Jack Kerouac ('Staten Island Ferry'), 1953
Silver gelatin print
Image size: 15 7/8 10 5/8 in. (40.3 x 27)
Paper size: 16 x 20 in. (40.6 x 50.8 cm.)
Printed late 1980's
Captioned in Ginsberg's hand:
"Kerouac at Staten Island Ferry Wharf, we used to wander night time docksides under Manhattan's bridges & through truck parkinglots along East River singing rawbone blues, Leadbelly's "Black Girl", "Eli, Eli", chanting Poe's "Annabelle Lee" & shouting Hart Crane's "O harp and altar of the fury fused;" and "Atlantis" to Brooklyn Bridge's traffic spasmed[?] above. Time of his Doctor Sax and The Subterraneans, New York, Fall 1953/Allen Ginsberg"
An iconic image of Ginsberg's friend Kerouac with a caption--in the handwritten style he developed in the 80s--that is rich in nostalgic literary detail and is comprises a unique poem unto itself. Kerouac had yet to publish the work that would make him famous. One of the signal events in the evolution of Ginsberg's poetry had just occurred on this particular visit of Kerouac's visit to NY: he had just shared his novel The Subterraneans with William Burroughs and Ginsberg. Their conversations with Kerouac about his compositional methods in the book, which he wrote over just three drug-fueled days, resulted in Kerouac's most influential pieces of writing, "Essentials of Spontaneous Prose." (see, Sarah Greenough, Beat Memories. The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg, pp. 9 & 48.
Also included in Allen Ginsberg: Photographs (Twelvetrees Press, 1990), pl. 23
Slight crimp to emulsion, lower right corner of image; short crease upper border.