Lucien Carr


Beat Generation Muse

Lucien Carr Obituary
Lucien Carr and Allen Ginsberg were floormates in a Columbia University dormitory in 1943. During the Christmas holiday break, Ginsberg, wandering the deserted hallway, finds his way into Carr's room. There, he is impressed by a copy of Rimbaud's Season in Hell on Carr's desk. The two college boys become friends.

Carr would soon introduce Ginsberg to his St. Louis friends, William Burroughs and David Kammerer. In early 1944, Carr would meet another Columbia student, Jack Kerouac, from Lowell Massachusetts. It will be Lucien Carr, who after a night of drinking at the West End bar, will roll Kerouac in a barrel down the sidewalks of upper Broadway. Soon afterwards, Carr will introduce Kerouac to Ginsberg and Burroughs.

Thus, it is through Lucien Carr that the three primary Beat Generation writers will meet each other. Burroughs, the St. Louis aristocrat and Kerouac, the working-class athlete from Lowell, Massachusetts and Ginsberg the Jewish intellectual from New Jersey, strangely different shades of America, will coalesce to form the nucleus of what will become the Beat Generation vortex.

On August 13, 1944 Lucien Carr stabs David Kammerer twice in the heart with a boy scout knife. He then dumps Kammerer's corpse into the Hudson River. After seeking advice from Burroughs, who tells him to go to the police, Carr goes over to Joan Vollmer's apartment to get help from Kerouac who is asleep on the couch with his girlfriend Edie Parker. After a nice breakfast, Kerouac helps Carr dispose of Kammerer's glasses and the two wander the streets of New York. Later in the day, Carr turns himself in. He is convicted of 2nd degree manslaughter. On October 9, he is sent to the Elmira Reformatory where he will stay for two years before being paroled.

Kammerer's death and the accidental shooting of Joan Vollmer by William Burroughs seven years later, represent two important events that help marginalize the members of the Beat Generation vortex. They also set the pattern of human destruction that seems to hover over the movement. In the later 1950s, Beat-related suicides will become a depressingly familiar occurrence as the difficulties of the margin are more frequently explored.

Carr, although not a Beat Generation writer is a Beat muse of the first magnitude. His own specialized form of rebellion served as an influential model to those that did attempt to transcribe their lives. However, because of Carr's sensitivities to police-related problems, Kerouac, who always wrote about everyone he knew, obliged Carr and kept him out of his novels. Carr's name never appears in the various character identity keys decoding who is who in Kerouac's novels.

After getting out of prison, Carr began a lifelong career as a news service editor. He died January 28, 2005 in Washington, D.C.

Lucien Carr

Batting Record YEAR TEAM POS BA AB H HR RBI 1990 Beats 3b .165 236 39 5 26 1991 Beats 3b .253 605 153 33 100 1992 Beats 3b .245 625 153 37 119 1993 Beats 3b .239 641 153 38 111 1994 Beats 3b .251 626 157 37 106 5 seasons .240 2733 655 150 462

Know these words and you speak the Carr language: fruit, phallus, clitoris, cacoethes, feces, foetus, womb, Rimbaud.
--Allen Ginsberg on Lucien Carr
Source: Barry Miles, Ginsberg: A Biography. 1989.

1997 Dharma Beats Roster

1997 Lucien Carr Cosmic Player Plate
Published: December 24, 1996
Updated: January 28, 2005
© 1996, 1997 by the Cosmic Baseball Association