Read Book of Blues by Jack Kerouac Robert Creeley Online


Best known for his "Legend of Duluoz" novels, including On the Road and The Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac is also an important poet. In these eight extended poems, Kerouac writes from the heart of experience in the music of language, employing the same instrumental blues form that he used to fullest effect in Mexico City Blues, his largely unheralded classic of postmodern liteBest known for his "Legend of Duluoz" novels, including On the Road and The Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac is also an important poet. In these eight extended poems, Kerouac writes from the heart of experience in the music of language, employing the same instrumental blues form that he used to fullest effect in Mexico City Blues, his largely unheralded classic of postmodern literature. Edited by Kerouac himself, Book of Blues is an exuberant foray into language and consciousness, rich with imagery, propelled by rhythm, and based in a reverent attentiveness to the moment."In my system, the form of blues choruses is limited by the small page of the breastpocket notebook in which they are written, like the form of a set number of bars in a jazz blues chorus, and so sometimes the word-meaning can carry from one chorus into another, or not, just like the phrase-meaning can carry harmonically from one chorus to the other, or not, in jazz, so that, in these blues as in jazz, the form is determined by time, and by the musicians spontaneous phrasing & harmonizing with the beat of time as it waves & waves on by in measured choruses." —Jack Kerouac...

Title : Book of Blues
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780140587005
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Book of Blues Reviews

  • Eddie Watkins
    2019-03-22 07:15

    Jack Kerouac reminds me of my father-in-law a little, though my father-in-law’s hands are ever working with drywall, fiberglass, salvaged wood scraps, and various buckets of construction slops rather than with words. They both, however, swill(ed) bourbon like mother’s milk. But the true substance of this comparison is their sensuous sloppiness coupled with an emotional apprehension of the world that can slip into the maudlin exposing a raw sensitivity that often masks itself in devil-may-care boorishness, and their headlong plunging into the world of things stoked by a mentality that never settles into anything resembling calm satisfaction. I realized this similarity in a flash once while talking to my wife on the phone as she was watching her father repair a boat ramp in a slipshod manner. As she described it he was out in the heat wearing nothing but boxer shorts which had a butt-side opening as gaping as his front-side fly. This image reminded me of Kerouac and his poetry. His poetry is a mess, but it’s a sensuous mess formed by a hands-on immersion, with a butt-side fly openness to the world. And inside this butt-side fly is a raw heart, and inside this raw heart is an adolescent boy who just wants to play and build and suckle bourbon from an all-enveloping mammary.

  • Natasha Lasky
    2019-03-01 03:18

    ok guys gonna b real w u all: these were bad poems. It reads like ur favorite problematic art boy got drunk and decided to re-write ulysses but with a halfhearted appropriation of "jazz." I'm a little sad I didn't really "get" this but in all honesty I'm actually kind of angry this book exists. Like whatever kerouac I'm glad ur trying shit out and writing angsty poems about hot girls in your notebooks. But also like do we have to find every last unpublished notebook full of bullshit kerouac wrote and release it upon the world? There are like, 80 poems is this book! Do we need people to spend their hard-earned cash on a poem that's literally just "hnffff--drrrrrrr--drosh" repeated a bunch of times and not even in a cute James Joyce kinda way? (don't even attempt to tell me that's an "exuberant foray into language and consciousness" cause I don't even know what the fuck that means)The only thing I liked here was that Kerouac wrote a bunch of poems about how much he likes Emily Dickinson, which is pretty endearing.

  • JJ Lehmann
    2019-02-21 06:02

    My first Kerouac book...I actually stole this book. Shh, don't tell anyone...oops.

  • Mat
    2019-03-22 06:16

    Hmmmmm........tough call.I think this is one of those books that divides the bona fide Kerouac fan from the Kerouac freak. Come to think of it, I probably used to belong to the latter category but now most probably belong to the former category. Like with so many of Kerouac's poetry collections, there are highs and lows. Even in his largely unheralded classic Mexico City Blues, some pages are disappointing. Is this the best the King of the Beats has to offer, I wondered at times. But here I must stop and remind myself that to analyse Kerouac's poetry on the micro level is misleading and somewhat missing the point. Kerouac himself provides the very keys to exploring that beautiful labyrinth of his mind - to understanding his work - he is a jazz poet, par excellence, blowing his blues like a tenorman on a Sunday afternoon jam session. And listen to any solo by the jazz greats - Coltrane, Parker or Davis - and you will soon realise that not every note, not even every phrase is melodious and good. But they are SEARCHING (yes that is the key word) for that sound and towards the end of the book Kerouac says (in a short aside) that he has found his sound. He is writing spontaneously and just like a jazz solo, the sum is definitely greater than the individual parts. In some spots, Kerouac breaks into Joycean babble doubletalk but somehow that "scatalogical pile-up of words" (as Kerouac describes his own spontaneous bop prosody) is endlessly fascinating. Some of it makes no sense whatsoever no matter how many times you go back over it but some choruses seem to make some sort of sense on a telepathical level. And we must remember what the whole essence of beatness is - a sort of anti-intellectual-establishment crusade or protest. College professors of literature and writing often have very rigid boundaries for deciding what can be considered as strict 'literature'. Well, as Corso and Kerouac knew well, the man of the street (Jack Micheline is a prime example) knows society on a level that the college professor in his cozy college office cannot. Enter the beats. And that's what it is all about. In my opinion, San Francisco Blues contains Kerouac's best work in this collection but parts of Orizaba and Cerrada blues are also fascinating. Some of the poems in this collection are top notch five-star but there are some three and two-star choruses too and I know Kerouac is capable of doing better but to reiterate, the sum is greater than the parts. Still definitely worth a read but if you are new to Kerouac's poetry, start with the pristine, the sublime Mexico City Blues. Three stars for Book of Blues.

  • Taylor Church
    2019-02-22 03:58

    Mary Karr, the ex-girlfriend of my arguably (the argument is in my own head) favorite author David Foster Wallace wrote : “Such a small, pure object a poem could be, made of nothing but air, a tiny string of letters, maybe small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. But it could blow everybody’s head off.”I think many poems would in fact blow everyone’s heads off, if more people were apt to read poetry. Sadly, some of the finest works of art are lost—lost not because they are buried or stolen, but because no one is looking for them. Admittedly, poetry is not my favorite form of letters, but sometimes it is so beautiful you cannot toss it aside. Plus, if one of your favorite prose writers also writes poetry, it’s hard to not want to gobble that up too. This was the case with Mr. Jack Kerouac. I had read 9 of his novels, and stumbled upon The Book of Blues in a used bookstore and bought it in a hurry, fearing I would never see it again on a bookstore shelf.Like much of Jack’s work, it takes a special understanding of his life and milieu to better appreciate and cherish his work. His books are among other things, unorthodox, selfish, muddled, and at times confusing and full of street argot. But they are also heartbreakingly genuine, raw, lyrical, and touching. His poetry is no different. He weaves through his polarizing mind leaving no topic behind, covering Buddhism, Catholicism, friendship, sex, recreational drugs, the morning time, the sounds of streets and cities, and of course sadness and loneliness. This collection of verse is unique in that the poems are compiled as if they were song lyrics and choruses, tied together to create some gorgeous masterpiece of jazz. Some lines are in French, some lines are utter balderdash, and some lines make you miss a girl from 8 years ago. But if nothing else, this work shows a man living life, and recording the beauty that most don’t see.

  • Nativeabuse
    2019-03-03 02:02

    I like Kerouac's books, I like Ginsbergs poetry, I love Burroughs, I love avant-garde poetry. So I was expecting to enjoy this.But this was the worst poetry I have ever read in my entire life. I honestly don't understand all these high ratings at all.It is hard to describe, It isn't all terrible, but a majority of it is. Most of it looks like the guy was trying to do cutups, and then when you realize he wasn't and he was seriously trying to write poetry about the streets of these cities it makes you wonder what the guy was thinking. Some of it is genuinely good, but these are few and far between.I'll post a few excerpts here to give you a good look.This is an exact poem in this book, typed out precisely as it appears, most of the poetry in this 288 page book looks like this."Dom dum dom domry Dom—dom—hahem— Sum—(creeeeee!)—Hnf— Shh—Hnf—Shh—Haf Shhh—Shhh—Hiffff— —Ma—Snffff—(bing bring,seting) —"Yo conee na nache"— D ding—d ding—d-ding— Cramp!—O ya ta dee —ker blum—kheum— Hnffff—drrrrrrrr—drosh— Pepock—Shiffle—t bda— Want a piece a bread No"The rest looks like this."Ugly pigBurpingIn the sidewalkAs surrealistic Typewriters Swim exploding by And bigger marines Lizard thru the side Of the gloom Like water For thisis the SeaOfReality."If a couple hundred pages of this stuff sounds appealing to you then by all means read it.From page 110"But I cant write, poetry, just prose."

  • Donald
    2019-03-15 23:57

    While I love Kerouac's prose, I am not a fan of his poetry. This collection did nothing to change that. However, I did like the first batch in here, the 80 choruses titled "San Francisco Blues ". The San Francisco in here is not the one that the tourists see. It's battered and dreary, filled with drunks, whores, and the weary working man. That all struck a chord with me. The rest of the poems did not, some seemingly just gibberish to my eyes.

  • Brendan
    2019-03-02 07:07

    Kerouac's poetry rolls and dips, as I can only imagine him speaking on a long drive in the night.

  • JudoLivingspree
    2019-03-08 01:08

    I needed piano and drums in the background for these poems that should be read aloud.

  • John
    2019-03-08 02:08

    There are a lot of folks who may just not 'get' this, and that's OK. Looking back through the eyes of the 21st century, it's sometimes difficult for people to grasp, but the key here is the rhythm, the blues, the cant that's used, the gaps, and above all the clearly defined limitations of how he composed these poems:"In my system, the form of blues choruses is limited by the small page of the breastpocket notebook in which they are written, like the form of a set number of bars in a jazz blues chorus, and so sometimes the word-meaning can carry from one chorus into another, or not, just like the phrase-meaning can carry harmonically from one chorus to the other, or not, in jazz, so that, in these blues as in jazz, the form is determined by time, and by the musician's spontaneous phrasing & harmonizing with the beat of time as it waves & waves on by in measure choruses."I'll echo what others have said. Put on some bop music - Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, early Coltrane...and then hear it in Jack's voice. Hit up YouTube and listen to his delivery of his prose, and realize it's all the same...beat.

  • Michael Hattem
    2019-03-03 00:18

    I've always felt that Kerouac's poetry was highly underrated since his prose is so celebrated. Kerouac attempted to be as free as one can possibly be in a prose setting, but in his poems he didn't have to try so hard because of the form. And it shows. Personally, I feel some of his best writing is contained in a few of these blues poems and in Mexico City Blues. Some of it rivals and/or surpasses any of Ginsberg's non-Howl/Kaddish/Fall of America poems. And that's saying something. I think Kerouac should rightly be remembered as one of the century's great American poets as well as prose writers. As someone else said, you will likely get more out of these poems if you have read some of his prose previously but it's certainly not required.

  • Amanda Butler
    2019-03-17 08:06

    I wanted to give this book five stars, but ultimately I docked a star for problematic content, including sexism, and racist and homophobic slurs.One can either “get” these poems, or not. Most of these poems are glances into Kerouac’s head, and are quite beautiful descriptions, both in their prose and their blunt form.Other poems are just tacky; talking about “interesting rapes” and “keep that daughter/ away from my knees/ after she’s thirteen.” Violence against women is thus turned into a casual stanza.I appreciated the many references to Emily Dickinson. I especially loved how the poems themselves sounded like the blues; I could almost hear the harmonica and saxophone playing behind these words.

  • Phil
    2019-02-25 00:08

    I am not a big fan of Kerouac, but I was very pleased with this book. His method of composing words around music and jazz I found translated very well in his poetry. The fact that it didnt seem that he was trying to be a poet gave his verse that much more of a resonance that I feel is missing in much of his prose. All that being said, it would be hard to get a feel for this book without already being familiar with at least some of his prose for it is very intimate and needs a little background. Was a pleasure to read.

  • Samantha Albala
    2019-03-21 23:52

    Jack Kerouac's Book of Blues was a wonderful collection of thoughts and clippings from traveling experiences. I felt a connection when reading these pieces. I would say some are vulgar and do not speak to me quite as much, but I did find joy and love, feeling like I was walking some streets with him. If you are new to his poetry I would recommend you start here. I haven't read anything as wonderful yet!

  • JJ
    2019-03-02 05:15

    I bought this to be a very fun kick around read and it turned out to work great for that. It was uplifting to read a few of Kerouac's choruses at any time and they really made me pay attention to detail.This was the first book I wrote in. Different things that he spoke about which I wanted to read more about.Also served as a good inspiration for my own writing. Just to experience his flow of thoughts at your own pacing was cool enough.

  • Nick
    2019-03-20 08:09

    I can't decide the voice in which I hear his poems - sometimes its direct and straight forward, similar to how I hear Neruda in my head. Other times its my voice. And sometimes its the cliche male rasp over minimalist jazz. The fluidity of style and language here is mesmerizing, and the verse structure he creates instills an important rhythm that helps hold the poems together within a given section.

  • Joe Sullivan
    2019-03-05 06:13

    Offered both inspiration and frustration at times. When Kerouac writes "gibberish" - sounds or words phonetically broken apart, it can be a turn-off. Also when he attempts to write in street vernacular. He's one of the most uneven writers, in both prose and poetry. He's got a sense of play like ee cummings, but it can be too much. In this book, the good and bad alternated, but his experimentation is admirable.

  • Sophie
    2019-03-06 07:05

    my first contact with kerouac's work and i decided to start by reading his poems. some may say that i should have read his novels beforehand, as his strength is in his prose, yet i beg to differ. i think his poems are filled with rhythm and musicality. it certainly was the best way to get sucked into his literary route.

  • Natalie
    2019-03-03 01:53

    *1.25Some of the poems from this collection that I liked (because I didn't love any) are: San Francisco Blues-14th Chorus, 32nd Chorus, 35th Chorus, 36th Chorus, 42nd Chorus, 52nd Chorus, Any Time, Horror, I Know (which is the reason I forgive his poetry), Desolation Blues- 11th Chorus, 12th Chorus.

  • Kyle Chidester
    2019-03-08 23:50

    i like to just thumb through this book every once in awhile. not really something on would sit down & read from one cover to the other, they could, but its not necessarily meant to be, & certainly not requied.

  • Matt
    2019-03-03 08:04

    "Desolation Blues", yes, please.

  • Gene Wagendorf III
    2019-02-24 04:58

    Don't get me wrong, I do really love my Kerouac, but this book is ridiculously hit or miss. Kerouac's strength is in his prose, go read that.

  • Mike Welsh
    2019-03-16 06:06

    Tough to read beat-nik poetry. Meant to be heard.

  • Uncle
    2019-03-14 06:03

    fun-filled, old-time-jazz filled poetry

  • m. soria
    2019-02-22 01:15

    some of his most famous poems are part of this collection, poems that you can read with his voice in your head, because there exist recordings of them.

  • Madison Holland
    2019-03-06 00:00


  • Evan Gray
    2019-03-11 07:06

    Don't skip the introduction to this book! Bob Creely sets this book up perfectly by explaining the terms in which it came about and how it should be read.

  • Tonya
    2019-02-27 02:50

    I don't know what I was expecting, but this was not it. It was an interesting read. It was hard to follow at times, but worth the time to read it.

  • Jason
    2019-02-22 05:49

    read through San Francisco Blues (my favorite), Richmond Hill Blues, Bowery Blues, MacDougal Street Blues, & Desolation Blues.

  • Nick Sklias
    2019-03-11 23:52

    Portend Pretend Fortune For Free The I in the End.