The Mill Valley Literary Review

Welcome to MillValleyLit




Winter Edition 2012

The Beat Issue

Mill Valley Literary Review is a quarterly webzine dedicated to providing exposure, encouragement, joy and resources to Marin County, California's literary talent, as well as enthusiastic readers.


featuring interviews with rock n'roll mystery writer Deborah Grabien, "Bond Grrl" Sandy Shepard, and debut novelist Barbara Davies. The Winter Contest winner will be announced, plus poems and stories, The Paris Wife, Frank Lloyd Wright's The Women, Dorothy Parker, Patricia Highsmith, Pac Sun's Jill Kramer and much more. Plus a fresh new webzine look. Check back Mar 15.

Take a look at the Marin Independent Journal Paul Liberatore article about Mill Valley Lit by clicking Liberatore.

BEAT AT THE SWEET poetry event was Big success! Onstage at the Sweetwater Music Hall Jan 8th

Over 200 fans jammed the Sweetwater in Tribute to Jack Kerouac and "On the Road" with authentic Beat poets, authors and musicians. Featuring Beat legend Al Hinkle (the model for Big Ed Dunkel in On the Road), Jerry Kamstra (The Frisco Kid), Gerald Nicosia,Clark Coolidge, Pat Nolan, Latif Harris, Daniel Yaryan, Wavy Gravy, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Dan Alberts and many more. With guest appearances by Mill Valley Lit's Ari Maslow and J. Macon King. See below for poster.

Mill Valley Lit is the "Book Club for the Rest of Us" offering short work, poetry and excerpts from local talent, Marin literary news and events, writing contests, trivia, resources, photographs and links to other literary sites. MillValleyLit attempts to connect the dots between the various literary sources. Content is changed on a quarterly basis.

Jack Kerouac's typewriter

ON THE ROAD again!

The Beats are making a comeback. Shortly after we viewed the Mill Valley Film Festival premiere of “On the Road,” MillValleyLit sat down with local poet, writer & historian, Gerald Nicosia. He is widely recognized as the world’s leading authority on the Beats, and the go-to expert on Kerouac. Nicosia is an important writer. His meticulous expertise is evident in the Salon conversation, and perhaps more importantly, his passion, and his compassion, for the Beat characters

This webzine is proud to feature Gerald Nicosia poetry and conversation

MILL VALLEY- Home to The Mill Valley Film Festival, Mt. Tam, redwood trees, Dipsea foot Race, waterfalls, an entire hilly neighborhood with streets named after POETS, rock stars, artists, and


Mill Valley is pedigreed with notables such as Jack Kerouac, who once lived in Homestead Valley, and in On the Road he mash-uped Mill Valley with Marin City for "Mill City," an Ernest Hemingway connection, as his eldest son and grand-daughter Mariel called Mill Valley home in the 60s, and a Jack London (Sea-Wolf) reference. The Mill Valley writing community includes Peter Coyote, Gerald Nicosia, John Gray, Sterling Hayden, Maxine Chernoff, Gary Snyder, Cyra McFadden, Jane Hirschfield, Jack Finney (Body Snatchers,) composer Vince Guaraldi, many lyricists, and more. Marin environs authors must include Anne Lamott, Isabel Allende, Kerouac's daughter Jan (also a writer), Stirling Silliphant, Jack London, personal favorites Van Morrison (aural poet), Philip K. Dick, Barnaby Conrad, Joe Esterhaus, and Richard Brautigan.


Each quarterly e-zine will showcase one or more writers. See Salon for submission info.

Nicosia is our pick for the short work based in Mill Valley for this poem below:


Poem Written on Richard Brautigan’s Birthday

What would Richard Brautigan say
About a Mill Valley café
On a cold January evening
Filled with loud talk
And clinking dishes
Old men conferring
And young couples flirting
Would he say something
Witty so you wouldn’t know
How lonely he was
And still the outsider
At every festive gathering?
Would he just sit silently
Sipping his orange juice and vodka
And spinning the quarter he planned
To leave the pretty
Red-haired waitress
As a tip and wondering
Where happiness had gone?
What would Brautigan say
As the light grew dim outside
And one by one the patrons
Left the café
To darkness and to him?
Would he laugh softly to himself
At private literary jokes about
Old morbid Thomas Gray and the loss
Of his own clean,
Well-lighted place
Or would he
Crumple the page in front of him
Put his pen back on his pocket
And give it up for the night?
What would Richard Brautigan say
If he could see me here
48 years after his death
Remembering him at not quite 50
Wanting to go out the door
If he could have seen me
Thinking about his suicide
On this cold January evening
Far in the future
His 77th birthday
With him long in the earth
Would it have stopped him
From doing it?
Or would he have
Smiled in amazement at a world
That never stops wanting
To kill itself?
Maybe he’d just say
“Bring me my check
I have to go home now”—
Secretly afraid
That there was actually
Nowhere to go
Even for the funniest man
On earth?

--Gerald Nicosia 1/30/12

Brautigan was born January 30th, 1935 and lived in Bolinas for a time, where he passed in 1984

See below, Literary Latte & Salon for additional Nicosia work


Put a farmer’s market on your back porch

Tower Garden® is a state-of-the-art vertical aeroponic growing system. It’s perfect for rooftops, patios, balconies, terraces—just about any relatively sunny place outside. Using aeroponics and our specially formulated Tower Tonic plant food, it grows almost any vegetable, herb, or flower—and many fruits—in less time than it takes in soil. Tower Garden gives you more control of your and your family’s health by making it easy to grow nutritious, great-tasting vegetables and fruits at home. And it’s a smart choice, both environmentally and economically. Read more about the numerous advantages of Tower Garden »

Poem for Gregory Corso’s Ashes in the English Cemetery in Rome

Dear Gregory, as long as I knew you
They were throwing you out of places
I watched Bob Levy
Normally a kind man
Give you the bum’s rush out of City Lights
Yelling, “We want your books here
But not you!”
(There was a rumor you’d broken in one night
And rifled the cash register
For the royalties they forgot to pay you
But you couldn’t prove it
By me.)
I saw your name in concrete outside Vesuvio’s
Meaning you were permanently eighty-sixed
For going up to a cute woman and
Telling her, with an impish grin
“I’d like to eat your cunt!”
One night at Dante’s Bar
(how ironic)
When you’d gotten a little rambunctious
They again threatened to toss you out
And you told them that if they did
You’d come back with “a pistole
A Rosco,” and teach them a lesson
The barkeep threatened back,
“We got plenty of pistoli of our own”
And you told him, “You dummy,
I’m not talking about a real gun,
I’m talking about the hot lead
In my mind!”
Now I hear they’re about to evict
Your ashes
From the English Cemetery in Rome
Where I sat on your marble tombstone
And played with the feral cats
Who came by all day long to
Pay homage
To your catlike grace
 They say you’re not paying
Your rental bill
For the cemetery plot
On time
But who’s paying the bill
For Keats and Shelley
Who rest beside you?
Ah, Gregory, I hope those
Small-time thugs who
Shake down the dead
Wake up some night
With the hot lead of your mind
Scalding their dreams
Giving them endless nightmares
And teaching them the biggest lesson of all
that only the truly
and forever dead
would dream of
digging up
someone who is still alive

                                                --Gerald Nicosia  8/6/11



IN MEMORY OF FRIEND, GODFATHER, Ren Fairer Duke of Prussia, and Mr. Generosity: DAVID VAN EPPS 1\6\1953 - 6\29\2012










Jack Kerouac's typewriter - courtesy of Beat Museum web site:

Additional photos, Kite Hill, Jump 1 Orange Crush Sunset, etc by J. Macon King

Sponsor promotional photos and info provided by sponsors

On the Road - vintage 1958 Signet edition (which reallly did go on the road) : J. Macon King

© MillValleyLit. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material without permission is strictly prohibited.