The Poets

April 18, 2011

Bob Kaufman

Bob Kaufman, born this day in 1925, is one of the more jazzier of the beat poets. It was in the 40s when he came to the attention of some of the Beat movement’s founders- namely, Ginsberg, Corso, and Kerouac.

One of the things that I like about him is that he was sort of a street-side poet (reciting his poetry aloud to passersby much like a street-side preacher).

An interesting fact about this guy is that, after Ke
nnedy was assassinated in 63, he took a Buddhist vow of silence that lasted all the way up to 75 when the Vietnam War ended (impressive).

Impressive still is his ability to employ a dense plethora of vivid imagery in very short poems … his poetry and use of imagery reminds me of Hilda Dolittle and Robert Hayden. Check him out:

Jazz Chick

Music from her breast, vibrating
Soundseared into burnished velvet.
Silent hips deceiving fools.
Rivulets of trickling ecstacy
From the alabaster pools of Jazz
Where music cools hot souls.
Eyes more articulately silent
Than Medusa's thousand tongues.
A bridge of eyes, consenting smiles
reveal her presence singing
Of cool remembrance, happy balls
Wrapped in swinging
Her music...


PJ said...

Hm! I don't really remember if I have heard about him... Which is weird since I have read pretty much about beat. But I like it anyhow!


great piece! loved it!

Kenna said...

Bob Kaufman is one of the reasons I fell in love with poetry. Thanks for showing him to a wider audience. I had a poetry professor who, upon hearing I was a fan, brought in, for me, his 1959 City Lights copy of The Abomunist Manifesto. It was 35Cents - and pretty cool. I made a photocopy.

I found Solitudes Crowded With Loneliness when I was young, by accident. The poetry caught me and the poem about Camus and the poem to Steinbeck from Cannery Row made my love for him grow.

As of April 9th, 2010