Tag Archives: literature

Friendly Dehli Wanders – Postcard #71

Postcards from Gravelly Beach – Friendly Dehli Wanders

First reflecting on Funiculars, Dave then reads works by poet friends from far-flung points including: Sohaib Ahmed recounting escaped love and lights, Adam Burningham examining towns atop streams, Amber Case on a languid roadtrip, and Robert Scales appreciating a sunrise and oblivion – plus music by guitarist Matt Harding and a rainstorm, crickets and cicadas from a porch.

Choose your transport for: Friendly Dehli Wanders – Postcard #71 (23:51, .mp3, 48MB)

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A Return to Nippon – Postcard #70

Postcards from Gravelly Beach – Return to Nippon, onsen

Returning to Japan for the first time since working as a mushroom farmer in the Tottori-ken mountains decades previous, Dave rambles on about the circumstance – then and now – while wandering near his pal’s goat farm. Riffs include: arriving in the snow and getting settled, bailing on job, hitch-hiking around islands, falling in love(ish), eating okonomiyaki, soaking in hot springs and living simultaneously in the future and past. Also persimmons and goats, pigs, cows et al.

Take a soak in: A Return to Nippon – Postcard #70
(44MB, 29:31, mp3, stereo)

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Changing Transit Routes – Postcard #68

Changing Transit Routes – Postcard #68

Changing routes to think about the neighbourhoods – this Postcard is about rolling transit, everyplace and anywhere. Evidence comes in a transit route inspired spoken-word song and a smattering of poems including: odes to drivers, forgotten literary neighbourhoods, angry passengers, observed newspapers around Vancouver… plus a bit of Clayton the busker in the Seabus tunnel playing The Replacements’ “Skyway.”

Get onboard for: Changing Transit Routes  – Postcard #68
(13:50, 23MB, .mp3, stereo)

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Remembrance Day with Vasco’s Bones – Postcard #63

Remembrance Day with Vasco's Bones

From an olden church and (otherwise vacant) cenotaph at Fort Cochin, Kerala, India, Dave O – acknowledging an extended medical and death related hiatus – discusses the local history of colonization by Portuguese explorers, Dutch traders, then British Raj in the context of the colonization leading to exploitation, conscription and war with no meaning to local populace. Plus the meaning of reparations and the conflict of peaceful resistance – evidenced my Mahatma Gandhi beach a stone’s throw away – contrasted with continued wars throughout the world, shadowed by disposable tourism, economic and racial caste systems.

Recorded Nov. 11, 2016, Released 11:11 Nov. 11, 2017

Gather Round for Remembrance Day with Vasco’s Bones – Postcard #63  (37:11, .mp3, 192k, 58MB, stereo)

Also of note: Vasco da Gama’s bones, black knee-high socks, French generational losses, siege of Leningrad, Churchill’s mishaps, lost human potential of engineers, poets and lovers, MacArthur’s folly, Australia’s vulnerability, the emergence of regions over nation-states, Brexit for British Columbia + Cascadia, Catalonia and Scottish successions, work of raising a child, trappings of hubris, death by disease and guns, aggressive use of intelligence, forethought and diplomacy, and unfiltered view of sacrifice and life.

Cover art photo: By Dave Olson at Fort Cochin, taken by Lomo Sardine can camera with expired B&W film.

Continuing Rambles of one Mr. Thor Aronson

++ Continuing Rambles of one Mr. Thor Aronson ++
His quest for the elusive quarry stalled again, Thor – rather exhausted after six days on a merchant marine ship despite a rather pleasant stateroom – sits on a coil of worn rope on a salty dock to consider his next move. The question: where has the renegade Mr. Lester disappeared to to this time? Lighting at the second last cigar from a box acquired in Sicily, he considers possible directions… Set out towards the Tyrhenian, dropping in on various islands seeking telltale sign? He does have ties to Corsica after all so the direction would be generally useful. Or maybe the Aegean?

“Too many damn islands…” He mutters to the Katakolon seabirds. The leather attache (containing the critical documents seeking validation) still close by his worn boots, he pulls the wool fisherman’s cap down his brow, closer to the wrinkled blue/white striped coarse linen shirt, inhales deeply and concludes to head towards the Bosphorous. At least he’ll have a hot Turkish bath and beat down massage on ancient marble before deciding which continent to drift towards next. But first, a tall ouzo and plate of olives to set him on the way.

Dossier: Thor Aronson

++ Dossier: Thor Aaronson ++
Consigliere of variable repute, carries diplomatic passport from a failed Balkan republic, suits look Saville Row but actually Chiang Mai, speaks colloquial Greek & classical Aramaic from time in an Albanian prison for currency forgery, published thesis on Egyptian shadow puppetry amongst working class Cairo, scars and tic on left eye after crashing stolen tuktuk in Penang, 3 months hospital, left with bill unpaid taking a full grain of morphine and fled to Phitsanulok, dried out in Chennai under assumed name of Rex Hayduke, marine biologist specializing in marlin and other large, mercury-laden game fish — Ejoys Rimbaud poetry, Duras novels, and Chet Baker, The Jam, Portuguese fado & Japanese enka music. Prefers fountain pens, white handkerchieves, full windsor knots, hot toddys with branch water and fresh notebooks which he fills, photographs & burns. Whereabouts unknown, alert Interpol if spotted saying: “mahimahi is ready for grilling” they’ll understand, oh yes they will. Delay escape by plying with mint shisha and backgammon (no wagering) .

#vinylgoodtimes Jack Kerouac Spoken Word, 4 LP collection

#Vinyl from a 25-year-old time capsule – disc 2 of 4
For the record, I just picked up a couple of crates of vinyl which I left in a friends dad’s basement in Salt Lake City when I left Grateful Dead tour in 1991 and ended up in Europe, Japan, Micronesia, Cascadia and many departures between. Collecting them now, feels like 20-year-old self wrote a letter for me to receive just when I needed it most. #MusicHeals
#Kerouac #Beat #Literature #SpokenWord #Renegade

from Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BK9KHisBz3N/

Meeting Authour Nick Bantock (of Griffin and Sabine fame)

Who said you should never meet your heroes?

Not too many mixed media masters creating ephemera-laden epistolary literature weaving intriguing mysterious relationships, international intrigue, and postcards. That gets a smile out of this lad – still with a heavy heart. I took my mom’s copy of his book “Griffin and Sabine” and he provided a most wonderful signature with stamps of various kinds. . . . . #Writer #Art #Culture #Mentor #Hero #UncleWeed #NickBantock #Victoria #MixedMedia #Creative #Ephemera #Creativity #Artist #Beards #Glasses #Victoria

Satan lives in Moab: painting + story (born from a song)

My pals in the defunct Provo, Utah band from the 1980s had a song called “The Devil Lives in Moab” and the Canyon Country Zephyr newspaper also had an article about Satan sightings in the area. With these facts in mind, i wrote a story about Satan living in Moab and (as the song dictated) sold hot dogs.

Then, for a spoken word performance of the story, i (and Marty Kendall) painted this mixed media mural on a refrigerator box. Along with a few others, it lived in my VW bus for many years and now it is gone.

Discovery: The letter Jack Kerouac described as ‘The greatest piece of writing I ever saw’

Discovery: The letter Jack Kerouac described as ‘The greatest piece of writing I ever saw’

Considered ‘lost’ for 66 years, Neal Cassady’s visionary ‘Joan Anderson letter’ is a foundational document of the Beat era and the inspiration for Kerouac’s literary revolutions, beginning withOn the Road

Neal Cassady’s long-lost letter to Jack Kerouac, dated 17 December 1950, has permeated virtually every conversation about the Beat era. Referenced not only by Kerouac but by Allen Ginsberg, Laurence Ferlinghetti, Herbert Hunke, and a host of their contemporaries, Cassady’s fluid, incantatory, and deeply revealing prose influenced the entire generation of Beat writers.

The letter was written on a three-day Benzedrine high, Cassady later confessed. It contained, by Kerouac’s first calculation, at least 13,000 words and ran to 40 pages, offering a compelling, unaffected and discursive account of Cassady’s frenetic love life in 1946, particularly with Joan Anderson (whom he visited in a hospital after a failed suicide), and ‘Cherry Mary’, recounting an acrobatic escape through a bathroom window when they were surprised by Mary’s aunt. The uninhibited, non-literary narrative pointed the way to the free, truthful style to which Kerouac aspired.

Overwhelmed by what he read, Kerouac wrote ecstatically to Cassady on 27 December: ‘I thought it ranked among the best things ever written in America… it was almost as good as the unbelievably good ‘Notes from the Underground’ of Dostoevsky… You gather together all the best styles… of Joyce, Céline, Dosy… and utilize them in the muscular rush of your own narrative style & excitement. I say truly, no Dreiser, no Wolfe has come close to it; Melville was never truer.’

Cassady, Neal (1926-1968). Typed letter completed in autograph and with autograph additions, corrections, and deletions in pencil and pen, to Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), Denver, 17 December 1950. 18 pages, comprising nearly 16,000 words, some pale browning and minor marginal chipping. Estimate $400,000-600,000. This lot is offered in the Books & Manuscripts sale on 16 June at Christie’s

Cassady, Neal (1926-1968). Typed letter completed in autograph and with autograph additions, corrections, and deletions in pencil and pen, to Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), Denver, 17 December 1950. 18 pages, comprising nearly 16,000 words, some pale browning and minor marginal chipping. Estimate: $400,000-600,000. This lot is offered in the Books & Manuscripts sale on 16 June at Christie’s New York. © Cathy Sylvia Cassady, Jami Cassady and John Cassady

© Cathy Sylvia Cassady, Jami Cassady and John Cassady
© Cathy Sylvia Cassady, Jami Cassady and John Cassady

In an interview published in the Summer 1968 issue of The Paris Review, Kerouac famously hailed the letter’s impact: ‘I got the idea for the spontaneous style of On the Road from seeing how good old Neal Cassady wrote his letters to me, all first person, fast, mad, confessional, completely serious, all detailed, with real names in his case, however (being letters).’

Nearly everyone who knew Cassady was struck by his natural verbal virtuosity as a monologist. Kerouac’s first wife, Joan Haverty Kerouac, recounted his tales of ‘cares and escapades, jail memories and women and nights and blues’, though she was certain that no writing ‘could… capture the vitality and intensity of the voice I now heard, describing everything in such a way that lived it just by listening.’

Never read, or merely neglected, the letter remained untended until its discovery in 2012

As with many documents of the era, the ‘Joan Anderson’ letter travelled a complex path through many hands, and for the majority of the last 66 years was considered lost. After being entranced by it and responding, Kerouac gave the letter to Allen Ginsberg to read and offer to publishers.

Ginsberg then took the letter to his friend Gerd Stern, who was living in Sausalito in California on a houseboat and working as a West Coast rep for Ace Books. Within the tight Beat nexus, Ginsberg and Stern formed a bond after meeting at the mental facility where they were both introduced to (Howl-dedicatee) Carl Solomon. Solomon’s uncle owned Ace Books, and it was Ace that had published William S. Burroughs’ Junkie in 1953.

Despite their enthusiasm, Ace rejected publication of Cassady’s typescript and it was returned by Stern to Ginsberg. The letter then went missing and the story was born — perpetuated most emphatically by Kerouac — that it had been lost over the side of Stern’s boat.

In fact, Cassady’s letter had been preserved in the files of the Golden Goose Press. Owned by Ginsberg and Stern’s friend R.W. ‘Dick’ Emerson, the Golden Goose Press was known for publishing some of the finest poets of the period, and for making audio recordings of their readings. Emerson placed the envelope containing the letter on his ‘to read’ pile. Never read, or merely neglected, it remained untended until its discovery in 2012 by Jean Spinosa.

No records of any sales are recorded in the online databases for any Cassady material, let alone for material of this literary consequence

Ginsberg later had no memory of giving the Joan Anderson Letter to Stern, and when Emerson closed the Golden Goose Press the letter was packed further into obscurity. It may have been lost for ever had not John ‘Jack’ Spinosa, Emerson’s officemate at 40 Gold Street in San Francisco, insisted on preserving the press’s archives when they were forced to vacate their rental space.

Spinosa recognized that literary history was preserved in those files, and saved them from being thrown away as Emerson cleared the office. The boxes remained with Spinosa and his wife Kathleen Cohan until after his death on 29 November 2011. On the following 15 May, Jack’s daughter Jean discovered this long-lost treasure of post-war American literature, buried among the files of the Golden Goose Press.

Only a fragment of the letter has ever been published — 14 years after it was written, and after the great works it influenced had come out. A portion of the letter, apparently copied by Kerouac before he passed it on to Ginsberg, was published in 1964 by John Bryan in his Notes from Underground #1, where it was called ‘The First Third’. Bryan claimed that Cassady himself came to help print it, while the title suggests that Cassady was by this time considering it as the first portion of his ongoing autobiography.

The same extract was published by City Lights in 1971 as an addendum to Cassady’s book The First Third, and later formed the basis of the 1997 film The Last Time I Committed Suicide, directed by Stephen T. Kay, and starring Thomas Jane and Keanu Reeves.

It is an understatement to remark that Neal Cassady material is scarce at auction: it is unprecedented. No records of any sales are recorded in the online databases for any Cassady material, let alone for material of this literary significance. The circumstances of its preservation and appearance at auction constitute a unique opportunity to acquire a foundational post-war literary manuscript that transcends its humble origins as a ‘letter’.

The complete extant archive of the Golden Goose Press, in which was discovered Neal Cassady’s groundbreaking ‘Joan Anderson Letter.’ Sausalito, California, 1950s-60s. Together nearly 200 pamphlets, letters, pieces of ephemera, and related material. A complete list is available on request. Estimate $10,000-15,000. This lot is offered in the Books & Manuscripts sale on 16 June