My full-length book, Where We Think It Should Go, can be yours via Octopus Books, Small Press Distribution, or Amazon. We better celebrate these hard copies while we can. When I'm not writing poetry, I teach amazing young people who are blind. I believe in a healthier future.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Beaten Down

I was reading this article off and on for a few days at my kitchen table, and it's the best thing of anything I've read in a long time. It's a piece in the New Yorker (also on the website). Louis Menand is amazing. I trust that I will like where he’s going. This article, criticism at large, ends pretty magnificently, especially if you skip ahead. But yeah, Kerouac did write On the Road on one continuous scroll of paper in three weeks (which kind of paper he discusses in the video), but he was planning it for years. He went on the road to be able to write it. After typing the first draft, "He immediately retyped the book on regular paper, and then spent six years revising it." Read the article. It makes me want to reread the book. Menand discusses how the "beat" stereotype is nothing like Ginsberg, Kerouac, or their contemporaries really were. Beat came from "beaten down." I loved reading about being beaten down: the meaning of "beat" changing, fleshing out. It's like when I understood the word "plastic." Today my students didn't believe me.

Also great is the appearance of Kerouac on the Steve Allen Show, referred to in the Menand piece. You, of course, can watch it on youtube.


Lily said...


Today I started reading this article at MY kitchen table. Also, yesterday I discovered that two New Yorkers arrived on the same day. One was on the floor of the entryway of my apt building, the other was in the mailbox proper.


Ashley said...

Hi Claire, I'm considering picking up some of Menand's writings. Did you both go to Pomona?

Claire said...

Yes, we did both go to Pomona. You should check him out.