Whitman's Wild Children. Neeli Cherkovski.
Whitman's Wild Children

Whitman's Wild Children

San Francisco, CA: The Lapis Press, 1988. First Edition. Softcover. From the Library of Thomas Rain Crowe. Available here in its true first edition softcover format is the group of memoir-esque critical essays from Neeli Cherkovski, "Whitman's Wild Children," which focuses on ten major Beat or Beat-affiliated poets who exerted an indelible influence on Neeli and his generation of writers. Cherkovski, who features heavily as a subject in the Third Mind Books 2017 European Beat Studies Network (ebsn. eu) Presentation on the Second San Francisco Renaissance, was an apprentice to some of the greatest of the West Coast Beats, including Lawrence Ferlinghetti (who he also wrote the first biography of) and Harold Norse. Norse is quoted on the back of the dust-jacket for this book as saying: "I have watched Neeli Cherkovski's development as a poet over the past twenty years. He has grown into a singularly gifted voice with an "ear" for rhythm and a gift for unique, original insight." Charles Bukowski, another of his mentors, said: "Neeli, the still young and still largely neglected, deserves a wider audience. It is about time he is heard outside of the world of the little magazines." For more freshly-excavated history and insight on Cherkovski and the California literary scene of the 1970s, see TMB Item #3071 ("Starting from San Francisco: Thomas Rain Crowe in Conversation with Third Mind Books," [Ann Arbor, MI: Third Mind Books, 2018]). This book is brimming with anecdotes--dizzying, erudite espresso binges with Philip Lamantia; then there's the tale of Allen Ginsberg trying to swat Cherkovski away from obstructing his sexual conquests: "I have a young friend I'd like you to meet. He's straight, and he only makes it with me. Don't try to go to bed with him." There's also the story of Harold Norse likening William S. Burroughs to "...a riverboat gambler," and the list could go on. This is a deeply-undervalued book from someone who knew virtually all of the important West Coast Beats and learned from them firsthand--as such, it is integral for any Beat library. From the library of Thomas Rain Crowe, poet, organizer and impresario at the center of the 1970s Second San Francisco Renaissance. The book contains some scattered marginalia by Crowe--direct commentary on people he also knew, events he also attended, things he also saw--which adds even more value to this copy. Book in fine condition with slight rubbing and scattered spots to front cover; minor shelf wear to fine-edges; slight rubbing to back cover. Fine. [Item #3565]

Price: $25.00

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