The Be Attitude. Neeli Cherkovski.

The Be Attitude

San Francisco, CA: Beatitude Press, 1976. First Printing. Folded Single Sheet. “My first response to Neeli was that he was a lot like a young version of Allen Ginsberg. A kind of publicist and traffic cop for what was going on around him. This kind of energy and enthusiasm attracted all kinds of people, both younger and older than him. In this sense, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that he was the “spark” that ignited much of what happened during those years [the 1970s & The Second San Francisco Renaissance]. He, like Ginsberg, liked an audience and an entourage. He identified strongly with the gay community, the gay poets and writers, and—like writers of the generation before him—wrote often about love and the gay experience. But he wasn’t snobbish or confined by his sexual preferences and could mix with any crowd in any kind of environment. Neeli was like a pied piper…and everywhere he went, people followed him. He was all about bringing people into the loop and getting people published. He was the pied piper, out there beating the drum and mixing with the crowd.” (Abridged Quote from Thomas Rain Crowe in TMB’s 2018 Publication, “Starting from San Francisco: The Baby Beat Generation and the Second San Francisco Renaissance.”). Offered here is a broadside from that very era, perhaps the height of the Second San Francisco Renaissance, 1976—the reinvigorated “Beatitude Magazine” & “Beatitude Press” was now not the enterprise of two poets (Bob Kaufman & William Margolis) but the jointly-helmed enterprise of a large community of North Beach poets and Beat literary progeny. Issued as “Beatitude Press Broadside No. 1,” Neeli’s “The Be Attitude” is a classic energetic time capsule of a milieu in the same way that Tom Wolfe’s “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” captures the energy of the 1960s. It is a window into the way the apprenticeships the Baby Beats had with the Elder Beats worked. If one is familiar with Allen Ginsberg’s mid-1970s lectures from the (then newly-founded) Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute, they will immediately recognize the source of Neeli’s language here. The influence of Allen looms large: “Finally recognizing blakian notions of imagination and letting mind follow natural spontaneous wave into body so that the hand writes the poem and the poem is not mired in preconceptions…” Neeli continues: “…and walking streets of san francisco with allen ginsberg more ordinary than previously imagined with his big fear of death and his word that so much energy is spent tearing down fellow poets oh what is right with everyone and when do the divisions finally come down so that man can freely grow like a tree without filing cabinets…” Cherkovski is a vastly underrated poet whose output will continue to grow in esteem with time—he apprenticed to almost all “The Daddies” (as Corso would have called the first generation of Beat writers) and brought (and is still bringing) what he learned to the poem. Broadside in very fine condition, virtually as new and folded as issued—a strikingly clean copy of a “street publication” from the heady days of the Second San Francisco Renaissance. Very Fine. [Item #4187]

Price: $45.00