Jazz Chick by Bob Kaufman

To read JAZZ CHICK please click here.

Read A.D. Winans tribute Poem for Bob Kaufman here.

Bob Kaufman, or more accurately, Robert Garnell Kaufman, was born on April 18, 1925 in New Orleans, LA and Died January 12, 1986 in San Francisco, CA.

Kaufman has been described as an “innovative poet” and an important writer who gained his prominence during the Beat period.

As a youth, Kaufman had the opportunity to gain exposure to a wide variety of religions. His father was German-Jewish, his mother was Roman Catholic and his grandmother was a practitioner of voodoo. Eventually however, Kaufman developed an interest in eastern religions and like many of the other Beat writers, became a Buddhist.

In 1958, Kaufman moved to San Francisco and quickly became acclimated to the lifestyle led by many of the writers and artists who were prominent during the Beat period. Much of his writing became “surreal” and was often inspired by jazz music. He published Crowded with Loneliness and founded a magazine called Beatitude in 1965.

Kaufman was most popular among European readers during the 1960’s and published his second collection, Golden Sardine in 1967.

After witnessing the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Kaufman was compelled to take a vow of silence, which it is said was unbroken until the end of the Viet Nam War. His writing became political again and he produced a collection that included early works called The Ancient Rain: Poems, 1956-78 (1981).

It is said that in 1978 Kaufman once again resumed his silence and seldom broke the sacred vow until his death.

Source: http://www.rooknet.com/beatpage/writers/kaufman.html

8 Responses to Jazz Chick by Bob Kaufman

  1. Vincent says:

    I like the way he lets himself be inspired by jazz to write the poem. i used to want to express music in words in a similar way, but never could till now.

    Don’t you find this intriguing though?

    “Kaufman was compelled to take a vow of silence”.

    Compelled by whom or what? What does it mean anyhow? He didn’t write poetry? Or didn’t utter a word to his nearest and dearest? Had to communicate in writing or sign-language to strangers? But even that is not really silence.

  2. 1poet4man says:

    Once upon a time, when I was poor and very young, I was standing in a ST. Anthony soup kitchen line waiting to eat, when a friend of mine pointed to someone and said in hushed tones – “Thats Bob Kaufman” and I said not knowing who that was or that someday the man I was looking at would become one of my favorite writers “Who’s that?”

    Thanks for the post…about an almost silent great writer…I have always found it odd that he is not written about more often…


  3. johemmant says:

    Love o-jazz-o. And Poetman’s story — waving — hello, good to see you 🙂

  4. Scot says:

    Yes good to see you–nice note from you. I know what I know about him from his work and what his friend A.D. had told me–from that I wished I could have seen him read or even in line at a soup kitchen. I have a interview piece with Winans coming up. I asked him if you could talk to Bob one more time, what would you say? check back in. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Scot says:

    he took a buddist vow of silence i am told–he was compelled after he saw Robert Kennedy shot—that and the war at the time. I am not sure if he wrote during that time or not–I am thinking he did not. His talent was not only in his writing but his telling. I do find it intriguing that you stayed at Shakespeare & CO–I would like to hear more–who was there at the time? Glad to see you.

  6. whypaisley says:

    i cannot help but wonder what he hoped to accomplish with silence.. not that everything we do has to accomplish something,, but there must have been an underlying intention here that i cannot seem to grasp…. the reasoning behind the vow… i guess we will never know…

    isn’t it funny how preoccupied we are with his silence…..

  7. Scot says:

    It is funny. Bob took the vow as something sacred as I gather. It was in protest he did this. Why do people protest? It lasted for 10 years until 1973 when the Viet Nam war ended. He took it up again in 1978 and lasted mostly until his death.

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