The Village Voice's great Running Scared blog has made another great "Clip Job" available, this time a review (of sorts) of Kerouac's The Dharma Bums written by Allen Ginsberg in 1958:
The next step (after the rejection of the original “Road”) was to redo the subject, chronological account of the hero’s life, in regular gothic-Melvillian prose.
That was started with one magic chapter about a Denver football field. But then K said, shove publishing and literary preconceptions, I want something I can read, some interesting prose, for my old age. “Visions of Neal” and “Dr. Sax” (1951-53) and another dozen subsequent books (prose, poetry, biography, meditation, translation, sketching, novels, nouvelles, fragments of brown wrapping paper, golden parchments scribbled at midnight, strange notebooks in Mexico and Desolation Peak and Ozone Park) follow.
Writing is like piano playing, the more you do it the more you know how to play a piano. And improvise, like Bach.
Not a mechanical process: the mechanical and artless practice would have been to go on writing regular novels with regular types form and dull prose. Well, I don’t know why I’m arguing.
Too many critics (all incomplete because they themselves do not know how to write). Pound said not to take advice from someone who had not himself produced a masterpiece.
Am I writing for The Village Voice or the Hearing of God? In a monster mechanical mass-medium age full of horrible people with wires in their heads; the explanation is hard to make, after everybody’s cash-conscious egotistical book-reviewing, trend-spotting brother has bespoke his own opinion.
It’s all gibberish, everything that has been said. There’s not many competent explainers. I’m not speaking of the Beat Generation, which after all is quite an Angelic Idea. As to what non-writers, journalists, etc., have made of it, as usual—well, it’s their bad poetry not Kerouac’s.