Kerouac and the Beat Generation

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”Jack Kerouac, On the Road

PART 1 Dear students, it’s the end of our  English class together and  (quoting Shakespeare) “the wheel has come full circle”. We ended up last year with the Romantic poets like Blake and Shelley so dear to the beatnik writers. We started our new year with O. Wilde.

As usual while I was preparing your next lesson I had a look at You Tube and found some incredible videos. I find it so amazing when I can “give VOICE, MUSIC & FACES” to all the concepts and books I had studied and read but never … seen alive if not in my imagination. Your approach to this topic and this last author of ours is going to be so different from mine. You can now hear Kerouac’s voice while he reads his own work ( so fundamental to appreciate the “beat” and flow!), you can  see him and the images of New York in the background, you can have it explained sitting at your desk and have a taste of Jazz music. I really hope you’ll appreciate all this and one day…while driving around the USA, you’ll … remember your “crazy” teacher of English 🙂

Dal programma Cult Book in italiano ( la pronuncia di Kerouac e’ errata. Corretta = Keruac) una breve introduzione in italiano.

The next videos an American introduction to the author and book. ““I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” TAKE NOTES to report in class

PART 2 JACK KEROUAC AND ON THE ROAD:

This is the link to the GOOGLE MAP of Kerouac’s On the Road

http://tiny.cc/mwo25y

Jack Kerouac, interviewed by William F. Buckley Jr. from a documentary on the soul of the Beat Generation. Beat, (a)politics, (non)hippies, drunkenness and television.. “Everything is going to the beat — It’s the beat generation, it be-at, it’s the beat to keep, it’s the beat of the heart, it’s being beat and down in the world and like old-time lowdown and like in ancient civilizations the slave boatmen rowing galleys to a beat and servants spinning pottery to a beat…” Jack Kerouac – Desolation Angels

Kerouac reading the last page of “On the Road” with pictures of Jack and Neal.

I even came across a video of Johnny Depp reading Kerouac ( you never know what you’ll end up with while searching YouTube!!), a strange interpretation of his philosophy of  living for “kicks”. It certainly conveys that psychedelic atmosphere. The first line is Ginsbergs America, the rest is Depp reading Kerouacs Mexico City Blues Chorus 113″ (an excerpt from the film the United States of Poetry by Washington Square Films.)

Un articolo del Corriere della Sera come doveroso omaggio a Fernanda Pivano che ci ha lasciati il 18 agosto 2009 e grazie alla quale l’Italia ha conosciuto gli scrittori e la letteratura americana. Una grande donna, non so se ne parlerete mai in Italiano ma non può venire dimenticata! Famosa è la sua intervista a kerouac ubriaco.

I cannot help adding also some stunning photos of Big Sur. I drove from L.A. to San Francisco in 1988 and still haven’t forgotten those fantastic views. Should you go to California one day you cannot miss the City Light Bookstore in San Francisco

Trailer of the movie (2012) directed by Walter Salles featuring Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Alice Braga, Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge, Danny Morgan, Elisabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst, and Viggo Mortensen.

PART 3: I’m now adding two videos we’ll watch in class. The first is the poem AMERICA by Allen Ginsberg with the music of Tom Waits.

The next “Howl” is a poem written by Allen Ginsberg in 1955. The poem is considered to be one of the great works of the Beat Generation. “Howl” was originally written as a performance piece, but it was later published by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books. The poem was originally considered to be obscene, and Ferlinghetti was arrested and charged with its publication. On October 3, 1957, Judge Clayton W. Horn ruled that the poem was not obscene.

TASK: After finishing our module on the Beat Generation leave your “last optional” comment of your High School English literature class 😉

Thanks a million! Cimy

W.BLAKE 2 Lamb & Tyger

SESSION 2:  Here’s the poem The Lamb from Songs of Innocence

Here’s Tyger Tyger from The Songs of Experience

Very impressive is also the musical version by The BARDS

In the next video by the British Library Michael Phillips demonstrates William Blake’s printing process, explaining how it relates to his work as a poet and artist. Filmed at Morley College, London.

TRIVIA & EXPANSION: You now Know – after Dylan’s Nobel Prize ceremony when she sang his A hard Rain’s Gonna Fall, who Patty Smith is. I went to her concert in Bologna when I was your age and she was in Italy performing last year. Here she reads ‘The Tyger’ during a benefit concert for the museum Wadsworth Atheneum on October 20, 2011.

If you’re a fan of the crime series The Mentalist Blake was even quoted in one of its episodes 🙂

TASK: COMMENT ( as ORAL TESTING) Which of the two poems The Lamb & The Tyger did you like best and why? 

NB: do not repeat what  already said by your schoolmates. READ the previous comments. Rather than repeating, COMMENT by agreeing or disagreeing and ADDING something new. Thanks!