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Friday, December 29, 2017

New Release: Gerald Nicosia The Ghost of Kerouac & Other Poems (Holy & intoxicated Publications, 2017) 34 pages

Gerald Nicosia’s latest book is a collection of 20 highly variable poems, both in subject matter and tone.  You will find deeply personal poems (‘Daddio Pete’, ‘The Messenger’), five Haikus, and also meditations on love, death, parenthood, failure and the meaning of life- the best amongst these is ‘Mount Sutro Meditation’.

The main body of this collection consists of tributes to deceased friends and iconic writers, including Richard Brautigan, d.a levy, Gregory Corso and Jack Kerouac. Typically, the poems are directly addressed to these figures, some of whom Nicosia has met. The free verse language is clear, highly accessible and rich in anecdotes.

Nicosia’s obsession with evoking the spirit of the beat age appears linked to the idea in the poem ‘The Heart Goes On’ that the joy of reading may be lost as “The old books and manuscripts/ Disintegrate”. Connected with this notion is Nicosia’s foreboding sense of his own mortality. In the poem ‘Faces of the Dead’, these great voices have never rung truer for him as now:

Never spoke to me
As they do
Now that I’ve crested
The last hill
Before the long downslope
To the ocean
Where those bodies all
Flat horizonward
Till the sharks digest
What’s left of them
Several of these poems first appeared in small press publications such as Off the Tongues of Sinners, Storie, The Lowdown, House Organ, Exquisite Corpse, Night Train to Shanghai, 13 Knights of the Apocalypse and other fine literary places.

Editor John D Robinson says of this project, "I approached Gerald Nicosia for a contribution for the Series 3 Poetry Cards: it really followed on from that. I approached Gerald with the idea for a limited edition chapbook. Gerald sent me poems and I duly selected the poems." 

The cover art is by Jakub Kalousek, a friend of the poet and perhaps alludes to Kerouac’s early seminary days in Chelsea. In the watercolour, the follower is holding a book entitled ‘Lessons Of…’ in his armpit and appears to be in the process of being lobotomised by a priest behind him brandishing a crucifix.

Gerald Nicosia’s Official site (not updated since circa 2009):

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