Many suspect that the title of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" refers to Jack Kerouac's 1958 novel, The Subterraneans
. Jack Kerouac was one of the best-known and most popular writers of the so-called Beat Generation, a literary movement that emphasized emotional, visceral art while rejecting many traditional American values. Along with Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg is perhaps the most prominent of the Beats (his Howl
can be heard here
). Ginsberg was also a friend of Dylan's, and Ginsberg recalled that another of Kerouac's publications, the poetry collection Mexico City Blues
, had impacted Dylan greatly. He remembers Dylan saying something along the lines of that "it [was] the first book of poetry which talked the American language to him."