April 18, 2011
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 Kennedy 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:
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