Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922. His first novel, The Town and the City, was published in 1950. He considered all of his "true story novels," including On the Road, to be chapters of "one vast book," his autobiographical Legend of Duluoz. He died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1969 at the age of forty-seven.
A native midwesterner, Michael McClure is associated with the San Francisco renaissance of the mid 1950's, and his work, in the tradition of Blake and Artaud, is prophetic in tone and usually quite experimental on the printed page. His plays, "The Beard" (1965) and "The Tooth of Crime" are underground theater classics. He is part of the poet's theater movement that was revived in San Francisco in the 1980's.