Ann Charters


Kerouac Biographer

In 1956 Ann Charters was an undergraduate student living in a Berkeley, California cottage. A blind date with Peter Orlovsky was arranged by a friend. On that date, Ann Charters went to hear Allen Ginsberg read his fully completed Howl poem.

In the Berkeley theater that Ginsberg read in, Charters remembers the drawings on the walls by the painter Robert LaVigne depicting Orlovsky making love to Ginsberg. She writes

I recognized their artistic power, but I was too naive to underatand why Peter and Allen would pose naked for the artist. ( Women of the Beat Generation, page 336.)

In 1958, Charters moved to New York and did graduate work at Columbia University, earning a doctorate in 1965. While Jack Kerouac was still alive, she created a bibliography of his work that was published in 1967.

In 1966, preparing for her first meeting with Kerouac to work on the bibliography she had a dream in which she meets Kerouac and tells him he already seems dead.

Between February 1971 and October 1972 she wrote her book about Kerouac. Kerouac: A Biography was published by Straight Arrow Books in 1973, and represented the first of several Kerouac biographies.

In addition to the biography she has edited the Portable Beat Reader, The Portable Jack Kerouac, and Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters, 1940-1956. She is currently on the faculty of the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

Ann Charters

Pitching Record YEAR TEAM ERA W L IP ER BB K 1985 Beats 2.29 9 6 106 27 58 106 Batting Record YEAR TEAM POS BA AB H HR RBI 1987 Beats 2b .234 197 46 4 21 1995 Beats 2b .251 271 68 8 33 1996 Beats if .220 696 153 24 76 3 Seasons .229 1164 267 36 130

My involvement in what has since been called America's counter-culture began with a response to two of the underground poets. In 1957, Kerouac and Ginsberg were the first contemporaries I'd read whose writing seemed true in some essential way to my own thoughts and feelings about america. I went on from Howl and On The Road to discover that Kerouac and Ginsberg were just two in a larger group of writers whose work was very different from that of the Establishment poets and novelists...It must have been in 1962 that I decided to become a collector of Kerouac's works...I started to buy each book I saw, and since he was publishing new titles every year in hard and softcover editions, my collection grew rapidly and became an absorbing interest. I soon relaized I wanted to read every word he'd ever published and that I was waiting for new Kerouac titles with the same passion that Jack had waited for the Shadow Magazine every Friday when he was a kid in Lowell.

--Ann Charters
from the Introduction to Kerouac: A Biography.

1997 Dharma Beats Roster

1997 Ann Charters Cosmic Coach Plate
Published: December 24, 1996

© 1996, 1997 by the Cosmic Baseball Association