The original manuscript of this book, written between 1954 and 1965, has been in the safekeeping of City Lights all the years since Kerouac’s death in 1969.
Reaching beyond the scope of his Mexico City Blues, here are pomes about Mexico and Tangier, Berkeley and the Bowery. Mid-fifties road poems, hymns and songs of God, drug poems, wine poems, dharma poems and Buddhist meditations. Poems to Beat friends, goofball poems, quirky haiku, and a fine, long elegy in “Canuckian Child Patoi Probably Medieval . . . an English blues.” But more than a quarter of a century after it was written, Pomes of All Sizes today would seem to be more than a sum of it parts, revealing a questing Kerouac grown beyond the popular image of himself as a Beat on the Road.
Here is a treasure, in the mainstream of American Literature . . . lovely familiar classic Kerouacism’s, nostalgic gathas from 1955 Berkeley cottage days, pure sober tender Kerouac of your yore, pithy exquisite later drunken laments and bitter nuts and verses . . . to be appreciated by cognoscenti and literate strangers alike . . . . –from the Introduction by Allen Ginsberg
Underlying this volume . . . is the drama of Kerouac the mystic, with his urge toward control, at odds with Kerouac the freewheeling Beat and, on a personal level, Kerouac the alcoholic. Yet as Ginsberg observes in his introduction, division-the sense of life as both real and dream-is the pervasive spiritual intelligence of the Beats. Given that, this is a perhaps ironically representative volume. —Publishers Weekly
Here in Pomes All Sizes you discover the contemplative Kerouac, musing on the quiet meaning of things or thinking of friends in other places, casting his thoughts into little short lines and stopping exactly where the first thought stopped. There is delight to be gained here, poetic delight and a fuller picture of the great Kerouac persona which has relentlessly been reduced over the years to the well-known caricature of the graceless drunken beatnik lout. Bullshit! Kerouac, my friends, was full of grace, and a ‘great creator of forms that ultimately find expression in mores and what have you.’ –John Sinclair
Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) was a principal actor in the Beat Generation, and a companion of Allen Ginsberg and Neal Cassady in that great adventure. His books include On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Mexico City Blues, Lonesome Traveler, Visions of Cody, Scattered Poems (City Lights), and Scripture of the Golden Eternity (City Lights).