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What Am I Doing Here?

What Am I Doing Here?

(p.259) Chapter 15 What Am I Doing Here?
Ann ChartersSamuel Charters
University Press of Mississippi

Less than a month after the publication of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, John Clellon Holmes finished his new jazz novel, titled The Horn. By this time, he and Kerouac were already the object of strong media interest in connection with the Beat phenomenon, and also began to reap some of its more obvious rewards. Holmes was offered by Esquire much more money than he used to receive to write an essay explaining the Beat Generation to the magazine’s upscale readers, while Kerouac was busy talking to interviewers to answer the same questions. The “Beat frenzy” sweeping over the two novelists had surfaced at a poetry reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco on October 7, 1955, with Allen Ginsberg reading the first part of Howl. There were efforts to belittle the Beats, including that of journalist Herb Caen, who coined the word “Beatnik” in his San Francisco Chronicle column on April 2, 1958.

Keywords:   poetry, Jack Kerouac, On the Road, John Clellon Holmes, The Horn, Esquire, Beat Generation, San Francisco, Allen Ginsberg, Herb Caen

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