Monday, March 23, 2009

Richard Goodman on Burroughs and Kerouac

In 1944, Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs all met in the span of two days at Columbia University in NYC. Burroughs began living with Joan Vollmer Adams in an apartment they shared with Jack Kerouac and Edie Parker.
Burroughs and Kerouac got into trouble with the law when Lucien Carr, killed David Kammerer in a confrontation over Kammerer's incessant and unwanted homosexual advances. Lucian had allowed Kammerer to hang out with him for years and Richard speculated that perhaps Lucian was a bit of a masochist. The killing happened in Riverside Park in Manhattan's upper west side. After the killing Carr sought out Kerouac, who helped him dispose of the knife and some of Kammerer's belongings. Kerouac may have had a somewhat loose moral code based on necessity yet he was very generous to fellow writers and friends. Kerouac was arrested as an accessory after the fact and served time in jail. He married Edie Parker so her parents would bail him out of jail. The marriage was annulled one year later.
This incident inspired Burroughs and Kerouac to collaborate on a novel entitled And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks. This title came from a WWII news radio broadcast. It was the broadcasters last pitch before signing off. Completed in 1945, the two young authors were unable to get it published, but the manuscript was finally published in November 2008 by Grove Press and Penguin Books. Plans are in the works to make it into a movie.
Richard Goodman personally met Burroughs after he sent him a letter and Burroughs wrote him back. Richard had those letters and showed them to people after the talk.

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