24 May 2007

it felt like an historic nite

for the past several weeks the original manuscript of On the Road
has been lying in state at the Palace of the Governors. museum officials put together several events marking the occasion. the final one was an appearance by Gary Snyder.

of course Snyder has talkd & written abt Jack Kerouac before. but I'm not sure there has ever been an evening like this. Snyder   the teacher   the entertainer   the poet   speaking with affection abt a long dead friend & reading work by both of them.

after relating the familiar facts of their meeting   Snyder read poems they both wrote while living together in Marin County in spring 1956.

when he read some of his Han Shan translations I was particularly moved. in my life as a rare books curator one of our treasures was the magnificent manuscript of that work.

Snyder calld On the Road Kerouac's best piece of prose even tho it's "not a perfect novel in the way Maggie Cassidy is." he sd Dr.Sax is "like a Japanese animation movie." & then he talkd abt Dharma Bums. it's "not my favorite Kerouac novel" & "not a roman a clef." altho some of it is based on actual events that happend between the 2 writers Snyder feels it is "much fictional."

overall Snyder praisd Kerouac for having "a gift for language" & that as a writer he is "one of the very best."


-K- said...

I guess I shouldn't be shocked at how old he looks but still...

AlexG said...

he recently turnd 77....