Friday, 16 January 2009

Excerpt from 'Dharma Bums' - On Poets

'They were all meeting in the bar and getting high. But as they stood and sat around I saw that he was the only one who didn't look like a poet, though poet he was indeed. The other poets were either hornrimmed intellectual hepcats with wild black hair like Alvah Goldbook, or delicate pale handsome poets like Ike O'Shay (in a suit), or out-of-this-world genteel-looking Renaissance Italians like Francis DaPavia (who looks like a young priest), or bow-tied wild-haired old anarchist fuds like Rheinhold Cacoethes, or big fat bespectacled quiet booboos like Warren Coughlin. And all the other hopeful poets were standing around, in various costumes, worn-at-the-sleeves corduroy jackets, scuffly shoes, books sticking out of their pockets. But Japhy was in rough workingman's clothes he'd bought secondhand in Goodwill stores to serve him on mountain climbs and hike and for sitting in the open at night, for campfires, for hitchhiking up and down the coast.'
(Kerouac, The Dharma Bums p.13)

I read this while sitting on the train going to work. I really like the different images of poets and the difference between the upper-class intellectual and the scruffy working class poet.


Luis Blasini said...

I think Kerouac was one of the best writers to come out of the 20th century. Old Bull Burroughs is my favorite! Great writing by the way - been reading for a time, thought I would say "Howdy" from across the pond.

Adalia said...

Wow...very interesting portrayal of poets. Makes you see comparisons you normally would dash from your head, labeling them "generalizations".

Thanks for sharing, Michael!