The title of this post isn’t exactly true. Reading Jack Kerouac won’t get you much, in my opinion. For example, you could read “October in the Railroad Earth.” Go ahead. Be sure to come back. I’ll still be here. While you wait, I’ll just enjoy this picture of a hippopotamus yawning.
Back? Good. Personally, I don’t get much from that when I read it. Now listen to Jack Kreouac read “October in the Railroad Earth.” It’s a totally different experience. The sounds, the rhythms of his voice all connect in a way the text on a page does not. If you ever have a reading of your material, you could do a lot worse than channel Kerouac a bit.
You can also read this interview with Kerouac, which he talks about his work, mentions hippos, and says “Screw Ron Padgett.”