Andy Clausen was raised in Oakland California USA. He graduated from Bishop O’Dowd High School in 1961 and attended six colleges. After reading the poems of the characters in Kerouac’s books, he felt he’d found his life’s vocation and headlong began trying to be a Beat poet in 1965. He has traveled and read his poetry all over North America and the world. (New York, California, Alaska, Texas, Prague, Kathmandu, Amsterdam etc.) He has maintained a driven intrepid lifestyle and aspired to be a champion of the underdog. He has had many occupations studying humanity and earning a living. Clausen has written about his friendships with Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Ray Bremser, Janine Pommy Vega, Peter Orlovsky, and many others of the Beat Generation.
He has lectured at universities, high schools, and art centers. Clausen has taught at The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Naropa University. He was co-editor of, POEMS FOR THE NATION, with Allen Ginsberg and Eliot Katz (Seven Stories Press). He was an editor at LONG SHOT Magazine. Clausen wrote about Ray Bremser
and appears in Encyclopedia of Beat Literature (Kurt Hemmer, editor) Clausen has back packed around the world and has resided in over twenty states and provinces.
For twelve years AC conducted poetry workshops in the NY state prison system for Incision Arts. In 1999 Clausen began teaching poetry in the schools under the auspices of Teacher’s & Writers Collaborative. Andy now resides in Woodstock, NY, where he teaches, writes, and performs his work. He lived with Janine Pommy Vega the last 12 years of her life and celebrates The Annual Janine Pommy Vega Poetry Festival in Woodstock.
I was born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in the middle of the last century, to a melting pot American family with early settler roots, as well as a Native American connection that no one ever discussed. I was always a poet, my first efforts published only in elementary school journals, but my sonnet “Neveah”, written at 16, was honored with a scholarship to a six week poetry workshop in Washington DC. An early poem, “Rejoice! The Second Coming!” was performed at Regina High School in Hyattsville, MD, with orchestration and conducted by prominent Philippine composer, Rosendo E. Santos, professor of music at the Catholic University.
I left school to travel, raise children and live off-the-grid on an organic farm, always finding time to write, though I only started reading my work in public in 2010. During the 1990s, I attended Vassar College on a scholarship received from the Ford Foundation, using poetry as a voice for a Women’s Studies discipline. A long poem “The Rape of Humankind: a Conspiracy Theory”, after William Blake, was used as the subject of a Graduate thesis on Blake, at the request of the professor.
Most of the past years were spent “inhaling”, as it were. And in 2009, my children raised, my parents no longer in need of me, I began to read my work at Open Mics and was soon a Featured performer. My first chapbook, “i have been a river…” was published by Heyday Press in 2011, followed by “utopians & madmen”, DancinFool Press, in 2012 and “A Thousand Years of Wanting” by Shivastan Press in 2013. My work has also appeared in Big Scream #51 and Big Scream #52, Heyday Magazine, Vol 1, Issue 1 and Vol 1, Issue 3, and Napalm Health Spa 2013, the annual magazine of the Museum of American Poetics.
I have appeared with beat legends Andy Clausen and Antler, Jeff Poniewacz, Poet Laureate of Milwaukee, Anne Waldman, George Wallace, and others on stages in Detroit, Milwaukee, Boulder, Denver and Ward CO, and in New York City, as well as Albany and my home of over 40 years, Woodstock, NY.
I am currently working on a long piece, a memoir in poetic form. I am also one of the organizers of the Janine Pommy Vega Poetry Festival, held annually in Woodstock at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum.
A. D. Winans is a native San Francisco poet, writer and photographer. He is a graduate of San Francisco State University. He returned home from Panama in February 1958 to become part of the Beat and post-Beat era. He is the author of fifty books and chapbooks of poetry and prose. Major books include The Holy Grail: The Charles Bukowski Second Coming Revolution, North Beach Revisited, and This Land Is Not My Land, which won a 2006 PEN Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence. Most recent books include The Wrong Side Of Town, Marking Time, Pigeon Feathers, Billie Holiday Me and the Blues, No Rooom For Buddha, and Love – Zero. In 2007 Presa Press published a book of his Selected Poems: The Other Side Of Broadway: Selected Poems 1995-2005. In late 2010, BOS Press published a 300-plus page of his Selected Poems.
Poet A D Winans is a native San Franciscan who came of age during the heyday of the beat generation in His hometown. The beat poets along with Kenneth Patchen and Charles Bukowski had quite an influence on the direction he would take in his own poetry. It’s a poetry of the streets and a poetry of the common language, going back to Walt Whitman. Over the years, Winans has written about some of his literary heroes, always with passion, always with a deep understanding of how the tradition of poetry is passed hand-to-hand down the generations. It is a great moment to see a few of his essays, or portraits, collected in one volume.
Dead Lions is aptly named. Winans has chosen to write of Alvah Bessie, that heroic screenwriter who was one of the Hollywood 10, a victim of the Communist scare of the 1950s engendered by Senator Joseph McCarthy and others. There are tributes to three poets as well, Bob Kaufman, Jack Micheline, and Charles Bukowski. One might read the text and feel as if they had been wandering through a portrait gallery. That is how keenly Winans does his job. I came away from reading this book with a new sense of all of these people. The three poets I knew well. Bessie is known to me only from a distance in the context of the persecution.
What really makes Dead Lions an important book is the intimacy Winans brings to the page. It’s that same sense of the intimate that is in his own poetry. Kaufman, Micheline, and Bukowski we’re true literary outsiders. For each of them it was a long pull to be given notice from the literary Community. Winans knew Bukowski in the days when he was a creature of the little poetry journals and a major figure in the Mimeo revolution of the 1960s, which now seems so long ago. He knew Bob Kaufman in North Beach hanging out with him at bars and cafes. He was closest to Jack Micheline and that comes through in his book. For Winans Micheline’s defiance of literary propriety was an important signal to younger poets. Once again, Whitman is echoed. Jack’s « barbaric yelp » was the ticket to freedom from academe.
I was particularly taken with Winans’ portrait of Bob Kaufman. He offers a good deal of biographical information that one rarely finds. He writes, “Kaufman considered himself a Buddhist and believed that a poet had a call to a higher order.” As one of Bob’s intimate friends, I remember him quoting from ancient Buddhist texts as we sat around the kitchen table in my apartment. He was never loud about it. Winans tells us, “He was an oral poet who didn’t write for publication or expectations of fame and fortune, which is what drew me to him.’
This is romanticism and it is charming to witness. I think of Nelson Algren’s book title, “A Walk on the Wild Side.” It reminds me of the poets Winans admires. He wraps up the Kaufman piece with a description of the pubic outpouring after his death as more than one hundred people marched through North Beach in tribute to the poet’s life.
Winans has written extensively on Bukowski. Once again, it was the rebellion in « Buk » that Winans admires, and he pays him tribute. This piece is filled with up- close and personal recollection. Winans indulges in a bit of psychological profiling, including Bukowski’s mistrust of friends. In contrast, he writes: “His first book, Post Office, was written in nineteen days. The book is filled with laughter that shines through the pain of working at a dead-end job that kills a man’s spirit and physically breaks him down. I know! I worked for the San Francisco Post Office for five years.” It was after reading this novel that Winans became an avid fan. The snapshot of the times he spent hanging out with Bukowski are memorable, including a jaunt into one of the famous San Francisco watering holes, Gino and Carlos, a venerable poet’s haunt. He recounts taking Bukowski to the Caffe Trieste in North Beach. The L A. bard would not enter. He just commented that the habitués were sitting there waiting for something to happen. “Hank, “as Bukowski was known to his friends, comes through with full flavor. One finishes the essay and wishes for more. Perhaps Winans will find the time to expand this interesting portrait of the raucous poet.
Jack Micheline comes through as the quintessential literary barbarian. Some biographical information quickly gives way to anecdote. Jack is plunked onstage by Winans and we watch him in court and jail, in one bar after another amid quotes from the man himself. Winans has a good memory and may have scribbled some of Jacks words down in a notebook. Describing the old days to A D. Micheline said, “Poetry was everywhere. Every day Kaufman and I read a poem. It is not part of history, but I was arrested for pissing on a police car the same night Kaufman was arrested outside the Co-Existence Bagel Shop.” It was the fervor of Micheline’s attack on our safe and sound society that Winans admires, and it comes through remarkably well. It is another one of those useful handbooks of poetic sensibility, with the added bonus of having insights into the life of Alvah Bessie.
*** The signed copy of the book can be purchased from the author (reserve yours by writing (email@example.com) at a discounted price of $14.29 that includes free shipping. An unsigned copy of the book is also available at Amazon at the same price plus whatever shipping they charge.
The latest Harold Norse poetry reading in Petaluma was one of the best! Great readers, great audience and an old friend of Harold’s showed to boot. Check out the photos, video clips and write up at http://haroldnorse.com/1707
The Beat Museum has partnered with San Francisco’s famed Top Of The Mark to begin a new poetry and jazz series running from 3/3 through 4/28. The March 17 theme is « »Poetry Through The Generations. » I’ll be reading with Neeli Cherkovski, William Taylor Jr and Cassandra Dallett. There will be two sets, the first beginning at 6:30 PM. Further details will be forthcoming.