.
Jack Kerouac (born Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) was an American novelist and poet.
He is considered a literary iconoclast and, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, a pioneer of the Beat Generation. Kerouac is recognized for his method of spontaneous prose. Thematically, his work covers topics such as Catholic spirituality, jazz, promiscuity, Buddhism, drugs, poverty, and travel. He became an underground celebrity and, with other beats, a progenitor of the hippie movement, although he remained antagonistic toward some of its politically radical elements.
In 1969, at age 47, Kerouac died from internal bleeding due to long-term alcohol abuse. Since his death Kerouac’s literary prestige has grown and several previously unseen works have been published. His books include The Town and the City, On the Road, Doctor Sax, The Dharma Bums, Mexico City Blues, The Subterraneans, Desolation Angels, Visions of Cody, The Sea Is My Brother, and Big Sur.
While he is best known for his novels, Kerouac is also noted for his poetry written during the Beat movement. Kerouac stated that he wanted “to be considered as a jazz poet blowing a long blues in an afternoon jazz session on Sunday.” Many of Kerouac’s poems follow the style of his free-flowing, uninhibited prose, also incorporating elements of jazz and Buddhism.
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