In 2015, Loom Press published a chapbook of author Mark Schorr's poetry titled Bridges to Kerouac. Each section emphasizes influential figures who share a connection, in some way, to Lowell, Mass., and each page of text is accompanied by a woodcut-filtered image of a place in the city.
"O Mighty Engineer," which makes up the first section, was catalyzed by the deaths of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg and Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas, both of whom Schorr had met and admired. The poem is a sort of William Blake-style song. Schorr's appreciation for Blake's work grew from his time as an English student and teacher to the occasion when he witnessed Ginsberg perform poetry in a Blake-like manner.
The latter section is a series of haikus written for J.M. Whistler, the famous painter who was born in Lowell. The haikus are idiosyncratic, irregular, and fresh, similar to those of Jack Kerouac, who proposed the "American haiku" of loose form for English-language writers.
As well as working as a technical writer and teacher over the years, Mark Schorr had been a member of the board of the Robert Frost Foundation in Lawrence, Mass. since its inception. Later, he went on to lead the organization. He passed away recently and is greatly missed. Bridges to Kerouac is available at <loompress.com>.
Posted on Fri, March 10, 2017
by Frederick Duquet