Sunday, January 12, 2020
Remembering Bob Kaufman
Today we remember Beat poet Bob Kaufman, who died on this date -- January 12 -- in 1986. He appeared as Chuck Berman in Jack Kerouac's Desolation Angels.
You can read Kaufman's bio and some of his poetry by clicking here. Kaufman took a vow of silence the day President Kennedy was assassinated and didn't speak until the end of the Vietnam War. That's an impressive feat.
Kaufman was part of the Beat poetry movement in San Francisco. He started the journal, Beatitude, with Allen Ginsberg and others. His most recent collection of poetry was published by City Lights in October 2019 (available here).
Interestingly -- to me at least -- the couple of times that he is mentioned in Gerald Nicosia's Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac, Kaufman is partying with Jack at significant transition points: once right after Gary Snyder leaves for Japan, and once right after Jack leaves Ferlinghetti's cabin in Big Sur.
I get the sense that Kaufman is generally underestimated as a poet -- you would do well to check out his work.
RIP, Mr. Kaufman.