Jack Kerouac: Collected Poems

Library of America; Jack Kerouac Collected Poems

Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell editor

Aug 30, 2012

Jack Kerouac was like a man observing his river, sitting in the rain, letting it soak through his clothes, his skin, his being, his self; a man weighed down, feeling the cold, his tears as opaque as his heart. He was a Catholic man, “I’m a Catholic all along. I was really kidding Gary Snyder. Boy, they’re so gullible;” he was a man imbued with service and sacrifice; he was a lover of God invested in the purification of the soul to be made ready for the resurrection of the dead; yet he was a creature confused by the conflicting pulls between loving and dying, willful individualism and martyrdom…

…“Remember above all things, Kid, that to write is not/ difficult, not painful, that it comes out of you/ with ease… don’t mind critics, don’t/ mind the stuffy academic theses of scholars, they/ don’t know what they’re talking about, they’re way/ off the track, they’re cold…

“You’ll never know what you wanted to say about something till you’re scribbling furiously into it, reaching the center, then scribbling out again. This is BLOWING…

“Dreams and daydreams happen in the present tense, show the scene and go. This is your chapter. Chapters should be Blowing Sessions, like the Jazz Musician his chorus before it’s begun is done forever. Why Jazz is Great./ But writers go on changing words and halting and erasing and rearranging chapters and fouling up their crystal…For if you want to write about Things, write like Things, spontaneously & purely…

“There is chaos, but not in/ you, not way down deep in your heart, no chaos,/ only ease, grace, beauty, love, greatness… please Kid, do not forget yourself; save/ that, save that, preserve yourself; turn out those/ mean little old tales by the dozens, it is easy,/ it is grace, do it American-wise, drive it home.”

About the Editor

Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell, editor, is a poet, painter, and short story writer who was born and grew up in Haiti and France. She has been the recipient of numerous grants and prizes, and is the author of the poetry collection Crossroads and Unholy Water and The Company of Heaven: Stories from Haiti.

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