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A Map of Mexico City Blues
Jack Kerouac as Poet
James T. Jones
Other Formats
216 pages, 5.5 x 8.5

About the Book

In this pioneering critical study of Jack Kerouac’s book-length poem, Mexico City Blues—a poetic parallel to the writer’s fictional saga, the Duluoz Legend—James T. Jones uses a rich and flexible neoformalist approach to argue his case for the importance of Kerouac’s rarely studied poem.

After a brief summary of Kerouac’s poetic career, Jones embarks on a thorough reading of Mexico City Blues from several different perspectives: he first focuses on Kerouac’s use of autobiography in the poem and then discusses how Kerouac’s various trips to Mexico, his conversion to Buddhism, his theory of spontaneous poetics, and his attraction to blues and jazz influenced the theme, structure, and sound of Mexico City Blues.

Jones’s multidimensional explication suggests the formal and thematic complexity of Kerouac’s long poem and demonstrates the major contribution Mexico City Blues makes to post–World War II American poetry and poetics.


James T. Jones is the author of  Jack Kerouac’s Duluoz Legend: The Mythic Form of an Autobiographical Fiction and Wayward Skeptic: The Theories of R. P. Blackmur.




"James T. Jones has done a rare thing: read Kerouac’s poetry closely, and understood it as a seminal poetic work of the latter half of the American Century."—Allen Ginsberg