81. Honoring Jack Kerouac’s Impact on American Poetry w/ S.A. Griffin & Richard Modiano

In the second of three special episodes celebrating Kerouac’s 100th birthday, Dan invited S.A. Griffin & Richard Modiano to talk about Kerouac’s contribution to American poetry, his haiku mastery, spiritual questing, the challenge of adapting Kerouac’s novels on film, and so much more.

Listen to the first Kerouac episode: 80. Celebrating Jack Kerouac’s 100th Birthday w/ Tim Hernandez & Nate Jordan

S.A. Griffin lives, loves and works in Los Angeles. The author of Dreams Gone Mad with Hope (Punk Hostage Press), he is a Carma Bum and the co-editor of The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry (Firecracker Award). Publishing on his Rose of Sharon imprint since 1988, most recently producing Hard to Say in a Way That Might Be Heard by Michael Lane Bruner and Mike M Mollett, and a poetry broadside for poet/writer Dan Denton. In 2010 he went on a five-week, 11,000 mile couch surfing tour of the U.S. with Elsie The Poetry Bomb, a 7 foot tall Vietnam era practice bomb converted into an art object filled with over 900 poems from around the world and all walks of life in an effort to spread Elsie’s message that we have lost the ability to disagree, the essential core of all democratic process and civil discourse. In 2012 he was honored to be the first recipient of Beyond Baroque’s Distinguished Service Award.

Richard Modiano is a native of Los Angeles. He attended the University of Hawai’i and New York University. While a resident of New York City he became active in the literary community connected to the Poetry Project where he came to know Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, William S. Burroughs and Ted Berrigan.  In 2001 he was a programmer at Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center, joined the Board of Trustees in 2006 and from 2010 to 2019, he served as Executive Director. In that time he produced and curated hundreds of literary events. Richard is a rank and file member of the Industrial Workers of the World. In 2019 he was elected Vice President of the California State Poetry Society. The Huffington Post named him as one of 200 people doing the most to promote American poetry. His collection The Forbidden Lunch Box is published by Punk Hostage Press.

People and Texts Mentioned in this Episode

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“I related pretty heavily to the, what you might suggest, is the spiritual content of [On the Road]. I have a theory that what drives a lot of The Beat Generation would be lost fathers.”
–S.A. Griffin

“The Beats […] what it represents to me is, although in the present people don’t really see this, but at the time it was inclusion.”
–S.A. Griffin

“In The Dharma Bums, we have the beginning of the American haiku movement.”
–Richard Modiano

“Kerouac is considered completely canonical in The American haiku movement.”
–Richard Modiano

“And we need to become human again, and so you might be right, it might be a time to go on the road and carry these things with us, these spiritual theological ideas, these common ideas of who we are as people to one another, our relationship is integral to our survival.”
–S.A. Griffin

“If you wanted to make a [movie] version of On the Road that is true to its late 1940s era it would have to be in the manner of The Grapes of Wrath.”
–Richard Modiano

“What binds all of us, as human beings, are our stories.”
–S.A. Griffin

This episode was recorded on March 11th, 2022. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod.

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