“Streets paved with opal sadness,
Lead me counterclockwise, to pockets of joy,
Bob Kaufman, Cranial Guitar: Selected Poems
This week on From the Vault we treat you an amazing radio documentary about one of the most elusive poets of the twentieth century and the originator of the name ‘beatnik,’ Bob Kaufman. Written and produced in 1992 by David Henderson, with associate production and engineering by Vic Bedoin, Bob Kaufman, Poet: The Life and Times of an African-American Man features interviews with family members, scholars, and artist such as Amiri Baraka, Allen Ginsberg, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, and Roscoe Lee Brown. Despite his battles with alcohol, drugs, psychotherapy, and the justice system, Kaufman’s ragged life teems with poetic brilliance, as this documentary demonstrates. Highlights include a rare 1958 recording of Kaufman reading his epic poem Second April and a discussion of jazz with recordist Henry Jacobs. Part one of two.
From the Vault is presented through the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, past grants from the Grammy Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners.
PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.