Thursday, May 27, 2004

a book I reread every now and again is Nice To See You (Homage To Ted Berrigan) ed. by Anne Waldman (Coffee House Press, 1991). it was a lucky find at a remaindered bookstore nearly 10 years ago. what is remarkable, to me, about this book is not only the memories, poems, essays, drawings and paintings contributed by the writers and artists who knew and loved Berrigan, but especially the photos of big Ted from the early 60s up towards a few days before his criminally premature death. Berrigan had one hell of a mug on him.

there are many candid shots but my favorite of the group is a family portrait of Berrigan, Alice Notley, Anselm and Edmund in their St. Marks Place flat in 1982. it is remarkable that each person in that photo is a very good poet. Big Daddy Berrigan is in bed with his blanket pulled up to his chest with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth, sleepy-looking. and his family is on an equal plane with B. as they pose for the picture. here is a detail I dig: the millennium falcon is visible just behind Anselm's left shoulder.

but why should I dig a photo of another family? the same reason I love looking at pictures of favorite writers, and the fact that I soon will have my own family. the photo reminds me the acts of reading and writing move in synchronicity with the art of living.

corny, and silly worry about family life and the life of a writer? yeah, agreed it is, but it is a worry nonetheless. photos of writers are less biography but a kind of poem in of themselves. the viewer brings to it what he/she needs to discover.


At 4:48 PM, Blogger Stalk said...

where can i find that picture?


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