Highlighting a lesser-known aspect of one of America's most influential authors, this new collection displays Jack Kerouac's interest in and mastery of haiku. Experimenting with this compact poetic genre throughout his career, Kerouac often included haiku in novels, correspondence, notebooks, journals, sketchbooks, and recordings. In this collection, Kerouac scholar Regina Weinreich supplements an incomplete draft of a haiku manuscript found in Kerouac's archives with a generous selection of Kerouac's other haiku, from both published and unpublished sources. With more than 500 poems, this is a must-have volume for Kerouac enthusiasts everywhere.
About the Author:
Jack Kerouac's most famous novel, On the Road, was published in 1957 and established him as one of the primary voices of the Beat Generation. In addition to his famous novels, he worked in several poetry traditions including sonnets, odes, and blues.
Regina Weinreich teaches in the Department of Humanities and Sciences at the School of Visual Arts in New York and has published widely in a range of periodicals. She is the author of Kerouac's Spontaneous Poetics: A Study of the Fiction.
Kerouac's characteristically sloppy spontaneity inspired a hip version of haiku poetry called "pops," which he defined in Some of the Dharma as "3-line poems or 'pomes' rhyming or non-rhyming delineating 'little Samadhis' if possible, usually of a Buddhist connotation, aiming towards enlightenment." Among a profusion of banal observations, the more enlightening pops were written around 1956 while Kerouac worked as a patrolman on Desolation Peak in Washington's North Cascades ("Desolation, Desolation, / So hard / To come down off of"). Those who have heard the recording of Kerouac trading off haiku with Zoot Sims on saxophone know that analyzing Kerouac's peculiar brand of language riff is futile. It's simply the nostalgia for the Beat vision that makes reading this book a pleasure.