Peter Orlovsky, a Life in Words: Intimate Chronicles of a Beat Writer

Author(s): Peter Orlovsky

Biography & Memoir

The Peter Orlovsky you will meet in this book has only a slight resemblance to the wacky kid immortalized in Kerouac s sunny pages as the greatest man in San Francisco or the silent companion in Ginsberg s tender poetry. Here, for the first time, Bill Morgan has used Peter s words to take us behind his handsome face. Orlovsky s journals, letters, and poems offer us glimpses of his mind with and without Ginsberg. from the Foreword by Ann Charters, editor of "The Portable Beat Reader"Until now, the poet Peter Orlovsky, who was Allen Ginsberg s lover for more than forty years, has been the neglected member of the Beat Generation. Because he lived in Ginsberg's shadow, his achievements were seldom noted and his contributions to literature have not been fully recognized. Now, this first collection of Orlovsky s writings traces his fascinating life in his own words. It also tells, for the first time, the intimate story of his relationship with Ginsberg. Drawn from previously unpublished journals, correspondence, photographs, and poems, "Peter Ovlovsky, a Life in Words," begins just as Orlovsky is discharged from the Army, having declared that it was an army without love. The book follows the young man through years of self-doubt and details his first meeting with Ginsberg in San Francisco from his own perspective. During that same year, Peter, always acting as the caregiver in his relationships, adopted his teenage mentally impaired brother, and tried to help him make a life for himself. In never-before-heard detail, Orlovsky describes his travels around the world with Ginsberg, Kerouac, Burroughs, and Corso whose writings so often benefited from knowing the highly creative and inspiring Orlovsky. Orlovsky s story is a refreshing departure from the established history of the Beats as depicted by his more famous companions. The reader will discover why Jack Kerouac described him as the saintly figure of Simon Darlovsky in Desolation Angels and why the elder poet William Carlos Williams praised his poetry as pure American. His was a complicated life, this book shows, filled with contradictions. Best known as Ginsberg s lover, Orlovsky was heterosexual and always longed to be with women. Always humble, he became a teacher at a Buddhist college and taught a class that he entitled Poetry for Dumb Students. His spirit was prescient of the flower children of the sixties, especially his inclinations toward devotion and love. In the end Orlovsky s use of drugs took its toll on his body and mind and he slipped into his own hell of addiction and mental illness, silencing one of the most original and inspiring voices of his generation.


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Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9781612055824
  • : Paradigm Publishers
  • : Paradigm Publishers
  • : March 2014
  • : United States
  • : April 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 352
  • : Hardback
  • : Peter Orlovsky