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17 Reviews
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spontaneous Bop Prosody
It took me a while to get beyond the Beat myth and see these poems for what they are--some of the most joyful, goofy and affecting writings of the last century. Jack wrote all 242 choruses--one per notebook page--over six weeks in 1955. His improvised word-jazz was at its peak; the poems are fresh and spontaneous but rarely sloppy (try it yourself if you don't believe...
Published on February 9, 2001 by Arch Llewellyn

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2.0 out of 5 stars kerouac's actual poetry seems far less poetic than his prose
Being perfectly too serious, Kerouac's idea of spontaneous writing does not work nearly quite so well when writing poetry than it does when Kerouac busts out his mostly American adventures in prose. Oh ho ho, it's still good, still enjoyable: I enjoy it. Thing is, see, a lot comes across as meaningless drivel, don't ever read this book straight through, you'll get angry...
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer


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5.0 out of 5 stars good book, August 10, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Mexico City Blues: 242 Choruses (Paperback)
Good poetry book. The response was quickly and the product came safe to my home, it was a good buy.
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2.0 out of 5 stars kerouac's actual poetry seems far less poetic than his prose, March 21, 2013
Being perfectly too serious, Kerouac's idea of spontaneous writing does not work nearly quite so well when writing poetry than it does when Kerouac busts out his mostly American adventures in prose. Oh ho ho, it's still good, still enjoyable: I enjoy it. Thing is, see, a lot comes across as meaningless drivel, don't ever read this book straight through, you'll get angry and tell yourself lies, you like it less than you do, and cetera. (Happened with me--currently glimpsing through 2 weeks later and digging this stuff more and more.) There's an end and at it Kerouac's poetry just didn't compare to his fellow beats; Corso, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Brautigan, Kaufman, Snyder, (probably not Orlovsky--Idon'tknow--,) left him in the dust. He always sez he was scared of reading this stuff out loud. (Why do I mention that?) There were parts had me groaning most loudly: his cheesy grade school attempts at rhyming I couldn't understand the point of. The best parts? I have a thing for the Beats' Buddhism, so whenever the word bodhisattva or similar pop up I got kinda excited here in my seat and my appreciation came back up to normal.

Here's one I find pretty hep, the 33rd chorus of 242:

A vast cavern, huh?
I stop & jump to other field
And you wander around
Like Jap prisoners
In Salt Lake Cities
Under San Francisco's Sewage disaster.
"An explorer of souls
and cities --"
"A lowdown junkey" --
"Who has discovered
that the essence of life
is found only in the poppy plant

with the help of odium
the addict explores
the world anew
and creates a world
in his own image
with the help of Madame
Poppy
I'm an idealist
who has outgrown
my idealism
I have nothing to do
the rest of my life
but do it
and the rest of my life
to do it"*

If you can't dig that, you can't dig the 244 pages of poetry within Meheeco City Blues. Not the best stuff, but good. Nothing truly memorable, nothing to memorize and sing with soft love in the ears of a young woman who probably doesn't even like poetry anyway so what the flippin' gosh dang. If ever I come galloping across more Kerouac poetry, I'll pick it up gladly, especially if it's called the Scripture of the Golden Eternity or Pomes All Sizes, but ahhh not much effort'll be going into these hunts, no sir. Give me another Dharma Bums! or Desolation Angels! or Lonesome Traveler! or yes! even On the Road!

45%

*Amazon won't allow me to re-create the structure of the poem, which does hurt it a bit, trust me.

[Written April 2008 for LibraryThing. Sadly, for fans out there, no longer consider myself impressed one whit with Kerouac's oeuvre--including that 33rd chorus or whatever quoted up above.]
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dropping names in rhythm, August 6, 2003
By 
Mary E. Sibley (Medina, Ohio, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Mexico City Blues: 242 Choruses (Paperback)
Good men who live have karma of a dove. It is 242 choruses, 242 poems. As is everything written by Kerouac, it is autobiographical. How can Mexico have a positive association in Beat history when William Burroughs killed his wife there in a William Tell experiment? Anything by Kerouac was edited and promoted by Allen Ginsberg and for that reason alone a book of poems with Mexico in the title is of interest.
Thinking of comfortable thoughts is what modern society has branded loafing is a line in one of the poems. Zen provides much of the impetus for the collection of poems. Kerouac's work manages to create an atmosphere of tropical vegetation and light. The work is free-form and jazz-like.
Automatic writing? Well, maybe not automatic writing precisely. Certainly the word-play and the fluidity remind the reader of Gertrude Stein. (Mention Gertrude Stein and here we are at chorus 31.)
I like the prose better, but I like the idea of the book and the arrangement. The Beats stood for blessedness and freedom. MEXICO CITY BLUES is an appropriate manifestation of Beat ideology. Fifty first Chorus says America is a permisible dream, a Whitmanesque expression.
This is a celebration of other people. I count Gregory Corso, William Carlos Williams, Oscar Wilde, Alexander Pope, Benjamin Franklin, William Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, the aforesaid Gertrude Stein, Charley Parker, Nin and Ma, Pa or Leo Alcide Kerouac, brother Gerard, Thurber, Baudelaire, Jolson, Miles, Sarah Vaughn, Chagall, Whitman, Melville, Mark Twain, Einstein, Plato, Moses, Aristotle, Joe Louis, Spinoza, James Huneker, Alfred Knopf, H.L. Mencken, David, Picasso, Jesus, Proust, Freud, Glenn Miller, Allen Ginsberg, St. Francis, Siddhartha, Virgin Mary.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mexico City Blues 242 Choruses, February 5, 2000
This review is from: Mexico City Blues: 242 Choruses (Paperback)
This book of jazz poems inspired me along with Charlie Parker's music to paint a painting with 242 11"x14" canvasses-one for each chorus-each canvas uses the same four elements(black caligraphy from an early hard cover edition, white from the cover's background, a red circle for beat poetry and a blue circle for jazz) yet each is different the way a jazz musician improvises on a melody line. A must read for all lovers of the Beats and Jack in particular.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better be a fan to understand, November 18, 1999
By A Customer
A look into the beat generation and the thoughts of their leader. Spontanues poetry that's meaning is often missed in the first reading.
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mexico City Blues, December 19, 1999
By 
Charlie Burgess (Kalamazoo, Michigan) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mexico City Blues: 242 Choruses (Paperback)
A must-read, but you won't want to read it again
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ole Viva Mexico City Blues!!!!!!!!!, February 20, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Mexico City Blues: 242 Choruses (Paperback)
I bought it about two or three or may be four? I was immediatly drawn in! Each poem was like a short store in it self. If you get the chance by all means. BUY THIS BOOK IMMEDIATLY!!!!!! YOU WON'T BE DISSAPOINTED!!! I GURANTEE IT!!!!
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Mexico City Blues: 242 Choruses
Mexico City Blues: 242 Choruses by Jack Kerouac (Paperback - January 12, 1994)
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