Sunday, November 12, 2006

Kenneth Rexroth

King Wenclas' ruminations on the Patriarch of the San Francisco scene Kenneth Rexroth on King's site ATTACKING THE DEMI-PUPPETS ( ), have provoked some interesting thoughts on Rexroth's relationship to Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation, as well as fruitful correspondence with the Rexroth archive site BUREAU OF PUBLIC SECRETS ( ).
The correspondent from the site (didn't sign their email), says that Rexroth's role in the Beat history has been played down because of his later, difficult relationship with Kerouac. And it's true.

He shouldn't be viewed as another of the Establishment jackasses and lickspittles who lined up to put Jack down, though put him down Rexroth did. His criticisms were serious, though spiteful, and they were motivated by Rexroth's desire to protect a radical tradition he genuinely believed Kerouac was undermining with his sentimentality, his secret populism, his conservatism. It's a highly arguable position, but it's a position, which is more than you can say for the hack journalists who were insulting Jack for cheap laughs in suburban breakfast nooks.

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