Beat Regeneration?

Staring down the barrel of this year’s release of the cinematic adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, hot on the heels of last year’s adaptation of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, London’s Guardian newspaper caught up with Carolyn Cassady, the 87-year-old widow of Neal Cassady. Mr. Cassady, of course, served as muse and chauffeur for the Beat Generation’s two best known works, and later drove the bus for Ken Kesey’s Merry Band of Pranksters, as told in Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Ms. Cassady herself figured into several of Kerouac’s books, including On the Road, Big Sur and Visions of Cody. The Guardian interview gives the impression of a smart woman as deserving of recognition as the men whose company she kept:

Her life has been, and continues to be, shaped by these long-dead male icons. Ironically, she is mystified by the fascination. “Kids in school are still eating it up. I don’t understand it. I don’t see any value in that at all, culturally.” Not even in reading Kerouac? “If I hadn’t known him, I never would have read any of his books.”

Read more here, and learn about the Allen Ginsberg Beat Poet Figurine here.

Author: Emmet Matheson

Saskatchewan Diaspora