I’m a big fan of Thomas Pynchon. Levi Asher, at Literary Kicks, isn’t so sure, but it sounds like he’s willing to give Pynchon’s new book a try. Personally, I can’t wait to read it!
Levi says, “All my friends and literary comrades and people I respect love Thomas Pynchon. I guess they find his convoluted style fun and challenging. Who knows? My friends have Pynchon tattoos, have named their bands or websites after Pynchon, have even written adoring Litkicks articles about Pynchon. I don’t understand why all these smart people love him so much and I don’t, and I feel very isolated in this position.”
Literary Kicks’ Levi Asher says, “I’ve spent a week surfing his works and reading the exciting biography Derrida: A Biography by Benoît Peeters (as recommended to me by a commenter to last weekend’s Derrida post). I now realize how ridiculous it is that I’ve never studied Derrida or the other deconstructionists and poststructuralists before, since they cover many of the same themes I’ve been long obsessed with: ethics, language, personal identity, political activism. I now find Derrida deftly reaching the same kinds of conclusions I have been groping towards (but, I’m sure, with much less finesse and skill) in these pages. In short, I feel like I’ve been a deconstructionist/post-structuralist all my life, but I didn’t know it until now.”
Literary Kicks, a website born in 1994, was there to witness it all, standing at the crossroads of emerging Internet culture and Beat inspiration.
Here’s the tale of Levi Asher’s audition for Francis Ford Coppola’s movie version of ‘On The Road’, and John Perry Barlow’s touching explanation of how Neal Cassady inspired the Grateful Dead song “Cassidy” . . . W. S. Merwin and Allen Ginsberg get into a heated argument over forced nakedness as Buddhist prayer, Patricia Elliot describes William S. Burroughs’s funeral in Kansas, and Michael McClure describes, on the fiftieth anniversary of the legendary Six Gallery poetry reading, what it all meant . . .
“Henry junior remembered voyages northward from New York City on the newly built Hudson River Railroad, whose construction he and his friends celebrated with frequent treks from Fourteenth Street to the ‘upper reaches of the city,’ where there was ‘a riot of explosion and great shouting and waving of red flags.’ They imagined their visits ‘beset with danger.’ The city inexorably grew, avenues, transport, and housing yardsticking northward; the area between Union Square and Forty-second Street – Murray Hill, Chelsea, the Reservoir – a mixture of farms and newly built homes. Pigs snouted garbage in streets that would one day be the bright-lit center of the world. The first brownstones began to make what seemed to the elite of mid-nineteenth-century New York their monotonous chocolate extensions east and west from Broadway. To Henry junior, Broadway was ‘the joy and adventure of one’s childhood,’ stretching, ‘prodigiously, from Union Square to Barnum’s great American Museum by the City Hall.’ It was the street on which the city pulsated and from which everything radiated toward the distant rivers. At one end of it, in the few square miles of lower Manhattan, trade, trading houses, and the stock exchange touched the piers from which wood-masted vessels connected New York with the rest of the world.”