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Kerouac House Newsletter – August 2020


News from the Kerouac Project






Thank you from our president!

The giant oak tree limb that fell in front of the Kerouac House in Orlando, Florida.Thanks to all of you who reached out to us about the large oak tree limb that fell at the front of the Kerouac House, and a big shout out to all of those who contributed to the repair fund.

We are relieved to report the limb has been cut up and removed by Orange County workers, and fortunately, there was minimal damage to the Kerouac House. (When you see the photos of the fallen limb, it’s hard to believe.)

Jack Kerouac called the tree “Grandfather,” and through our interactions with residents of College Park, we have discovered many of them also cherish it. The live oak tree, which is about 250 years old, has been trimmed by the county, and the remainder of it declared healthy.

Long live Grandfather!

—Janna Benge





Tanya Grae Farewell Reading via Zoom

You are invited to attend a reading by our summer resident, Tanya Grae. Tanya will be reading from her poetry collection and work she has been writing while at the Kerouac House. She will also answer questions about her writing process.

Check out the Events page on our website where we have a link to the Zoom event.





Lunch with Grace Hagedorn, first secretary of the Kerouac Project

On July 22nd, Board members Janna and Geoff Benge, and Barbara Fischler enjoyed the privilege of having lunch with 92-year-old Grace Hagedorn. A longtime College Park resident, Grace’s focus has always been on preserving the many historic homes and buildings throughout the College Park neighborhood.In fact, Grace and her late husband, Fred, along with Summer Rodman and Gale Petronis donated the money for the initial down payment on the Kerouac House. Grace also served as secretary of the Kerouac Project of Orlando, Inc., during its formative years in the early 2000s, working tirelessly on many aspects of the organization to ensure the Kerouac House was preserved for posterity.

It was a delight to sit down with Grace for two hours and exchange stories both past and present of the Kerouac Project. We shared with her our plans to rebuild the aging foundations and ready the Kerouac House for another 100 years of use.

For our archives, Kerouac Project president Janna Benge plans to conduct and record some interviews with Grace about her involvement in the Kerouac Project. Thank you, Grace Hagedorn, for your early involvement in and dedication to the Kerouac Project.






Kerouac Alumni News

Xu Xi (Winter 2000-01), our second-ever Kerouac House writer-in-residence, will have her new book, The Art and Craft of Asian Stories, published this October. You can pre-order her book here.

She will also start a new position as the Jenks Chair in Contemporary Letters at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. (You can read the announcement here.)

The Wild Fox of Yemen by Threa Almontaser coverThrea Almontaser (Winter 2019 – 20) has a new book out as well. The Wild Fox of Yemen was the winner of the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. It was also the winner of the Poetry Book Society’s Wild Card category. You can find it here.

It looks like David W. Berner’s August memoir workshop at the Kerouac House will be postponed. We’re working on finding a way to reschedule it or see if we can do it via Zoom.

Ciara Shuttleworth (Spring 2015) has a new spoken word album out! She released it on August 2 and it’s available as a digital download. The poems she read include.

1. Love Cartographers
2. No Further West
3. Prologue to Seven Years in San Fransico.
4. Rabbit Heart

You can order her album online here.

Mona Washington (Fall 2010) is currently working on a play inspired by James Baldwin, and a libretto about King Leopold. There are no announced dates for completion, but we’re eagerly awaiting both.





Meet our board member: Rochelle Hurt

Rochelle Hunt, a board member at the Kerouac Project in Orlando, FloridaRochelle Hurt is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing in the English Department at the University of Central Florida, where she teaches in the undergraduate and graduate writing programs. She is the author of three books of poetry, including The J Girls: A Reality Show (Indiana University Press, 2022), In Which I Play the Runaway (Barrow Street, 2016), and The Rusted City (White Pine, 2014).

Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, Rochelle received her MFA in Poetry from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and her Ph.D. in English with a focus in Creative Writing from the University of Cincinnati. She’s received fellowships and residencies from Jentel, Vermont Studio Center, Wildacres, Hambidge, and Yaddo.

She moved to Orlando in 2019 and has since given local workshops and judged poetry competitions for Lake Brantley High, Trinity Prep, and the Orlando Youth Alliance.





A New Kerouac Podcast

Jack Kerouac starting at an article about a podcast about him.We just heard about a new podcast about Jack Kerouac and his writings that will be coming out soon. According to Deadline, com, the Jack Kerouac Estate is partnering with authors and podcasters Dave Wedge and Casey Sherman to produce a new series, based on Jack’s work.

According to the Deadline story:

They will launch a three season show, each season consisting of ten episodes, based on Kerouac’s Belief and Technique of Modern Prose, which was his musings on the creative process as requested by Allen Ginsberg.

The team are currently is building out the show and are planning episodes with a wide variety of A-list musicians, writers, actors and others who have been influenced by Kerouac’s writings.

We’re definitely looking forward to it, and when it’s available, we’ll be sure to let you know.

















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