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Mexico City Blues

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  3,004 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Le poète Jack Kerouac nous livre, en 242 chorus poétiques, de superbes "méditations sensorielles". Une poésie folle, joyeuse, triste et magnifique où se dessine le portrait d'un homme complexe et doué d'une sensibilité suprême : "Je veux être considéré comme un poète de jazz soufflant un long blues au cours d'une jam-session." (Jack Kerouac)
Published 1994 by Christian Bourgois (first published 1959)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  3,004 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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Jon Nakapalau
Zenful jazz riffs on our smoke veiled existence - beautiful.
Aug 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
It took me years 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. Kerouac 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 me). The Buddhist leanings are a little simple-minded, but simplicity is part of the point. Kerouac combines a love for made-up ...more
Heather Marie
Nov 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
do you like poetry? dreams? me too. so does Jack. let's go sit on the roof now.
Mar 25, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry

Listen, I've read a lot of poetry, especially studying English Literature for so many years. Dickinson, Frost, Shakespeare, Whitman, William Carlos Williams, Eliot. Carver, Bukowski, Bly, Hoaglund, Glück, Cisneros, Nick Flynn. I've read Kerouac's three most popular novels, being On the Road (have read this three times), Dharma Bums, and Big Sur. Love him or hate him, he's a master beat novelist in the "stream of consciousness" style. But his poetry? Grade A Shit.

In college, the professors
Luke Redfield
Aug 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of stream-of-conciousness
one of kerouac's finest moments for it's differency. open to any page and engage.

om. hare rama. hallelujah.
mexico. new orleans. sweet denver.

jack will always be cliche to one demographic and a god to another. an innovator too plagiarized today, in the same vein that bob dylan stole from woody g before the trend had been set.
be ahead of your time, but not too ahead of it.

fame always leads to critics. kerouac was probably an asshole, but i have a special place in my heart for anyone who lived
Lucas Theron Lammott
Jan 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I think the thing with JK is finding the diamond in the "rough" between the free flow. Try not to think to hard about what your reading but let it speak to you in your own way... does that make any sense?
Mar 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is the greatest work of poetry I've ever read. It's pure freedom of form, hypnotic meters, and chasmic depth inspired me to be a writer for the rest of my life.
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished my Extended Essay! Hence, I finished this.
At first, I won't lie, I was kinda reserved towards the poem. They just looked like random words strewn together on a page. Poems are supposed to be pleasantly musical, in some shape or another. However, after the extensive research that came with writing my monster essay, there is no denying Kerouac's inherent musicality in his poems. The erratic, spontaneous, improvisational feel of jazz is vividly latent in all of these choruses. Good job
robin friedman
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kerouac wrote his volume of poetry "Mexico City Blues" during the summer of 1955 while living in Mexico City. During this time, he also wrote his sad and still underappreciated short novel, "Tristessa" Tristessa [TRISTESSA] [Paperback]. "Mexico City Blues" had a difficult history. Kerouac's friend, Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Press, rejected the book for publication in 1956. In 1959, Grove Press published the work. Then, in November, 1959, the poet Kenneth Rexroth published a ...more
Jul 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To make any sense of Mexico City Blues by Kerouac, you've got to read it out loud, and read it quickly.

Love his novels, and I'm starting to fall in love with his poetry.

... Also, if anyone is planning on getting into Kerouac's Buddhist texts, then, in the words of Jack: "To understand what I'm sayin, You gotta read the Sutras."

Brian Martin
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great supplement to other works by and about Kerouac. Not every line is great, but many are. And this poem is an insightful and enjoyable read.
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, out-loud
At moments brilliant but mostly drug addled crap, Mexico City Blues is Jack Kerouac's career in microcosm. There are times when his poetry and prose are truly great, when he can incite or captivate or evoke a sensation like a master, but most of the time he is a hack.

I know, I know, y'all love him and think he is a literary god, but he really isn't. He and his friends (he is no Ginsberg or Ferlengetti, after all) came at a moment when they could do anything they wanted with no worries about
Jerry Oliver
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Beautiful stuff. These 242 blues choruses mean different things to me at different times in life, but it's more about the feeling. You either get it or you don't. It's like jazz. It is jazz. For some it's an acquired taste. Others are born with bop in the blood. You need to step into the jam and find the rhythm in the words and enjoy the way they roll and play. Jack is a buzzed Buddha in sunglasses busy at prayer and play in this classic collection.
Tiah Keever
I think i was reading this at a bar in Belfast as I sipped my first Guinness on (Northern)Irish land(not my first Gunness by any means, just the first one in the Irelands). It was either this or Dr.Sax, and if it was Dr.Sax then i must've read this in Switzerland. Either way, if you like Kerouac you will probably find something you like here.
All I can say Never has a book of poetry affected me as deeply as Whitman's 1865 edition of Leaves of Grass. Each poem spoke to me in unique and different ways. Kerouac truly was the king of stream of consciousness prose. His sense of sound and the way words flow together is showcases beautifully here. I'm really at a loss for words...
May 27, 2010 rated it liked it
the obsession with Buddhism does kind of get annoying, but good poetry overall.

favorites: 6, 16, 17, 24, 25, 33, 34, 49, 64, 66, 67, 69, 70, 72, 80, 110, 111, 113, 123, 131, 143, 168, 176, 184, 187, 190, 192, 198, 202, 204, 206, 209, 211, 212, 226, 227, 228, 242
Chad Christensen
Feb 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Best pomes ever. Straight at it Kerouac.
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Jack always makes me smile : ) 34th chorus is my favorite...leisurely exploring souls and cities...!
Emily Fraker
Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is my all-time favorite book of poetry. There is a chorus in here for every emotion, and the rhythm of the work as a whole is undeniable.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In certain sections of this I did as Todd recommended and read out loud (real life didn't always allow this) and the sounds of the words and the Buddhist meanings kinda melded. It didn't always work though. The Beat Generation practice of spontaneous writing worked amazingly well when it worked and was pretty bad when it didn't. Overall, this had some nice passages and some fails. Hit and miss.
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
So, I had to read this book for a class on Beat writers and writing. Not sure I would have read it otherwise. That being said, I didn't hate this - but honestly, I think Kerouac is better at writing prose than poetry.

Mexico City Blues is, to put it simply, Kerouac's ruminations on a variety of subjects while he was hiding in Mexico City in 1955. Lots of reflections on religion (Buddhism in particular), existentialist sorts of questions, jazz, and personal, autobiographical events. If these
Michael Vagnetti
Urging toward what the author calls "saylessness," this is writing that swings and blows with the improvisational style of the jazz chorus. There's dope, spittle, adrenaline, joint pain, hot sweet moonlight, and someone who's read Sanskrit and is trying to sing it like it's sticking, and maybe get you to at the same time. He draws circles around nothing. See? Sure, you could read Suzuki on Zen in the fifties, but what the hell was America going to understand, share, or give you back? For me, the ...more
Alec Swartz
May 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and surreal at its best. Hiccuped and unintelligible at its worst.

Perhaps, however, that is too harsh of a criticism, because much of the poetry in this book is an experiment of sound and language. The unintelligible sections should be enjoyed for its poesy, not meaning. Kerouac truly emerges as a talented jazz and blues poet.

Overall, this is a beautiful book of poetry. Kerouac is at his best during his meditations on death, meaning, and childhood -- all of which are pervasive
Feb 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The poetry was... difficult to say the least. It often seemed to be just words for words sake. Having said that there were many moments of lyrical genius and some beautiful images evoked in an interesting way. i think that it will benefit from repeated readings.
Alexander Scott
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting, at times some of the poems seemed awful, but then I started reading them whilst listening to Coltrane, monk, Davis, then found them more interesting and made more sense in the style and framing ect.
Dec 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
this is my favorite book of poetry. it makes me feel cool when I read it.
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kerouac's poetry is the perfect expression of both his musicality and his spirituality.
David Scott
Jun 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book of spontaneous jazz poetry is a fun collection of riffs from one of the legends of the Beat Poetry scene.
Feb 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
my first tast of the man
Peter Hurme
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If there were more stars available, I'd select them. I'm pretty fickle when it comes to Poetry (or Prose-etry) and in that genre, I think this was a game-changer!
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Jack Kerouac was born Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac on March 12, 1922, in Lowell, Massachusetts. Jack Kerouac's writing career began in the 1940s, but didn't meet with commercial success until 1957, when On the Road was published. The book became an American classic that defined the Beat Generation. Kerouac died on October 21, 1969, from an abdominal hemorrhage, at age 47.

“I'd rather be thin than famous
but I'm fat
paste that in your broadway show”
“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”
More quotes…