Tag Archives: william burroughs

I Have Nothing to Offer Anybody-Jack Kerouac

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I Have Nothing to Offer Anybody

Jean-Louis “Jack” Lebris de Kerouac (play /ˈkɛruːæk/ or /ˈkɛrɵæk/; March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) was an American novelist and poet. He is considered a literary iconoclast and, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, a pioneer of the Beat Generation.  Kerouac is recognized for his spontaneous method of writing, covering topics such as Catholic spirituality, jazz, promiscuity, Buddhism, drugs, poverty, and travel. His writings have inspired other writers, including Ken Kesey, Bob Dylan, Eddie Vedder, Richard Brautigan, Thomas Pynchon, Lester Bangs, Tom Robbins and Will Clarke.  Kerouac became an underground celebrity and, with other beats, a progenitor of the Hippie movement, although he remained antagonistic toward it. In 1969, at age 47, Kerouac died from internal bleeding due to long-standing abuse of alcohol. Since his death Kerouac’s literary prestige has grown and several previously unseen works have been published. All of his books are in print today, among them: On the Road, Doctor Sax, The Dharma Bums, Mexico City Blues, The Subterraneans, Desolation Angels, Visions of Cody and Big Sur.

Beat Quotes

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Beat Quotes

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Beat Quotes

This is a good sized list of quotes by or pertaining to a beat author. Some of them are very deep, some of them all funny, and some make no sense whatsoever. Enjoy.


“There is no line between the ‘real world’ and ‘world of myth and symbol.’ Objects, sensations, hit with the impact of hallucination.”
-William Burroughs

“I’m running out of everything now. Out of veins, out of money.”
-William Burroughs

“Strip your psyche to the bare bones of spontaneous process, and you give yourself one chance in a thousand to make the Pass.”
-William Burroughs

“The charging restless mute unvoiced road keening in a seizure of tarpaulin power.”
-Jack Kerouac’s favorite line from On The Road

“Rather, I think one should write, as nearly as possible, as if he were the first person on earth and was humbly and sincerly putting on paper that which he saw and experienced and loved and lost; what his passing thoughts were and his sorrows and desires.”
-Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac

“Americans should know the universe itself as a road, as many roads, as roads for traveling souls.”
-Walt Whitman

“Neal, we’ll be real heroes now in a war between our cocks and time: let’s be the angels of the world’s desire and take the world to bed with us before we die.”
-Allen Ginsberg to Cassady on their sexual relation…lines from the poem The Green Automobile

“If you have a choice of two things and can’t decide, take both.” -Gregory Corso “The stone world came to me, and said Flesh gives you an hour’s life.”
-Gregory Corso

“If you believe you’re a poet, then you’re saved.”
-Gregory Corso

“In such places as Greenwich Village, a menage-a-trois was completed- the bohemian and the juvenile delinquent came face-to-face with the Negro, and the hipster was a fact in American life.”
-Norman Mailer

“Madness is confusion of levels of fact…Madness is not seeing visions but confusing levels.”
-William Burroughs

“I really believe, or want to believe, really I am nuts, otherwise I’ll never be sane.”
-Allen Ginsberg to Jack Kerouac

“Sure I’m old, and I’m evil, and I’m ugly, and I’m tired. But that isn’t it. I’ve been this way for ten years, and I’m all down the main line.”
-Herbert Huncke to Allen GInsberg

“Neal will leave you in the cold anytime it’s in his interest.”
-LuAnne Cassady (the 15 year old bride of Neal Cassady)

“Oh, smell the people!’ yelled Dean with his face out the window, sniffling. ‘Ah, God! Life!'”
-Jack Kerouac, On The Road

“Obviously the ‘purpose’ of the trip is carefully selected to symbolize the basic fact of purposelessness. Neal is, of course, the very soul of the voyage into pure, abstract meaningless motion. He is The Mover, compulsive, dedicated, ready to sacrifice family, friends, even his very car itself to the necessity of moving from one place to another.”
-William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg on Neal and his skeptical views of the man and voyage which spurred On The Road

“Love is all.’
-Jack Kerouac

“I went with him for no reason.”
-Jack Kerouac on Neal Cassady

“What’s your road, man? -holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It’s an anywhere road for anybody anyhow.”
-Neal Cassady as Dean Moriarty in On The Road

“Who are all these strange ghosts rooted to the silly little adventure of earth with me?”
-Jack Kerouac, on the final gathering/Snyders going away party

“The omlet fell apart, as with such eggs it must.”
-Wilifrid Sheed, on the San Francisco Renaissance Poets

“I am getting so far out one day I won’t come back at all.”
-William Burroughs

“Ginsby boy, he’s all over Oregon like horseshit howling his dirty pome.”
-Jack Kerouac on Allen Ginsberg

“I am beginning to think he is a great saint, a great saint concealed in a veneer of daemonism.”
-Jack Kerouac on Allen Ginsberg

“We are all trying to get the exact style of ouuselves.”
-Michael McClure on the San Francisco Renaissance

“To rebel! That is the immediate objective of poets! We can not wait and will not be held back…The “poetic marvelous” and the unconscious are the true inspirers of rebels and poets.”
-Philip Lamantia

“Around Jack there circulated a palpable aura of fame and death.”
-Gary Snyder on Jack Kerouac

“I want to create wilderness out of empire.”
-Gary Snyder

“I’m beat to the square, and square to the beat, and that’s my vocation.”
-William Everson aka Brother Antoninus

“We had gone beyond a point of no return- and we were ready for it, for a point of no return…We wanted voice and we wanted vision.”
-Michael McClure

“A reading is a kind of communion. The poet articulates the semi-known for the tribe.
-Gary Snyder

“I want your lingual SPONTINEITY or nothing else.”
-Jack Kerouac to Allen Ginsberg after reading Howl

“An army is an army against love.”
-Peter Orlovsky

“At that instant we looked into eachother’s eyes and there was a kind of celestial cold fire that crept over us and blazed up and illuminated the entire cafeteria and made it an eternal place.”
-Allen Ginsberg to William Burroughs on his new lover Peter Orlovsky

“I’ve been getting silly drunk again lately in Remo and discusting myself a la Subterraneans.”
-Jack Kerouac to William Burroughs

Jack Kerouac’s Translations of Buddhist Terms
Dharma: “truth law”
Nirvana: “blown-out-ness”
Tathata: “that which everything is”
Tathagata: “attainer to that which everything is”
Bodhisattva-Manasattvas: “beings of great wisdom”

“Kerouac’s version of Buddha is a dimestore incense burner, glowing and glowering sinisterly in the dark corner of a Beatnik pad and just thrilling the wits out of bad little girls.”
-Kenneth Rexroth

“I miss you so much your absence causes me, at times, accute pain. I don’t mean sexually. I mean in connection with my writing.”
-William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg

“I did no think I was hooked on him like this. The withdrawl symptoms are worse than the Marker habit. Tell Allen I plead guilty to vampirism and other crimes against life. But I love him and nothing else cancels love.”
-William Burroughs to Jack Kerouac on Ginsberg

“I have a strange feeling here of being outside any social context.”
-William Burroughs in Tangiers

“Not that Irwin wasn’t worthy of him but how on earth could they consumate this great romantic love with vaseline and K.Y.?”
-Jack Kerouac on Ginsberg and Burroughs relationship

“Between incomprehensible and incoherent sits the madhouse. I am not in the madhouse.”
-Jack Kerouac to Carl Solomon.

“I think all writers write for an audience. There is no such thing as writing for yourself.”
-William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg

“Usually he selected someone who could not reciprocate so that he was able-cautiously, like one who tests uncertain ice, though in this case the danger was not that the ice give way but that it might hold his weight-to shift the burden of not loving, of being unable to love, onto the partner.”
-Willam Burroughs on himself

“Avoid the world, it’s just a lot of dust and drag and means nothing in the end.”
-Jack Kerouac

“Al, I am a fucking saint, that is I been fucked by the Holy Ghost and knocked up with Immaculate Woid…I’m the third coming, me, and don’t know if I can do it again….so stand by for the Revelation.”
-William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg

“Suffice to say I just eat every 12 hours, sleep every 20 hours, masturbate every 8 hours and otherwise just sit on the train and stare ahead without a thought…”
-Neal Cassady

“Wherever I go I see myself in a mirror- it used to be my own selfblood, now it is god’s.”
-Allen Ginsberg

“Never deny the voice- no, never forget it, don’t get lost mentally wandering in other spirit worlds or American or job worlds or advertising worlds or earth worlds.”
-Allen Ginsberg’s vow to himself

“I want to be a saint, a real saint while I am young, for there is so much work to do.”
-Allen Ginsberg to Mark Van Doren

“The apparition of an evil, sick unconscious wild city rose before me in visible semblance, and about the dead buildings in the barren air, the bodies of the soul that built the wonderland shuffled and stalked and stalked and lurched in attitudes of immemorial nightmare all around.”
-Allen Ginsberg (his visions after reading Blake)

“I was so sick that I found myself worrying about the future of man’s soul, my own in paticular.”
-Allen Ginsberg

“Just a little boy who wants to be a novelist.”
-Alan Ansen’s description of Jack Kerouac

“Death hovers over my pencil…”
-Jack Kerouac

Pinned to Jack Kerouac’s wall to inspire his writing: “Art is the highest task and the proper metaphysical activity of this life.”
-Nietzsche

“I am going to marry my novels and have little short stories for children.”
-Jack Kerouac

“The fact was I had the vision…I think everyone has…what we lack is the method.”
-Jack Kerouac to Allen Ginsberg

“I detest limitations of any kind, and intend to establish my ass some place where I am a virgin on the police blotter.”
-William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg

“Naturally, I thought the guy was just kiddin.”
-Herbert Huncke, on Burrough’s request for a Viennese waltz

“Shooting is my principal pastime.”
-William Burroughs

“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.”
-Jack Kerouac to Neal Cassady

“Two piercing eyes glancing into two piercing eyes- the holy con-man with the shining mind, and the sorrowful poetic con-man with the dark mind.”
-Kerouac on the night Ginsberg and Cassady met

“I really dont know how much I can be be satisfied to love you, I mean bodily, you know, I somehow dislike pricks & men & before you, had conciously forced myself to be homosexual…I dont want to be unconsciously insincere by passing over my non-queerness to please you.”
-Neal Cassady to Allen Ginsberg on their sexual relationship

“Dont you remember how you made me stop trembling in shame and drew me to you? Don’t you know what I felt then, as if you were a saint…?”
-Allen Ginsberg to Neal Cassady

“Neal is awareness, mine is conciousness. The conciousness is shallow, awareness is all embracing.”
-Allen Ginsberg on Neal Cassady

“He came to the door stark naked and it might have been the President knocking for all he cared. He received the world in the raw.”
-Jack Kerouac on Neal Cassady

“I have thought of Neal as being a psychopath for quite some time. To me he is nothing more than a series of incidents.”
-John Clellon Holmes to Ginsberg

“I see no greatness in my self…I’m a simple-minded, child-like, insipid sort of moronic and kind of akward feeling adolescent.”
-Neal Cassady on himself

“I became the unnatural son of a few score of beaten men.”
-Neal Cassady

“For Neal sex was the one and only holy and important thing in life.”
-Jack Kerouac on Neal Cassady

“Cassady was sexually initiated at the age of nine. He accompanied his father to the home of a drinking buddy, whose oldest son led his brother and Neal in sexual intercourse with as many sisters as they could hold down. All boundaries of sexual decorum evaporated. Neal “sneak shared” women with his father, he slept with grandmothers and prepubescent girls in abandoned buildings, barns, and public toilets.”
-Steven Watson, Birth of the Beat Generation

“I alone, as the sharer of their way of life, presented a replica of childhood.”
-Neal Cassady

Email: haesuse@aol.com

Herbert Huncke, the Hipster Who Defined ‘Beat,’

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Herbert Huncke, the Hipster Who Defined ‘Beat,’

HERBERT HUNCKE AT THE CHELSEA HOTEL NEW VIDEO

 

Herbert Huncke

By Levi Asher on Wednesday, August 24, 1994 08:33 am

In his autobiographical novel ‘Junky,’ William S. Burroughs introduces himself into New York’s heroin underworld by selling a gun and a supply of morphine to two men named Roy and Herman. He describes Herman:

Waves of hostility and suspicion flowed out from his large brown eyes like some sort of television broadcast. The effect was almost like a physical impact. The man was small and very thin, his neck loose in the collar of his shirt. His complexion faded from brown to a mottled yellow, and pancake make-up had been heavily applied in an attempt to conceal a skin eruption. His mouth was drawn down at the corners in a grimace of petulant annoyance.

This was Herbert Huncke, who was born into a middle-class family in Greenfield, Massachusetts on January 9, 1915 and grew up in Chicago. As a teenager he was drawn to the underbelly of city life, and quickly began learning how to support himself as a professional drifter and small-time thief. A small and unthreatening lawbreaker, he embodied a certain honest-criminal ethic so purely that Burroughs and his friends came to love him for it. Jack Kerouac wrote adoringly of him (as Elmer Hassel) in On The Road, and Allen Ginsberg shared his New York City apartment with him, even though he realized Huncke and his junkie friends were storing stolen goods there. This phase ended in a dramatic police bust on Utopia Parkway in Bayside, Queens, during which Ginsberg frantically phoned Huncke and told him to “clean out the place” before the cops got there. Ginsberg arrived at his apartment moments ahead of the cops to find that Huncke had taken him literally. He’d tidied up and swept the floor, but the stolen goods were not moved. Ginsberg might not have been amused at the time, but there’s a certain Zen purity to this kind of thing that makes it clear why Burroughs, Ginsberg and Kerouac all liked Huncke so much.

Huncke was said to have introduced Kerouac to the term ‘beat,’ which Kerouac then used to describe his generation to John Clellon Holmes. Huncke does seem to have a way with words, because he later attempted to become a writer, and a story called ‘Elsie John,’ reprinted in ‘The Beat Reader,’ is surprisingly good. Still, I think it’s pushing it a bit that Huncke taught writing workshops at Ginsberg’s Naropa Institute poetry school. I wouldn’t go to Herbert Huncke to learn how to write anymore than I’d go to Allen Ginsberg to learn how to be a thief.

But his prose can be effective and fascinating, and there has been an increasing interest in Huncke as a writer in recent years. A superb collection of Huncke’s best writings, ‘The Herbert Huncke Reader,’ was published by William Morrow in September 1997, and filmmaker Laki Vazakas’s cinema verite documentary ‘Huncke and Louis‘ records for history the paradoxical life of a celebrated literary drug addict in old age. This film includes some heartbreaking scenes of the breakdown and death of Huncke’s longtime friend and companion Louis Cartwright, who was unable to walk the line of the addict’s life as gracefully as Huncke, and dies a lonely death. Huncke, the survivor, sits on the edge of a bed and sobs — and then goes on surviving.

I was never introduced to Herbert Huncke but I did see him “around town” a bit before he died on August 8, 1996 in a New York City hospital. Whenever I saw him, the first thought that would come to my mind was always “this is Elmer Hassel”.

 

 

Herbert Huncke, the Hipster Who Defined ‘Beat,’ Dies at 81

By ROBERT McG. THOMAS Jr.
Published: August 9, 1996

Herbert Huncke, the charismatic street hustler, petty thief and perennial drug addict who enthralled and inspired a galaxy of acclaimed writers and gave the Beat Generation its name, died yesterday at Beth Israel Hospital. He was 81.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said Jerry Poynton, his friend and literary executor.

Mr. Huncke had lived long enough to become a writer himself and a hero to a new generation of adoring artists and writers, not to mention a reproach to a right-thinking, clean-living establishment that had long predicted his imminent demise.

In an age when it was hip to be hip, Mr. Huncke (whose name rhymes with junkie) was the prototypical hipster, the man who gave William S. Burroughs his first fix, who introduced Jack Kerouac to the term beat and who guided them, as well as Allen Ginsberg and John Clellon Holmes, through the nether world of Times Square in the 1940’s.

 

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Herbert Huncke, the Hipster Who Defined ‘Beat,’
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They honored him in turn by making him an icon of his times. He became the title character (Herbert) in Mr. Burroughs’s first book, ”Junkie” (1962). He was Ancke in Mr. Holmes’s 1952 novel, ”Go.” He appears under his own name in innumerable Ginsberg poems, including ”Howl” (1956) with its haunting reference to ”Huncke’s bloody feet.”

And if it was the fast-talking, fast-driving Neal Cassady who became Mr. Kerouac’s chief literary obsession, as the irrepressible Dean Moriarty in Mr. Kerouac’s 1957 breakthrough classic, ”On the Road,” Mr. Huncke (who was Elmo Hassel in ”On the Road”) was there first.

As Junkey, he was the dominant character in the urban half of Mr. Kerouac’s first book, ”The Town and the City,” and made later appearances as Huck in ”Visions of Cody” and ”Books of Dreams.”

All this for a teen-age runaway who said he was using drugs as early as 12, selling sex by the time he was 16, stealing virtually anything he could get his hands on throughout his life and never once apologizing for a moment of it.

”I always followed the road of least resistance,” he said in a 1992 interview. ”I just continued to do what I wanted. I didn’t weigh or balance things. I started out this way and I never really changed.”

Actually, he didn’t quite start out that way. Born into a middle-class family in Greenfield, Mass., on Dec. 9, 1915, he moved with his family to Detroit when he was 4 and two years later to Chicago, where his father ran his own machine-parts distributing company.

By his own accounts he seems to have had an uneventful early childhood, but his parents divorced, and by the time he was in his early teens he was on the street, acquiring a lifelong passion for drugs and discovering the joys — and lucrative possibilities — of sex with men. He was also beginning a life of crime, first as a runner for the Capone gang and later as a burglar and thief.

Hitting the road early, he served for a time with the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. He traveled around the country until 1939, when he arrived in Manhattan and found a psychic home in Times Square.

Making his base of operations the Angle bar at 42d Street and Eighth Avenue, he sold drugs at times and himself at others, not always with notable success. Mr. Huncke once confided to a friend that he had not been a successful hustler: ”I was always falling in love,” he said.

It was in 1945 that an elegantly dressed man in a Chesterfield coat knocked on the door of an apartment where Mr. Huncke was living. The visitor, who was in search of Mr. Huncke’s roommate in the hope of selling him a sawed-off shotgun, was Mr. Burroughs. Mr. Huncke would recount that he took one look and told his roommate to get rid of him. ”He’s the F.B.I.,” he said.

Mr. Burroughs proved anything but, and within days Mr. Huncke had introduced him to heroin and sealed a lifelong friendship that included a 1947 visit to a marijuana farm Mr. Burroughs had started in Texas.

It was through Mr. Burroughs that Mr. Huncke soon met Mr. Ginsberg, then a Columbia undergraduate, and Mr. Kerouac, a recent Columbia dropout who became so enchanted with Mr. Huncke’s repeated use of the carny term ”beat,” meaning tired and beaten down, that he later used it as his famous label for the Beat Generation. (Mr. Kerouac later clouded things by suggesting it was derived from ”beatific.”)

An aspiring, Columbia-centered literary crowd was soon learning at Mr. Huncke’s feet. Among other things, he introduced them to the sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, who after meeting Mr. Huncke at the Angle had interviewed him about his colorful sex life and hired him to recruit other subjects.

Though it seemed strange to some people that such a wide array of literary figures found Mr. Huncke so enchanting, he was always more than he seemed. For all his disreputable pursuits, he had elegant, refined manners and a searing honesty. He was also uncommonly well read for someone who had never been to high school, and such a natural and affecting storyteller that he could keep a table of admirers enthralled until the wee hours.

He also had a code of honor. Yes, he might steal from his friends if he needed a fix, but did not inform on them, something he proved on a number of occasions when the police sought his help in developing charges against his celebrity friends.

Mr. Huncke, who spent a total of 11 years in prison, including almost all of the 1950’s, was unrepentant, a man whose acceptance of crime as his fate bolstered his friends’ views that he was a victim of a rigid, unfeeling society.

If his friends saw him as fodder for their literary work, Mr. Huncke, as he later claimed, saw them as marks. There is, perhaps, a certain paradox in Mr. Huncke’s use of his literary friends as literary fodder. Mr. Huncke himself began writing in the 1940’s, locking himself in a stall in the men’s room in the subway. He described it as the only place he could work in peace, scribbling away in his notebooks.

Taking the Kerouac idea of writing nearly automatic prose even further than Mr. Kerouac did, Mr. Huncke turned out a series of memoirs that have been praised for their unaffected style. Those who heard him regale listeners say his books read as if he were telling a spontaneous anecdote around a table at the Angle.

”Huncke’s Journal” (1965) was followed by ”Elsie John and Joey Martinez” (1979), ”The Evening Sun Turned Crimson” (1980) and ”Guilty of Everything” (1990, Hanuman Books).

The books and Mr. Huncke’s role in a brash new literary movement made him famous to a younger generation, and he had several successful lecture tours in recent years.

His books did not make much money, but they didn’t need to. Friends contributed willingly to the upkeep of Mr. Huncke, who seemed proud that he had no talent for regular work.

It was a reflection of his continued standing among self-styled counterculturists that one of his most generous benefactors was a man who had never met him: Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, who is said to have helped with his rent at Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel, where Mr. Huncke lived for the last several years.

Mr. Huncke, whose longtime companion, Louis Cartwright, was killed in 1994, is survived by his half brother, Dr. Brian Huncke of Chicago.

Photo: Herbert Huncke, hustler, drug addict and inspiration for Beat writers. (Brian Graham)

 

 

IN 1998 AT A DINER IN NEW HAMPSHIRE MY HUSBAND AND I WERE HAVING BREAKFAST IN A DINER. WE WERE ATTENDING A CELEBRATION OF KEROAUC IN LOWELL, MA. HERBERT HUNCKE WHO WAS SITTING AT ANOTHER TABLE GAVE ME A BLURB FOR MY BOOK OF POETRY “REAL JUNKIES DON’T EAT PIE” HE WROTE “IT IS TRUE REALY JUNKIES DON’T EAT PIE”

about Neal Cassady, poems and recordings

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about Neal Cassady, poems and recordings

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images (41)RARE FOOTAGE OF NEIL CASSADY DRIVING FURTHUR

The Grateful Dead used to let Neal ramble on ( usually while tripping ) between sets. You can hear the beginnings of Lovelight ..I knew I should have wore more paisley
NEAL CASSADY TALKING

Grateful Dead & Neal Cassady July 23, 1967 – Strait Theater – San

Neal Cassady biography
NAME: Neal Cassady
OCCUPATION: Writer
BIRTH DATE: February 08, 1926
DEATH DATE: February 04, 1968
PLACE OF BIRTH: Salt Lake City, Utah
PLACE OF DEATH: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Full Name: Neal Cassady Jr.
AKA: Neal Cassady

Best Known For
Neal Cassady was a key figure of the Beat movement. The character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is based on him.

Synopsis

Born in Utah on February 8, 1926, Neal Cassady became a key figure of the Beat movement and an inspiration to his writer friends. Cassady’s magnetic energy and wild spirit is immortalized in the character based on him, Dean Moriarty of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Later in life, Cassady joined Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters and fell into drugs. He died as a result, on February 4, 1968.

Contents
Synopsis
Early Life
Meeting the Beats
On the Road
Drug Use and Death

Early Life

Neal Cassady Jr. was born on February 8, 1926, in Salt Lake City, Utah. His mother died when he was 10, and he was raised by his alcoholic father in Denver, Texas. Cassady stole cars, hitchhiked, and was in and out of reform schools. He spent a year in jail at the age of 18.

Meeting the Beats

In 1946, Cassady traveled to New York City to visit a friend at Columbia University. There, he met Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, all of whom were enthralled by Cassady’s energetic persona. He moved to New York City with his 16-year-old wife, LuAnne Henderson, who quickly returned home. Cassady remained in the city, and though he claimed to be straight, began a sexual relationship with Allen Ginsberg. The poet was deeply in love with Cassady; his groundbreaking poem “Howl” calls Cassady a “secret hero.”

Cassady learned how to write fiction from Kerouac, who based the character Dean Moriarty from 1957’s On the Road on his beloved friend.

On the Road

Cassady was relentlessly energetic. His free-flowing, detailed letters to Kerouac heavily influenced the novelist’s style. Cassady’s own prose is characterized by the same breathlessness, but he never finished a book; he struggled to package his ever-expanding ideas into sentences.

In 1947, Cassady met Carolyn Robinson and moved to San Francisco for her. One year later, his marriage to LuAnne was annulled and he wed Carolyn. She had his child, and the family moved to Los Gatos, a suburb of San Jose where Cassady worked on the Southern Pacific railroad.

Cassady was notoriously unfaithful, sometimes cheating with multiple women in a single day. Carolyn also found him in bed with Ginsberg more than once. While she stayed home and raised the couple’s three children, Cassady road-tripped across the country while sleeping with his ex-wife. In 1950, he wed Diana Hansen, a model pregnant with his child, while he was still married to Carolyn. With Cassady’s encouragement, Carolyn eventually had an affair with Kerouac. In his novel Big Sur, Kerouac documents this experience.

Drug Use and Death

In 1958, Cassady was arrested for selling marijuana and served two years in San Quentin Prison. Fed up, Carolyn divorced Cassady in 1963. Afterward, he joined author Ken Kesey and his group, the Merry Pranksters, on a cross-country, drug-filled road trip. Their adventures are detailed in Tom Wolfe’s 1968 book, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Heavy drug use ultimately led to Cassady’s death, on February 4, 1968. He was found on railroad tracks after a party in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. His autobiography was published posthumously as The First Third.

© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.

Neal Cassady biography

1 photo

Quick Facts
NAME: Neal Cassady
OCCUPATION: Writer
BIRTH DATE: February 08, 1926
DEATH DATE: February 04, 1968
PLACE OF BIRTH: Salt Lake City, Utah
PLACE OF DEATH: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Full Name: Neal Cassady Jr.
AKA: Neal Cassady

Best Known For

Neal Cassady was a key figure of the Beat movement. The character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is based on him.

Synopsis
Born in Utah on February 8, 1926, Neal Cassady became a key figure of the Beat movement and an inspiration to his writer friends. Cassady’s magnetic energy and wild spirit is immortalized in the character based on him, Dean Moriarty of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Later in life, Cassady joined Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters and fell into drugs. He died as a result, on February 4, 1968.

Contents
Synopsis
Early Life
Meeting the Beats
On the Road
Drug Use and Death

Early Life

Neal Cassady Jr. was born on February 8, 1926, in Salt Lake City, Utah. His mother died when he was 10, and he was raised by his alcoholic father in Denver, Texas. Cassady stole cars, hitchhiked, and was in and out of reform schools. He spent a year in jail at the age of 18.

Meeting the Beats

In 1946, Cassady traveled to New York City to visit a friend at Columbia University. There, he met Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, all of whom were enthralled by Cassady’s energetic persona. He moved to New York City with his 16-year-old wife, LuAnne Henderson, who quickly returned home. Cassady remained in the city, and though he claimed to be straight, began a sexual relationship with Allen Ginsberg. The poet was deeply in love with Cassady; his groundbreaking poem “Howl” calls Cassady a “secret hero.”

Cassady learned how to write fiction from Kerouac, who based the character Dean Moriarty from 1957’s On the Road on his beloved friend.

On the Road

Cassady was relentlessly energetic. His free-flowing, detailed letters to Kerouac heavily influenced the novelist’s style. Cassady’s own prose is characterized by the same breathlessness, but he never finished a book; he struggled to package his ever-expanding ideas into sentences.

In 1947, Cassady met Carolyn Robinson and moved to San Francisco for her. One year later, his marriage to LuAnne was annulled and he wed Carolyn. She had his child, and the family moved to Los Gatos, a suburb of San Jose where Cassady worked on the Southern Pacific railroad.

Cassady was notoriously unfaithful, sometimes cheating with multiple women in a single day. Carolyn also found him in bed with Ginsberg more than once. While she stayed home and raised the couple’s three children, Cassady road-tripped across the country while sleeping with his ex-wife. In 1950, he wed Diana Hansen, a model pregnant with his child, while he was still married to Carolyn. With Cassady’s encouragement, Carolyn eventually had an affair with Kerouac. In his novel Big Sur, Kerouac documents this experience.

Drug Use and Death

In 1958, Cassady was arrested for selling marijuana and served two years in San Quentin Prison. Fed up, Carolyn divorced Cassady in 1963. Afterward, he joined author Ken Kesey and his group, the Merry Pranksters, on a cross-country, drug-filled road trip. Their adventures are detailed in Tom Wolfe’s 1968 book, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Heavy drug use ultimately led to Cassady’s death, on February 4, 1968. He was found on railroad tracks after a party in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. His autobiography was published posthumously as The First Third.

© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.

Neal Cassady , ( Feb 8 , 1926 – Feb 4 , 1968 )

San Miguel D’Allende , Mexico
February 4 ,1968 … midnight

Dead from extreme expossure
four days short of forty – two

only fitting , next to a railroad track
He had many words to haul back

The wolf sleeps next to the silver rail
Howling at a silver moon that fell

I hear he drove a topless Cadillac
through San Francisco’s streets

With the top down
smilling free , it was meant to be

Life is a quasar

the man who turned on America-TImothy Leary a documentary

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the man who turned on America-TImothy Leary a documentary

“TUNE IN. TURN ON DROP OUT”
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THE MAN WHO TURNED ON AMERICA -TIMOTHY LEARY
Date of Birth 22 October 1920 , Springfield, Massachusetts, USA
Date of Death 31 May 1996 , Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA (prostate cancer)
Mini Bio (1)
His mother was a teacher and his father a dentist. He attended West Point, joined the Army, and earned an undergraduate psychology degree at the University of Alabama while in service. Next he earned a master’s degree from Washington State University and a doctorate in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1959, Leary joined the faculty of Harvard University. There, he met professor Richard Alpert and began a series of controlled experiments with psychedelic drugs. Four years later they were fired for using undergraduate students in the tests. They retired to Millbrook Estate, a 63-room mansion in upstate New York. People like William Burroughs, Abbie Hoffman, Jack Kerouac, Aldous Huxley and Allen Ginsberg came and went, all united by a desire to experience better living through chemistry. In 1970, he escaped from the California Men’s Colony at San Luis Obispo, where he was serving a 10-year sentence for possession of two marijuana joints. His bust-out was aided by the Weather Underground and his third wife, Rosemary. He and she roamed from country to country. In Algeria, they took stayed with Eldridge Cleaver, who ultimately kidnapped his guests after a political disagreement. They escaped and fled to Switzerland. In 1973, at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, Leary was arrested by agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Extradited to the United States, he was sent to Folsom prison near Sacramento. He was paroled in 1976. Leary’s life turned to lecture tours, stand-up comedy, writing books, cyberspace and the Hollywood party scene. He launched a much-ridiculed lecture tour in 1982 with Watergate villain G. Gordon Liddy. He learned of his prostate cancer in January 1995 and celebrated his remaining lifetime through his own website.

THANKS TO TOP  DOCUMENTARY FILMS

The Century of William S. Burroughs

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The Century of William S. Burroughs

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By Levi Asher on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 11:00 pm

American, Beat Generation, Biography, Fiction, Indie, Internet Culture, La Boheme, Language, Music, Postmodernism, Reading, Transgressive, Tributes
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He was the oldest of the major Beat Generation writers. That’s why William S. Burroughs is today the first Beat writer to celebrate a centennial.

Burroughs was born on February 5, 1914. He arrived on this planet the same year as the First World War.

Some people don’t call Burroughs a Beat writer, because they prefer to think of him as a postmodern experimentalist, or a psychic investigator, or a political activist. He was those things too, but of course he was a Beat writer.

Like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso, William S. Burroughs was a wordsmith of torrential power. He was a great intellectual, and he inspired the other Beat writers to become more intellectual. He impressed young Allen Ginsberg by his deft ability to quote Shakespeare. His best writings sparkle with literary clarity, style and confidence, though many of his texts are also unreadable. Burroughs was erudition on drugs.

One of William’s greatest talents was literary mimicry. He was particularly good at hard-boiled detective noir-speak, which he dropped unpredictably into works like Junky and Naked Lunch. Like T. S. Eliot, his fellow cut-up artist from St. Louis, he do the police in different voices. One of my favorite examples of Burroughs’s private-eye parody is the “Bradley the Buyer” set piece from Naked Lunch, which you can read here.

The master had some highly questionable characteristics. I’m sorry that William S. Burroughs allowed himself to be defined as a happy gun nut. This would be less offensive if he hadn’t once shot his wife to death with a gun. The famous William Tell murder of Joan Vollmer Adams was most likely an accident, but I’ve really never been able to feel comfortable with the fact that Burroughs liked to show off with guns later in life. Well, he was a weird dude.

His essays were great, and when I was a young teenager I read the monthly columns he published in Crawdaddy magazine (Paul Krassner was also a columnist — quite a lineup in the mid-1970s). The first Crawdaddy essay I ever read was “The Great Glut”, which can be read in the superb collection The Adding Machine. The description of pigs fed on shit (the essay presented a horrifying dystopian vision of scatological nutrition) becoming so soft that you could puncture their skin with a fork made a big impression on me.

Burroughs was also part of a fabulous circle of freewheeling counterculture social critics who thrived in the 1960s/70s Summer of Love era, along with R. Buckminster Fuller, Ken Kesey, Hunter Thompson and Marshall McLuhan. His uncompromising libertarian but wistfully communitarian vision would have had great relevance if he were alive today, in the era of the NSA, the drone, Al Qaeda, the mall shooting of the week, Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party. I wonder what he would have to say if he were around today.

Happy birthday William S. Burroughs, from all your friends at Literary Kicks!

The painting at the top of the page is by the legendary East Coast strolling artist, writer and guitar strummer Goodloe Byron, who also now runs a newspaper called Stone Bird.

Here’s The Burroughs Centennial Celebration, a Beat Museum event and one of several don’t-miss tribute articles at the website of one of William S. Burroughs’ best friends, the Allen Ginsberg Project (check out the great vintage Burroughs book covers here).

And finally, for old times’ sake, here’s our account of his 1997 funeral: Sliced Bardo.

Litkicks.com

Paul Bowles, expatriate writer, composer and traveler who lived 52 years in Tangier, Morocco.

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Paul Bowles, expatriate writer, composer and traveler who lived 52 years in Tangier, Morocco.

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Paul Bowles

“Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps 20. And yet it all seems limitless.”

THE OFFICIAL PAUL BOWLES WEBSITE

http://www.paulbowles.org/bowlesbiography.html

By PERRY MEISEL

YOU ARE NOT I
A Portrait of Paul Bowles.
By Millicent Dillon.
Illustrated. 340 pp. Berkeley:
University of California Press. $27.50.

Paul Bowles is the bridge between the Lost Generation and the Beat Generation, even though his work exceeds Beat fiction in technical interest and even though he, as Norman Mailer was among the first to point out, was quick to foresee the craftiness inherent in any unvarnished stance. Now 87 years old, Bowles has lived in Morocco for more than 50 years. Like his wife, the novelist Jane Bowles (who suffered a stroke in Morocco in 1957 and died at a sanitarium in Spain in 1973), Paul Bowles emerged out of the New York art and social scene of the 1930’s; he gained his own earliest reputation as a composer before rewarding himself with expatriation in the 1940’s.

Millicent Dillon’s biography of Bowles, ”You Are Not I” (the title comes from one of Bowles’s short stories), is not an attempt to narrate the events of Bowles’s life or the histories of his influence; that has already been done in two earlier biographies and a documentary film. Dillon, the author of a life of Jane Bowles, is also a novelist and believes in evocation, not reduction. With implications well beyond what she intends, her new book is a strange and uncanny success. Using the atmosphere of Tangier to advantage, Dillon lights the chilly Bowles from a number of angles; she eschews even portraiture in favor of a dramatic strategy based on her many conversations with him in his Tangier apartment beginning in 1977. Bowles’s sadness and the sense of opportunities lost suffuse Dillon’s narrative and weigh it with emotion.

Beneath the tea and sympathy, however, beats a deeper purpose. Despite her impressionism, Dillon wishes to find a classical way to understand both Bowles’s work and his relation to others. As Jane Bowles’s biographer, she is particularly fascinated by the dialectic of the Bowleses’ marriage and work. Why the contrast between the contempt and humiliation served up to opposite-sex characters in their novels and their love and respect for each other in real life? (Dillon is understandably preoccupied with the absurd rape sequences in Bowles’s 1949 best seller, ”The Sheltering Sky,” although she fails to press him about them.) How did these two homosexuals find sexual happiness in each other before Paul twice struck Jane and destroyed their intimacy forever? And why was it not until after Jane had asked Paul to edit the manuscript of her first novel in 1941 that he, too, decided to make prose fiction his primary metier? Was this a heightened dialogue between them or a form of violence and usurpation?

Primal scenes tumble forth from the ordinarily reticent Bowles, who sits, befogged by kif, as he and Dillon explore the relation between art and experience. Bowles’s father was a dentist in Jamaica, Queens, who wanted to be a violinist and who regularly hit his son on the back of the legs when the child did not move up the stairs fast enough. Paul was often left home alone at a very young age, too, growing so lonely that he tried to make friends with mosquitoes. He even recalls seeing his father in bed with his aunt while his mother stood alongside laughing.

But the links between Bowles’s life and art remain, like all else in Tangier, elusive. ”You Are Not I” makes us reimagine the relation between life and art, and between art and its explanation. The book abounds with new notions if we look and listen, especially when Bowles’s friend Mohammed Mrabet appears. He is a Moroccan storyteller whose ”performances,” as Dillon calls them, force the realization that there is little difference between life and its narratives, no cause in the one for the other; they commingle. Both are performances. Given Bowles’s influence on her, it is as if he had, as Dillon realizes, written his own biography. To be sure, Dillon brings insufficient material to the performance from her own life and desires. She has left her side of the dialogue out. Is she letting Jane Bowles do the talking for her? Or is she simply being too modest about finding in Bowles himself an unexpected quality of feeling?

Perry Meisel, a professor of English at New York University, is the author of ”The Myth of the Modern.” His new book, ”Romanticism to Rock and Roll,” will be published in October.

DECEMBER 4, 1949
An Allegory of Man and His Sahara
By TENNESSEE WILLIAMS

“THE SHELTERING SKY” PAUL BOWLES FIRST NOVEL

After several literary seasons given over, mostly, to the frisky antics of kids, precociously knowing and singularly charming, but not to be counted on for those gifts that arrive by no other way than the experience and contemplation of a truly adult mind, now is obviously a perfect time for a writer with such a mind to engage our attention. That is precisely the event to be celebrated in the appearance of “The Sheltering Sky,” Paul Bowles’ first novel.

It has been a good while since first novels in America have come from men in their middle or late thirties (Paul Bowles is 38). Even in past decades the first novel has usually been written during the writers’ first years out of college. Moreover, because success and public attention operate as a sort of pressure cooker or freezer, there has been a discouraging tendency for the talent to bake or congeal at a premature level of inner development.

In America the career almost invariably becomes an obsession. The “get-ahead” principle, carried to such extreme, inspires our writers to enormous efforts. A new book must come out every year. Otherwise they get panicky, and the first thing you know they belong to Alcoholics Anonymous or have embraced religion or plunged headlong into some political activity with nothing but an inchoate emotionalism to bring to it or to be derived from it. I think that this stems from a misconception of what it means to be a writer or any kind of creative artist. They feel it is something to adopt in the place of actual living, without understanding that art is a by-product of existence.

Paul Bowles has deliberately rejected that kind of rabid professionalism. Better known as a composer than a writer, he has not allowed his passion for either form of expression to interfere with his growth into completeness of personality. Now this book has come at the meridian of the man and artist. And, to me very thrillingly, it brings the reader into sudden, startling communion with a talent of true maturity and sophistication of a sort that I had begun to fear was to be found nowadays only among the insurgent novelists of France, such as Jean Genet and Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre.

With the hesitant exception of one or two war books by returned soldiers, “The Sheltering Sky” alone of the books that I have recently read by American authors appears to bear the spiritual imprint of recent history in the western world. Here the imprint is not visible upon the surface of the novel. It exists far more significantly in a certain philosophical aura that envelopes it.

There is a curiously double level to this novel. The surface is enthralling as narrative. It is impressive as writing. But above that surface is the aura that I spoke of, intangible and powerful, bringing to mind one of those clouds that you have seen in summer, close to the horizon and dark in color and now and then silently pulsing with interior flashes of fire. And that is the surface of the novel that has filled me with such excitement.

The story itself is a chronicle of startling adventure against a background of the Sahara and the Arab-populated regions of the African Continent, a portion of the world seldom dealt with by first-rate writers who actually know it. Paul Bowles does know it, and much better, for instance, than it was known by AndrÈ Gide. He probably knows it even better than Albert Camus. For Paul Bowles has been going to Africa, off and on, since about 1930. It thrills him, but for some reason it does not upset his nervous equilibrium. He does not remain in the coastal cities. At frequent intervals he takes journeys into the most mysterious recesses of the desert and mountain country of North Africa, involving not only hardship but peril.

“The Sheltering Sky” is the chronicle of such a journey. Were it not for the fact that the chief male character, Port Moresby, succumbs to an epidemic fever during the course of the story, it would not be hard to identify him with Mr. Bowles himself. Like Mr. Bowles, he is a member of the New York intelligentsia who became weary of being such a member and set out to escape it in remote places. Escape it he certainly does. He escapes practically all the appurtenances of civilized modern life. Balanced between fascination and dread, he goes deeper and deeper into this dreamlike “awayness.”

From then on the story is focused upon the continuing and continually more astonishing adventures of his wife, Kit, who wanders on like a body in which the rational mechanism is gradually upset and destroyed. The liberation is too intense, too extreme, for a nature conditioned by and for a state of civilized confinement. Her primitive nature, divested one by one of its artificial reserves and diffidences, eventually overwhelms her, and the end of this novel is as wildly beautiful and terrifying as the whole panorama that its protagonists have crossed.

In this external aspect the novel is, therefore, an account of startling adventure. In its interior aspect, “The Sheltering Sky” is an allegory of the spiritual adventure of the fully conscious person into modern experience. This is not an enticing way to describe it. It is a way that might suggest the very opposite kind of a novel from the one that Paul Bowles has written. Actually this superior motive does not intrude in explicit form upon the story, certainly not in any form that will need to distract you from the great pleasure of being told a first-rate story of adventure by a really first-rate writer.

I suspect that a good many people will read this book and be enthralled by it without once suspecting that it contains a mirror of what is most terrifying and cryptic within the Sahara of moral nihilism, into which the race of man now seems to be wandering blindly.

Mr. Williams is the author of “A Streetcar Named Desire” and other plays.

BRION GYSIN

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images (44)Brion Gysin

From Wikipedia:

Brion Gysin (January 19, 1916 – July 13, 1986) was a painter, writer, sound poet, and performance artist born in Taplow, Buckinghamshire. He is best known for his discovery of the cut-up technique used by William S. Burroughs. With Ian Somerville he invented the Dreamachine, a flicker device designed as an art object to be viewed with the eyes closed. It was in painting, however, that Gysin devoted his greatest efforts, creating calligraphic works inspired by Japanese and Arabic scripts. Burroughs later stated that “Brion Gysin was the only man I ever respected.”

John Clifford Brian Gysin was born at Taplow House, England, a Canadian military hospital. His mother, Stella Margaret Martin, was a Canadian from Deseronto, Ontario. His father, Leonard Gysin, a captain with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, was killed in action eight months after his son’s birth. Stella returned to Canada and settled in Edmonton, Alberta where her son became “the only Catholic day-boy at an Anglican boarding school.” Graduating at fifteen, Gysin was sent to Downside in Bristol, England, a prestigious college known as “the Eton of Catholic public schools” run by the Benedictines.

In 1934, he moved to Paris to study La Civilisation Française, an open course given at the Sorbonne where he made literary and artistic contacts through Marie Berthe Aurauche, Max Ernst’s first wife. He joined the Surrealist Group and began frequenting Valentine Hugo, Leonor Fini, Salvador Dalí, Picasso and Dora Maar. A year later, he had his first exhibition at the Galerie Quatre Chemins in Paris with Ernst, Picasso, Hans Arp, Hans Bellmer, Victor Brauner, Giorgio de Chirico, Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, René Magritte, Man Ray and Yves Tanguy. On the day of the preview, however, he was expelled from the Surrealist Group by André Breton who ordered the poet Paul Éluard to take down his pictures. Gysin was 19 years old. His biographer, John Geiger, suggests the arbitrary expulsion “had the effect of a curse. Years later, he blamed other failures on the Breton incident. It gave rise to conspiracy theories about the powerful interests who seek control of the art world. He gave various explanations for the expulsion, the more elaborate involving ‘insubordination’ or lèse majesté towards Breton.”

After serving in the U.S. army during World War II, Gysin published a biography of Josiah “Uncle Tom” Henson titled, To Master a Long Goodnight: The History of Slavery in Canada (1946). A gifted draughtsman, he took an 18-month course in Japanese language studies and calligraphy that would greatly influence his artwork. In 1949, he was among the first Fulbright Fellows. His goal: to research the history of slavery at the University of Bordeaux and in the Archivos de India in Seville, Spain, a project that he later abandoned. He moved to Tangier, Morocco after visiting the city with novelist and composer Paul Bowles in 1950.

In Tangier, Gysin co-founded with Mohamed Hamri a restaurant called “The 1001 Nights” with the Master Musicians of Joujouka from the village of Jajouka. The musicians performed there for an international clientèle that included William S. Burroughs. Losing the business in 1958, he returned to live in Paris, taking lodgings in a flophouse located at 9 rue Gît-le-Coeur that would become famous as the Beat Hotel. Working on a drawing, he discovered a Dada technique by accident:
William Burroughs and I first went into techniques of writing, together, back in room No. 15 of the Beat Hotel during the cold Paris spring of 1958… Burroughs was more intent on Scotch-taping his photos together into one great continuum on the wall, where scenes faded and slipped into one another, than occupied with editing the monster manuscript… Naked Lunch appeared and Burroughs disappeare. He kicked his habit with apomorphine and flew off to London to see Dr Dent, who had first turned him on to the cure. While cutting a mount for a drawing in room No. 15, I sliced through a pile of newspapers with my Stanley blade and thought of what I had said to Burroughs some six months earlier about the necessity for turning painters’ techniques directly into writing. I picked up the raw words and began to piece together texts that later appeared as “First Cut-Ups” in Minutes to Go.
When Burroughs returned from London in September 1959, Gysin not only shared his discovery with his friend but the new techniques he had developed for it. Burroughs then put the techniques to use while completing Naked Lunch and the experiment dramatically changed the landscape of American literature. Gysin helped Burroughs with the editing of several of his novels including Interzone, and wrote a script for a film version of Naked Lunch which was never produced. The pair collaborated on a large manuscript for Grove Press titled The Third Mind but it was determined that it would be impractical to publish it as originally envisioned. The book later published under that title incorporates little of this material. Interviewed for The Guardian in 1997, Burroughs explained that Gysin was “the only man that I’ve ever respected in my life. I’ve admired people, I’ve liked them, but he’s the only man I’ve ever respected.” In 1969, Gysin completed his finest novel, The Process, a work judged by critic Robert Palmer as “a classic of 20th century modernism.”

A consummate innovator, Gysin altered the cut-up technique to produce what he called permutation poems in which a single phrase was repeated several times with the words rearranged in a different order with each reiteration. An example of this is “I don’t dig work, man/Man, work I don’t dig.” Many of these permutations were derived using a random sequence generator in an early computer program written by Ian Sommerville. Commissioned by the BBC in 1960 to produce material for broadcast, Gysin’s results included “Pistol Poem”, which was created by recording a gun firing at different distances and then splicing the sounds. That year, the piece was subsequently used as a theme for the Paris performance of Le Domaine Poetique, a showcase for experimental works by people like Gysin, François Dufrêne, Bernard Heidsieck, and Henri Chopin.
With Sommerville, he built the Dreamachine in 1961. Described as “the first art object to be seen with the eyes closed”, the flicker device uses alpha waves in the 8-16 Hz range to produce a change of consciousness in receptive viewers.

He also worked extensively with noted jazz soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy.
As a joke, Gysin contributed a recipe for marijuana fudge to a cookbook by Alice B. Toklas; it was unintentionally included for publication, becoming famous under the name Alice B. Toklas brownies.
A heavily edited version of his novel, The Last Museum, was published posthumously in 1986 by Faber & Faber (London) and by Grove Press (New York).

Made an American Commander of the French Order of Arts and Letters in 1985, Gysin died a year later of lung cancer on July 13, 1986. An obituary by Robert Palmer published in The New York Times fittingly described him as a man who “threw off the sort of ideas that ordinary artists would parlay into a lifetime career, great clumps of ideas, as casually as a locomotive throws off sparks.”

In a 1966 interview by Conrad Knickerbocker for The Paris Review, William S. Burroughs explained that Brion Gysin was, to his knowledge, “the first to create cut-ups.”
INTERVIEWER: How did you become interested in the cut-up technique? BURROUGHS: A friend, Brion Gysin, an American poet and painter, who has lived in Europe for thirty years, was, as far as I know, the first to create cut-ups. His cut-up poem, Minutes to Go, was broadcast by the BBC and later published in a pamphlet. I was in Paris in the summer of 1960; this was after the publication there of Naked Lunch. I became interested in the possibilities of this technique, and I began experimenting myself. Of course, when you think of it, The Waste Land was the first great cut-up collage, and Tristan Tzara had done a bit along the same lines. Dos Passos used the same idea in ‘The Camera Eye’ sequences in USA. I felt I had been working toward the same goal; thus it was a major revelation to me when I actually saw it being done.
Influence

Gysin’s wide range of radical ideas became a source of inspiration for Beat Generation artists and their successors such as David Bowie, Keith Haring, Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Genesis P-Orridge, Iggy Pop, Laurie Anderson, Malay Roy Choudhury, and Into A Circle.

A DOCUMENTARY-BRION GYSIN

http://www.ubu.com/film/gysin_flicker. 2007

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tumblr_m5drjujnqq1qgldfgo1_1280 COLLAGE GYSINE AND,BURROUGHS

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tumblr_m554vaPhLj1r05phwo1_250CUT UP OF BURROUGHS AND GYSIN

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WILLIAM BURROUGHS AND CUT-UPS

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WILLIAM BURROUGHS TALKS ABOUT CUT-UPS

William S. Burroughs and Cut-up

By Dan Century

Chain Border

William S. Burroughs Inspired by Pan’s review of WSB’s Interzone in the June issue, I decided to write a piece on the Cut-up technique of writing utilized and pioneered by Burroughs and his associate Brion Gysin.

For the uninitiated, the Cut-up technique was inspired by the collage technique used by artists and photographers. Often the greatest photographs and artwork happen by accident. An unexpected pedestrian walks into your shot, or an odd glob of paint scars your painting, and rather than tragedy you have something unexpected and spontaneous. Take this concept one step further and the artist can juxtapose various visual fragments with great and unexpected results. Gysin and Burroughs wanted to introduce the spontaneity and chance of the collage to the written word, and so they developed and utilized the Cut-up technique.

The technique is simple. Take any page of writing. Take a scissors and cut it into four parts; cut straight across, down the middle, on angles, whatever. Now reassemble the parts at random. You now have a different text. Meaning, time lines and narratives are changed. The result may be quite similar to the original or shockingly different. The more cuts you make and the more sources you use, the more fun you’ll have. The beauty of the Cut-up method is anyone can do it, and should do it; anyone can now be a great writer, if only by chance. Unfortunately this technique works better with paper than computer text, because you cannot easily (if at all) make vertical cuts on an electronic page. One method you could use would be to capture your screen as an image, and then use image editing software to cut it up, and OCR software to return it to text form.

Here’s some ideas for you:

Experiment #1:

a. Go to Police headquarters and grab up some scary pamphlets on drug abuse, deer ticks, cyber crime, domestic violence. Read them for kicks and then get some scissors and cut them into chunks.

b. Go to your poetry notebook, or that file where you keep the first chapters to the half dozen or so short stories you plan on finishing one day. Get a scissors. Cut them up. Or, photo-copy them, and cut up the copies.

c. Arrange the chunks at random, but not consciously at random. Many times in our conscious effort to be random or spontaneous, we achieve the opposite effect.

d. Now read the results. Prepare to laugh, or at the very least impress yourself.

Experiment #2:

a. Collect an assortment of text sources: your writing, your diary, a few web pages printed out at random, a newspaper, a famous book, some pamphlets from the rack in the lobby of the supermarket, anything!

b. Next time you have a campfire place them at the edge of the fire so they become partially consumed.

c. Sift through the ashes, find the remaining fragments, and you have your story. Granted, this technique is a little extreme and you may end up with nothing but ash, however, imagine the results otherwise.

Music was the final form of art to embrace the power of the collage. David Bowie, inspired by Burroughs and Gysin, used the Cut-up technique to form the lyrics to his songs. Later artists like Gary “Cars” Newman, Throbbing Gristle and even U2’s Bono confess to using the Cut-up technique. If it were not for Throbbing Gristle’s adaptation of Burroughs techniques and philosophies to music, there would be, without question, no Industrial genre today. Obviously sampling is being used to quite the same effect: creating something new from multiple sources. Sonic terrorists like Negativeland take snippets of found sound, TV broadcasts, and music of many genres and weave the pieces together to a wonderful, insightful and often hilarious effect.

Burroughs states correctly that all writing is in fact Cut-ups. As a writer, in particular a fiction writer, your inspirations come from many sources: a description of a woman’s face comes from the cashier at the post office, a character’s name taken from your friend’s cat, a line taken from an issue of Legends and a plot twist from Shakespeare. All your experiences, whether first hand or taken vicariously through a book or a friend’s story, add up to form the text of your next tale. If you want to read more about Cut-ups, William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin and Throbbing Gristle, pick up the book RE/Search #4/5.

William S. Burroughs and Cut-up

By Dan Century

Chain Border

William S. BurroughsInspired by Pan’s review of WSB’s Interzone in the June issue, I decided to write a piece on the Cut-up technique of writing utilized and pioneered by Burroughs and his associate Brion Gysin.

For the uninitiated, the Cut-up technique was inspired by the collage technique used by artists and photographers. Often the greatest photographs and artwork happen by accident. An unexpected pedestrian walks into your shot, or an odd glob of paint scars your painting, and rather than tragedy you have something unexpected and spontaneous. Take this concept one step further and the artist can juxtapose various visual fragments with great and unexpected results. Gysin and Burroughs wanted to introduce the spontaneity and chance of the collage to the written word, and so they developed and utilized the Cut-up technique.

The technique is simple. Take any page of writing. Take a scissors and cut it into four parts; cut straight across, down the middle, on angles, whatever. Now reassemble the parts at random. You now have a different text. Meaning, time lines and narratives are changed. The result may be quite similar to the original or shockingly different. The more cuts you make and the more sources you use, the more fun you’ll have. The beauty of the Cut-up method is anyone can do it, and should do it; anyone can now be a great writer, if only by chance. Unfortunately this technique works better with paper than computer text, because you cannot easily (if at all) make vertical cuts on an electronic page. One method you could use would be to capture your screen as an image, and then use image editing software to cut it up, and OCR software to return it to text form.

Here’s some ideas for you:

Experiment #1:

a. Go to Police headquarters and grab up some scary pamphlets on drug abuse, deer ticks, cyber crime, domestic violence. Read them for kicks and then get some scissors and cut them into chunks.

b. Go to your poetry notebook, or that file where you keep the first chapters to the half dozen or so short stories you plan on finishing one day. Get a scissors. Cut them up. Or, photo-copy them, and cut up the copies.

c. Arrange the chunks at random, but not consciously at random. Many times in our conscious effort to be random or spontaneous, we achieve the opposite effect.

d. Now read the results. Prepare to laugh, or at the very least impress yourself.

Experiment #2:

a. Collect an assortment of text sources: your writing, your diary, a few web pages printed out at random, a newspaper, a famous book, some pamphlets from the rack in the lobby of the supermarket, anything!

b. Next time you have a campfire place them at the edge of the fire so they become partially consumed.

c. Sift through the ashes, find the remaining fragments, and you have your story. Granted, this technique is a little extreme and you may end up with nothing but ash, however, imagine the results otherwise.

Music was the final form of art to embrace the power of the collage. David Bowie, inspired by Burroughs and Gysin, used the Cut-up technique to form the lyrics to his songs. Later artists like Gary “Cars” Newman, Throbbing Gristle and even U2’s Bono confess to using the Cut-up technique. If it were not for Throbbing Gristle’s adaptation of Burroughs techniques and philosophies to music, there would be, without question, no Industrial genre today. Obviously sampling is being used to quite the same effect: creating something new from multiple sources. Sonic terrorists like Negativeland take snippets of found sound, TV broadcasts, and music of many genres and weave the pieces together to a wonderful, insightful and often hilarious effect.

Burroughs states correctly that all writing is in fact Cut-ups. As a writer, in particular a fiction writer, your inspirations come from many sources: a description of a woman’s face comes from the cashier at the post office, a character’s name taken from your friend’s cat, a line taken from an issue of Legends and a plot twist from Shakespeare. All your experiences, whether first hand or taken vicariously through a book or a friend’s story, add up to form the text of your next tale. If you want to read more about Cut-ups, William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin and Throbbing Gristle, pick up the book RE/Search #4/5.
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