Sunday, May 11, 2008

Neal Cassady - Looking back on the Beat Generation

Neal Cassady - Beat Generation Hobo
By Dennis Siluk, Ed.D.

Born 1926, died 1968, 41-years old. Best known for being an icon of the Beat Generation, nothing wrong with the Beat Generation, but with some of the deadbeats from that generation, and he is one. He met Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, in 1946, at Colombia University (and later on would be in Jack's books as one of his characters, 'On the Road'). Anyhow, he would receive an elegy by Ginsberg after his death, but what I want to dig out of this essay, is his essence.

He had an on and off relationship with Ginsberg for some twenty years; similar to Peter Orlovsky's. He is even mentioned in Ginsberg well known book 'Howl,' which is in my opinion, not worth mentioning, but I did, didn't I. He got married and hand children, bisexual, and settled some fifty-miles outside of San Francisco. Funny, now that I think of it, I was in San Francisco in 1968-to-1969, the year he died. He served time in prison, and used some drugs along the way (not uncommon for that time). He is also mentioned in several other books of his day, along with "Hell's Angels," and "Visions of Cody."

But what did he write to make his name? Actually this guy shows up in 19-books, by well known writers, and four movie films, and I think they are making a movie of him to be released this year, 2008. But what did he write? He even lived with the 'Grateful Dead' and he was put into a song, "The Other One," but what did he write? Kesey wrote a short story of him, after he died. Thus, he was well liked, and well known to a certain group of that day, which started at Colombia University. He died of a bad cold, after coming out of the rain, he went into a coma, and that was that-the hero died of a cold; and wrote nothing, nothing that I know of.

See Dennis' web site:

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