Saturday, October 9, 2010

Kerouac’s plein air poetry

A friend of mine, Laura Tovar Dietrick, paints plein air sometimes. She enjoys taking her canvas and paints out into the “open air” to capture a scene. Tomorrow, she begins her 10-10-10 project. Ten paintings in tens days. This won’t be a plein air event but rather one done inside and her subject matter consists of images residing for the most part in her imagination.

I suspect that she’ll enjoy a plein ait outing after this hard work, or merely a nice walk to clear her artistic mind.

Kerouac wrote poetry “en plein air”, on the streets, sketching what he saw into short choruses penned in the notebooks he always carried. Some of these poems come from places with smokey air; jazz clubs and dives while listening to music, watching musicians play and sweat. I suspect a few of those notebooks have stains from booze filled glasses, ashes from cigarettes, grease from a burger, maybe.

In his introduction I liked his frank confession that his poems, these choruses, were limited by the size of the page. Each one is a short moment, some dreamy, thoughts propelled by reality while observing closely. Some of these pieces sound like song lyrics and it made me wonder about how musicians could add some melody to these choruses and sing them.

It would be a cool project.

I’m taking this book outside today to read it in the sunlight…

From Bowery Blues

For I
That the night
Will be bright
With the gold
Of old
In the inn

Jack Kerouac

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