August Kleinzahler interview
Posted 29 April 2009 - 02:05 PM
Posted 29 April 2009 - 09:59 PM
In "Drinking Bourbon in the Zam Zam Room" in the LRB, not free, AK gives this picture of the Haight Ashbury district:
Bruno [the previous owner] was raised on Haight Street. His father first had a tiny restaurant with five stools called the Pall Mall and then, in 1941, opened the Zam Zam. It was a successful bar, open seven days and nights a week, with two bartenders and barmaids on hand. The Haight has always had a carnival or fairground aspect to it. Golden Gate Park begins at the foot of it...Kezar Stadium, where the SF 49ers played their Sunday football games for many years, is only a few blocks west.
According to Bruno, the street changed in 1966. Bruno always blamed it on the Miranda decision, which required police to inform arrestees of their rights, and Chief Justice Earl Warren, on whose death Bruno closed the bar and went off to celebrate. In the mid to late 1960s the city, and the Haight in particular, became a catch-basin for kids from all over the country who, lured by Time and Newsweek, wanted to be part of the hippie adventure. The crush of new visitors can’t have been a very palatable spectacle to those already in middle age who had been raised on Haight Street with its milliner and dry-goods shop, when everyone knew one another and would stop to chat, discuss the weather or gossip about that Italian boy who plays baseball, DiMaggio, who was still hanging around the bank at closing time, trying to get a date with pretty Mary Ann DiMeeko.
Posted 30 April 2009 - 04:30 PM
Kleinzahler and I are both devoted to “Briggflatts” but Gunn leaves me cold, too. I didn’t know he’d called Bishop twee but it doesn’t surprise me. But then poets aren’t always to be trusted when criticizing each other. Robert Graves had some very odd views on his fellows, but in terms of his own aesthetic they made sense. But I don’t see how twee and Bishop go together no matter where you’re coming from.
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