Bukowski on Jack Kerouac?

I have read bukowski referencing Jack Kerouac on occasion in his writing, but it is never in a good way or a bad way. Do any of you know what Bukowski thought of Jack Kerouac and his writing?

thanks
 

CarversDog

RIP
Over 500 posts
He took a couple swipes at Kerouac in "Hollywood" but then somewhere else (I think in "Tales of Ordinary Madness") he wrote admirably of Kerouac, though I believe in reference to Kerouac's infleunce by Rimbaud and Celine.
 
In Notes, in the Cassady column, he writes about Kerouac a little. I think also in the often-quoted political rant he writes about the beats more generally. I always got the idea that Buk didn't much care for Kerouac?

From Notes, "Kerouac had set him up for the sucker punch and Neal had bit, kept biting. but you know Neal was o.k. and another way of looking at it, Jack had only written the book, he wasn't Neal's mother. just his destructor, deliberate or otherwise" (24).
 

Johannes

Founding member
Over 1000 posts
In "Beerspit Night and Cursing" he writes something like Kerouac has set back the standards for 50 years. Not verbatim, but it was plain negativ.
 

vodka

Miss Take
Over 500 posts
i hope he wasn't talking about Kerouac's poetry if he's talking about setting standards. that stuff was god awful.
 

Father Luke

Founding member
Over 1000 posts
In "Beerspit Night and Cursing" he writes something like Kerouac has set back the standards for 50 years. Not verbatim, but it was plain negativ.
i hope he wasn't talking about Kerouac's poetry if he's talking about setting standards. that stuff was god awful.

He may have been talking about the hemorrhaging.

"Kerouac died on October 21, 1969 at St.
Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida from
an internal hemorrhage at the age of 47, the
unfortunate result of a life of heavy drinking, seen
by some as a way to overcome his shyness." (cite)

Bukowski's hemorrhage was in April of '54.

Then there is this. . .
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pull_My_Daisy
 

poptop

Over 500 posts
....From Notes, "Kerouac had set him up for the sucker punch and Neal had bit, kept biting. but you know Neal was o.k. and another way of looking at it, Jack had only written the book, he wasn't Neal's mother. just his destructor, deliberate or otherwise" (24).
Thanks for posting this quote. I remember the Notes column very well, and remember feeling that Bukowski felt strongly that Kerouac had glorified Neal in a way that Neal could never possibly live up to. It was a huge monkey on his back and it probably helped destroy him... Kerouac did him no favor. The irony of that column (originally written for Open City or the L.A Free Press in the late 60s, I do believe) is that although Bukowski was never a Beat writer, it was HE who ended up writing the best and most realistic tribute that Neal could ever have - that Neal was an okay guy - rather than the tribute having come from one of the Beat writers right after Neal died. And that's about the only connection that Bukowski had with the Beats that I can see - writing briefly about one of their heroes.

As for the Kerouac's writings, I'm sure Bukowski read something of it or he wouldn't have had such strong feelings about how Kerouac had portrayed Neal. I hope so, because On the Road and Dharma Bums are beautifully written, inspiring and flowing works of art. They had considerable influence at the time, turning Kerouac into a cultural icon, and they are particularly great reading when one is young. ("Hit the road! Life is an adventure! Enjoy the moment! Spontaneous sex is okay!")

The problem is that Kerouac didn't seem to be able to live up to the freedom of spirit he wrote about when young in his later life, and died a truly pitiful alcoholic in his mid-40s, reverting back to his Catholic roots rather than his Zen philosophy, a man who appeared to be completely sentimentally attached and emotionally dependent on his mother. So much of what Kerouac wrote wasn't somehow real, perhaps in the same way that his portrait of Neal in On the Road wasn't real, and Bukowski finally set the record straight. He was one of the few people who saw what Neal was beyond Kerouac's glorified image of this essentially blue-collar guy. Yes, there's a beautiful irony in there somewhere that the gods had Bukowski step in for the final word. The Notes column was heartfelt and that's what made it memorable.
 

roni

Over 5000 posts
i hope he wasn't talking about Kerouac's poetry if he's talking about setting standards. that stuff was god awful.
do i get this wrong b/c of being no native speaker?

i had thought, when he said "Kerouac has set back the standards for 50 years" - this would mean, he was going into the past with the standerds he 'set', not into the future. and thus would be Against Kerouac.

- ?
 

Father Luke

Founding member
Over 1000 posts
i hope he wasn't talking about Kerouac's poetry if he's talking about setting standards. that stuff was god awful.
do i get this wrong b/c of being no native speaker?

i had thought, when he said "Kerouac has set back the standards for 50 years" - this would mean, he was going into the past with the standerds he 'set', not into the future. and thus would be Against Kerouac. - ?
I wouldn't presume to talk for her, but I think that vodka was specifically referring to his poetry, rather than his entire body of work. That's the distinction.
winking0001.gif
 

Johannes

Founding member
Over 1000 posts
do i get this wrong b/c of being no native speaker?

i had thought, when he said "Kerouac has set back the standards for 50 years" - this would mean, he was going into the past with the standerds he 'set', not into the future. and thus would be Against Kerouac.

- ?
That's what I meant. I will give you the exact quote as soon as I'll have the book near again.
 
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The irony of that column (originally written for Open City or the L.A Free Press in the late 60s, I do believe) is that although Bukowski was never a Beat writer, it was HE who ended up writing the best and most realistic tribute that Neal could ever have -
surely you jest
 
of all the Beat writters the only one Bukowski wrote about with any real respect was neal. I get the feeling that one of the main reasons he didn't seem to like Kerouac was becuase of what he did to Neal. with on the road he drew a portrait of Neal that he couldn't possibly live up to. I think that played a major role in eventual demise of Neal cassady. In a way i agree with Buk's quote about setting standards back 50 years but at the same time i'm a big fan of alot of Jack's work namely "on the road" and the Dharma bums". i also agree that the "notes.." column is the best and most realistic tribute cassady could have. like always Bukowski told it as it was not how he wanted it to be.
 

the only good poet

One retreat after another without peace.
Over 500 posts
there's a poem in At terror street where kerouac gets at mention. i believe it's called Voices. capote disliked kerouac. bukowski disliked capote and keroauc. something like that. it's all gossip.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
Over 1000 posts
I love On The Road, but his poetry, by and large, is complete and utter trash.

There's some gems but overall it sucks. Drugs + an editor who'll publish anything you shit out onto a page is a bad combination. Kerouac was only truly good when he took the time to edit his works. On The Road, Dharma Bums... not much else.
 

Black Swan

Abord the Yorikke!
Over 1000 posts
i'd want to get a hold of one of kerouac's poems.
10th Chorus Mexico City Blues


The great hanging weak teat of India
on the map
The Fingernail of Malaya
The Wall of China
The Korea Ti-Pousse Thumb
The Salamander Japan
the Okinawa Moon Spot
The Pacific
The Back of Hawaiian Mountains
coconuts
Kines, balconies, Ah Tarzan--
And D W Griffith
the great American Director
Strolling down disgruntled
Hollywood Lane
-- to toot Nebraska,
Indian Village New York,
Atlantis, Rome,
Peleus and Melisander,
And

swans of Balls

Spots of foam on the ocean
 

anna101

Over 100 posts
NEBRASKA
April
doesnt hurt here Like it does in New England The ground Vast and brown Surrounds
dry towns Located in the dust Of the coming locust
Live
for survival, not for "kicks"
Be
a bangtail describer, like of shrouded traveler in Textile tenement &
the
birds fighting in yr
ears-like Burroughs
exact to describe &
gettin
$
The
Angry Hunger (hunger is anger) who fears the hungry feareth the angry)
And
so I came home To Golden far away Twas on the horizon Every blessed day As we
rolled
And we rolled From Donner tragic Pass Thru April in Nevada
And
out Salt City Way
Into the dry Nebraskas
And sad Wyomings
Where young
girls
And pretty lover boys With Mickey Mantle eyes
Wander
under moons Sawing in lost cradle And Judge O Fasterc Passes whiggling by
To
ask of young love:
,,Was it the same wind
Of April Plains eve
that
ruffled the dress Of my lost love Louanna In the Western Far off night Lost as
the whistle Of the passing Train Everywhere West Roams moaning The deep basso
- Vom! Vom! - Was it the same love Notified my bones
As mortify yrs now Children
of the soft Wyoming April night? Couldna been! But was! But was!"
And
on the prairie The wildflower blows In the night
For bees & birds
And
sleeping hidden
Animals of life.
The
Chicago Spitters in the spotty street Cheap beans, loop,
Girls made eyes at
me
And I had 35
Cents in my jeans -
Then
Toledo Springtime starry Lover night
Of hot rod boys
And cool girls
A
wandering A wandering In search of April pain
A plash of rain Will not dispel

This fumigatin hell
Of lover lane
This park of roses
Blue as bees
In
former airy poses In aerial O Way hoses No tamarand
And figancine
Can
the musterand
Be less kind Sol - Sol - Bring forth yr
Ah Sunflower -
Ah
me Montana Phosphorescent Rose And bridge in fairly land I'd understand it all
that's a head trip. i don't know what to think.
 

Purple Stickpin

Over 5000 posts
Indeed. He wrote The Subterraneans in a single writing spur on a benzedrine high on a roll of toilet paper. A very good book; very stream of conciousness. Reading it is like listening to old jazz records. Dharma Bums is better. On the Road is OK at best. Not sure why that made such a splash.

Desolation Angels is pretty good, as a later book. Kerouac went very so far up and down. He loved Ginsberg, and we all know what Buk thought of ole Allen. All in all, Kerouac got me into the beats, and that got me into people who knew Buk. So, that's a strong reference. I need to remember that forever.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
Over 1000 posts
Indeed. He wrote The Subterraneans in a single writing spur on a benzedrine high on a roll of toilet paper. A very good book; very stream of conciousness. Reading it is like listening to old jazz records.
I think I have to re-read Subterraneans... I didn't get it, maybe. I really liked On The Road. Really romanticized, sure, but... excluding Selby, I do better with punctuation.

Dharma Bums is my favorite though...
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Over 1000 posts
I disagree with some of you on the worth of Kerouac's poetry. Sometimes it's sheer genius. His American Haiku are simple and fine.

My favorite novel of his is Tristessa. Spiritual, pure, short.
 
I disagree with some of you on the worth of Kerouac's poetry. Sometimes it's sheer genius. His American Haiku are simple and fine.
Spot on! I couldn't agree with you more, David. As a poet Buk may have been more consistent, but Kerouac's genius shone through some of his poetry, too. Yes, many of his American Haiku are beautiful and to hear him read them out loud accompanied by Zoot Sims and Al Cohn is just fantastic.
 

mjp

Your Host
Moderator
Founding member
Over 5000 posts
I disagree with some of you on the worth of Kerouac's poetry. Sometimes it's sheer genius. His American Haiku are simple and fine.
He wrote good Haiku? That's like being the best Cricket player in your American high school. Who cares? ;)

I guess I'm not a fan of art as math exercise. "You asshole, that's too many syllables!" You guys can have it.

As for Kerouac - never has anyone been celebrated for doing so little great work.

Wait, that's not true. I forgot about J.D. Salinger...
 
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