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Gone in October

Gone in October

(p.371) Chapter 22 Gone in October
Ann ChartersSamuel Charters
University Press of Mississippi

On October 21, 1969, Jack Kerouac died in St. Petersburg, Florida at the age of forty-seven after undergoing extensive abdominal surgery for hemorrhaging esophageal varices—a result of his alcoholism. Although John Clellon Holmes did not think his friend would live much beyond forty, he was shocked upon hearing the news on the radio. At the time of his death, Kerouac had been working on the book The Beat Spotlight. His body was taken to his hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts. After the funeral, Holmes wrote an essay titled “Gone in October,” one of his most sensitive prose pieces about Kerouac. He also traveled to Los Angeles to renew his sense of the city and began work on two novels. Holmes failed to find a publisher for his collection of essays about his trip to Europe in the fall of 1967, but had considerable success selling individual essays to the magazines. Having lost some of his interest in establishing a career as novelist due to Kerouac’s death, Holmes turned to poetry again.

Keywords:   poetry, Jack Kerouac, John Clellon Holmes, Beat Spotlight, Lowell, Massachusetts, Gone in October, essays, Los Angeles, novels

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