Writing, Literature, Poetry, & Drama

Sara Villa on Jack Kerouac's Writings on Jazz


Italian scholar Sara Villa, whose work focuses on Beat Generation writers, discusses Jack Kerouac's jazz criticism--and finds that Kerouac was more musically literate, and critically adept, than is conventionally thought. Villa gave this lecture at a talk on Jack Kerouac and jazz organized by the Center for Jazz Studies on March 12, 2009.

© 2009 Sara Villa. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

George Avakian on Jack Kerouac

Legendary Columbia Records producer George Avakian discusses his relationship with Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac. Avakian's brother, film director Aram Avakian, was a character in a Kerouac novel. In this video excerpt, George Avakian begins by discussing his brother's friendship with Kerouac stemming from their days as classmates at the Horace Mann School in Upper Manhattan during the late 1930s. He goes on to describe the relationship he developed soon after with Kerouac, who reviewed of some of Avakian's first recording production efforts.

David Amram on the Beat Generation and Jazz

Composer, french horn player, writer and raconteur David Amram talks about his association with Beat Generation artists Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Larry Rivers, and Gregory Corso. Amram moves then to a discussion of the multiple connections of jazz and improvisation with modern culture. In this clip, Amram is introduced by Sara Villa, who talks briefly about Amram's role as a character and score composer in the movie "Pull My Daisy."

© 2009 David Amram. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Amiri Baraka’s "Blues People" at Fifty : William J. Harris

This comprehensive study, the first to be written by an African American, is a precursor to the fields of cultural studies and critical race theory. William J. Harris discusses the implications of this sociocultural history of African American music and its unique place in American music history and culture. The talk marks the 50th anniversary of Amiri Baraka’s classic, which was published in New York City On September 25, 1963 with a first impression of 5000 copies and never went out of print.

A Bibliography of Jazz and Poetry Criticism

This bibliography has been updated and expanded from its original publication in Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters, 25.1 (Winter 2002): 338-346.

Books, Dissertations and Anthologies

Algarin, Miguel and Bob Holman, eds. Aloud: Voices From the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. New York: Henry Holt, 1994.

Anderson, T.J. III. Notes to Make the Sound Come Right: Four Innovators of Jazz Poetry. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2004.

Baraka, Amiri and Amina Baraka. The Music: Reflections on Jazz and Blues. New York: Morrow, 1987.

Conversation with Roy Nathanson (I)

Saxophonist Roy Nathanson talks about his experiences as a Columbia student during the unrest at the University and the militant aftermath during the late 1960s, his development as an artist in an astonishing variety of forms (including composition, songwriting, poetry, acting and teaching) his work with global stars and with high school students, and his basic need to "tell a story" no matter what artistic language he uses. Click here for Part II.


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