Literary Kicks

Turn off your mind relax and float downstream.

This is my personal project, unaffiliated with any corporation, university or organization, and dedicated to a couple of writers who mean a lot to me. There's a lot of material here, much of it written by me, plus some contributions by friends, relatives, cool people on the 'Net, and a couple of well-known Beat scholars and subterranean types who I met through this project. To enter the labyrinth click on one of these names:

Jack Kerouac

Allen Ginsberg

Or you can start with Neal Cassady, William S. Burroughs, Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso or Michael McClure.

There are also pages on The Beat Generation, Beat Connections in Rock Music, Films About The Beats, Buddhism: The Beat Religion, and the origin of the term 'Beat.' There's a Beat Bibliography, and there's also my ever-growing Beat News page (last updated October 8, 1999), which is often the best place to check if you've been away for a while. The big news lately is a big poetry reading I just put together to celebrate the 5th birthday of this site -- here's how it went).

You can also read about what happened when I auditioned for the film of 'On The Road', or read my interview with John Cassady, son of Beat legend/60's hero Neal Cassady. There are tributes to William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, both of whom died in 1997, and I've been slowly evolving a page of links to the latter-day Beat writers of the 60's. Some of these links are to mini-sites created specially for Literary Kicks, like Michael McCullough's Charles Bukowski pages or Luther Jett's one-pager about the short sad life of Cleveland pamphleteer/poet d. a. levy.

I've also been digging into alternative literature's deeper roots lately. My latest project is a digital CD-Rom movie based on the Dostoevsky novel Notes From Underground which is now available for $12.00 and can be purchased either online or off. Here are some scenes from the movie and here's some general information about it, including how to buy a copy.

The Pre-Raphaelites of England's Victorian age are also interesting to consider in light of today's underground literary scene, and Meg Wise-Lawrence's The Germ offers a fascinating look at these cultural rebels from another time.

Literary Kicks has been around for a while now (since July 23, 1994, to be exact) and while it has become increasingly well-known, I'm not budging in my insistence that this remain a distinctly *unofficial* site. I do not know any of the Beat writers personally, and have avoided soliciting direct contributions from them mainly because I think official sites are boring.

I'm a fiction writer above all else -- which is why I keep my day job. The piece of creative writing I've worked hardest on in my life is an experimental web project, Queensboro Ballads, which is basically a series of stories and short prose pieces set together in the form of an early 60's folk-rock record album. I love the idea of the internet as an alternative outlet for creative writing, and I believe the literary community on the web has the potential to introduce some much needed spontaneity and freshness into the slightly stale fiction/poetry scene of our age. In this spirit I've occasionally arranged live fiction/poetry readings featuring web writers, and an anthology of web writings I co-edited (yes, a real actual book) was published in August 1997. Here's a couple of articles about it from the New York Times and Wired.

All the text in Literary Kicks is copyrighted by me, except for the actual excerpts from Beat writings. Thanks to the people at Charm.Net for providing a very well-managed and affordable service. I created the "postage stamp" images on some of these pages with a $150 Logitech hand-held scanner and a $50 copy of PC Paintbrush (so please don't be too critical of my graphics, I'm strictly an amateur). The image at the top of this page is my alteration of a picture of Paul Verlaine, the 19th Century French poet. The quote under it (turn off your mind ...) is from John Lennon.

Literary Kicks
by Levi Asher