Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jack Kerouac's house

The house where American writer Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) lived when On the Road was published and while he wrote The Dharma Bums is right here in Florida - at 1418 Clouser Avenue in the College Park section of Orlando. It is now the location of a writers-in-residence program and the interior has been restored to a 1950s condition. Along with novelist William S. Boroughs (1914-1997) and poet Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), Kerouac led the Beat Generation, a group of counterculture writers and artists who paved the way for the hippies who followed. Kerouac died 40 years ago this Fall of causes related to his alcoholism. He was faulted for his hard-drinking lifestyle, but has become a legend for his writing. (I went through a Beat phase and read all of Kerouac's books in high school, then took a publishing course in college by his biographer Ann Charters.) Of Kerouac, Beat poet Gary Snyder remembers, "His prose is outstandingly fresh, and it carried people along....He was lyrical in conversation....He just breathed life into words." You can listen here.

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