In Terms of a Beatnik’s Words Jazz poetry can be defined as poetry that “demonstrates jazz-like rhythm or the feel of improvisation”. As members of the Beat generation began to embrace aspects of African-American culture, the art of Jazz poetry shifted its focus from racial pride and Individuality to Impulsiveness, spontaneity, and freedom, which are all themes In The Subterranean written by Jack Kerouac.
In this case, both jazz poetry and jazz music were seen as influential statements against the status quo, which encompass he cultural phenomenon that is beatnik culture. After reading Jack Kerouac The Subterranean, which can be described as a memoir, yet also as a poetic novel, Illustrates Jazz poetry to the highest degree. Every page Is so poetic, where sentences seem more like lyrics that flow madly and encompass the spirit of Jazz.
Kerouac stream of consciousness style is ideal for narrating a problematic, tangled, thorny love affair with a woman he can’t pull himself together enough to keep, but nonetheless mourned enough to write a book about. This tale documents their zealous relationship that takes place in San Francisco during the sass’s. The position of Jazz and jazz culture is central to the novel, tying together the themes of Kerouac writing as well as the “spontaneous prose” style In which he composed most of his works.
Throughout The Subterranean, Leo Perceived, the narrator, presents himself as a philandering fool, who happens to fall in love by way of jealousy with an African American named Maraud Fox. The book focuses on their strained relationship and lifestyle which is muddled mix of art, partying, drugs, and music. The relationship from the start Immediately seems destined for failure and It Is Kerouac frenetic and settles pursuit of new sensation and experience in life that is impeccably translated into his writing.
When the word Jazz comes to mind I instinctively hear the up-tempo, bebop, disorderly tunes that flow unhinged with no break or pattern. Kerouac tells this love story in a sort of maddened free flowing style with lack of punctuation that flows to a jazz like beat. Although jazz music typically does not have words, I feel as if Kerouac writing in this book would be perfect lyrics for any song of its kind. He writes with such emotion, truth, and rhythm that I could hear these words being reformed by a Jazz musician In a shadowy clandestine Jazz club In any city.
In fact, find it to be effortless to read when I think of It In terms of a song. Throughout this novel, as well as any other I have had the pleasure of reading by Kerouac, it is evident that he has such a way with words that he can make any task or thought seem so lyrical. … The little white woolly particles from the pillow stuffing in her black almost wiry hair, and her puffed cheeks and little puffed lips, the gloom and dank of Heavenly Lane, I OFF her but crooked… ” ( Kerouac 39) Kerouac is so descriptive in what he writes that it is almost difficult not to paint a picture of what he saw and was thinking at that exact moment in time.
I feel as if he is really revealing himself in this novel through the main character. Leo at times seems so self conscious, and his feelings for Maraud seem so palpable, it makes the romance seem all the more twisted and dark. It allows me to imagine Leo sitting there in a shadowy apartment pondering his relationship with Maraud and all his faults. Kerouac uses his fictional self, Leo, to take the reader to where he was at that moment in his life. It allows the reader to take a look at beatnik culture and go to the jazz clubs that were such a place of bliss for Kerouac.
The beatnik vernacular might take some time to fully grasp but it makes each page all the more authentic. It’s the descriptive and graphic language of that time period that makes The Subterranean a beatnik classic. “… The great tumescent turbulent turmoil alliterative as a hammer on the brain bone bag and balls, bang I’m sorry I was ever born… ” ( Kerouac 96-97) The fact that Kerouac wrote such a vivid novel that evokes language which causes me to be tongue tied in every sense bewilders me. It’s not Just the love story and culture that the book centers on, I think that it’s the words as well.
Although the whole novel was written in three days I feel as if each page could have taken three days or more to write. While it lacks punctuation and it’s very free-flowing the words in The Subterranean evoke so much sensation and sound I am not only reading, I am listening. Not only is The Subterranean sort of a love story, it might be the truest love story I have ever read. I would never presume Kerouac would write the typical boy meets girl, boy chases girl, boy gets girl and they fall in love type of story, but breathless he writes a factual account of what people really endure during a relationship.
Leo meets Maraud, is infatuated with her, and thus starts the relationship. Their romance is filled with drama due to his Jealousy and insecurities, as well as the personal issues she has herself. The life style they lead consists of culture that might not be the most suitable grounds to establish a budding relationship. Leo and Maraud make immense assertions and promises in the great rush of a new relationship, and then fail each other until the magic that once was gradually diminishes.
There is no final scene where Leo shows up with flowers in hand proclaiming to be a changed man while promising a new and satisfying life. It ends with the sorrow and realization that love will come, and love will go. “… And I go home having lost her love. And now write this book… ” ( Kerouac 111) Although the final words are heartrending and callous, they are appropriate for a story such as this. This relationship ends like any other, and Kerouac wrote it in a way that is beautiful and completely familiar. Jazz is not the effect of choosing a tune, but perhaps more of an idea or a narrative created in the mind.
It is music, but like all animated, but always filled with feeling and tales off life that is entirely lived. I can’t say that I am wholly familiar with Jazz music, but from what I have come to understand the creative force behind it is the human experience. Kerouac encompasses the elements of Jazz in his writing to tell a love story that illustrates what he felt, heard, and saw during the sass’s beatnik movement. In The Subterranean Jazz not only plays a pivotal in the plot, but also in how Kerouac delivers each word on every page making it the lyrical and melodic novel it is.