Dante Gabriel Rossetti reading proofs of Sonnets and Ballads to Theodore Watts Dunton in the drawing room at 16 Cheyne Walk, London; gouache, 1882
Daily Thoughts 6/3/2009
For Jack Kerouac
I'll become a sailor
Write my way on a merchant steamer
Then wander along roads
I have started reading The Beats A Graphic History, a considerable amount of the text is by Harvey Pekar, there are even a few pictures of Harvey talking in the stories, and the cover art is by Ed Piskor.
For some reason, I can't turn off the bold text in the Blogger editor right now.
There it is starting to work again.
For Kenneth Rexroth
Rexroth where are you?
A candle that others do not see
A light in the corner
The Beats A Graphic History was on the New York Times bestseller list for graphic novels. It is interesting if not a bit disturbing. It tells the stories of the major beat writers; Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac. There are also numerous other people covered like Robert Creely, Diane Di Prima, Kenneth Rexroth, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and others.
The book does not just cover the lives of the writers, it also includes the story of City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, and a bit on art and music (especially jazz poetry) that coexisted with poetry and writing. There is also a short section on women and the beats. It even mentions Bob Kaufman my favorite beat poet in a line or two here and there.
The stories are often graphic, violent, and disturbing. They are not expurgated. They often tell tales of people who are lost, wandering, doing drugs, taking risks, and living on the wilder side of life. Many of the biographies are set in Greenwich Village in Manhattan and San Francisco.
The graphic novel does not attempt to criticize the writers writing. It is more focused on what happened in their lives. The art in the graphic novel very much matches the styles. It represents some of the better comics lit artists. Some of the artists who drew the stories are interesting. Ed Piskor drew the cover. A few of the artists are Lance Tooks, Jay Kinney, and Peter Kuper.
The graphic novel was the kind of book you can read in an afternoon. I read it on the train.