By James T Jones
In this pioneering severe learn of Jack Kerouac’s book-length poem, Mexico urban Blues—a poetic parallel to the writer’s fictional saga, the Duluoz Legend—James T. Jones makes use of a wealthy and versatile neoformalist method of argue his case for the significance of Kerouac’s not often studied poem. After a short precis of Kerouac’s poetic occupation, Jones embarks on an intensive analyzing of Mexico urban Blues from numerous assorted views: he first makes a speciality of Kerouac’s use of autobiography within the poem after which discusses how Kerouac’s quite a few journeys to Mexico, his conversion to Buddhism, his conception of spontaneous poetics, and his allure to blues and to jazz encouraged the subject, constitution, and sound of Mexico urban Blues.
Jones’s multidimensional explication indicates the formal and thematic complexity of Kerouac’s lengthy poem and demonstrates the most important contribution Mexico urban Blues makes to post–World conflict II American poetry and poetics.
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Additional info for Map of the Mexico City Blues
I think Mexico City Blues by itself is worthy of that accolade. Though Kerouac's reputation as a novelist has obscured the value of his poetry, the oral quality of his prose leads one surely back to his verse. The sound of human speech is what Kerouac strove to capture in his fiction, and the sound of human speech is what unifies his most accomplished poem. It is also the sound of human speech that resolves the many conflicting themes of his works and makes his prose and poetry, finally, one. Page 22 3 Auto/Biography Truth in the long run is to him the picture of the world which was born at his birth.
As Allen's editorial correspondence in this volume makes clear, Kerouac recognized his own propensity for the poetic sequence. He spent a good deal of time trying to arrange his sequences and to make sure they were kept in tact when published. Heaven, in fact, reprints the eight choruses from Mexico City Blues that were published in Allen's landmark 1960 anthology, New American Poetry. Here, Kerouac tried to give them another kind of organization by replacing the chorus numbers with colors. " The others are colored Rose, Black, Gray, Blue, Green, Red, and Brown, giving the excerpted choruses a new order with reference to Kerouac's color symbolism, perhaps indicating a regression to childhood.
When City Lights publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti rejected the "Book of Blues" (the manuscript of which is still apparently in his possession) on the grounds that it didn't qualify as poetry, Kerouac was outraged, according to Nicosia: "Although Kerouac himself was aware of the prosaic tendencies of his poetryand felt that he could say what he wanted more exactly in prosehe was always outraged to hear similar criticism coming from someone Page 20 else" (564). Once, in a letter to James Laughlin, founder of New Directions, Kerouac explained: "All my books are as it were poetry sheeted in narrative steel" (Nicosia 545).