the life and death of van


The epilogue to Van’s life that to some extent mitigates the tragedy of his early death was the creation of the book Lami. Edited by Rattray and collected from handwritten manuscripts in the possession of Van’s friends, Lami was first typed up by Clive Matson, an early enthusiast, who in turn got Herbert Huncke fired up about the poems. Huncke, after months of pestering, finally got Allen Ginsberg to take a look, and he was suitably impressed. He began sending the poems out to magazines, including Poetry, Evergreen Review, and City Lights Journal, demanding that they be published; and Ginsberg being Ginsberg, he was good at getting his way. Armed with Ginsberg’s introduction, Ceely and Rattray persuaded Dave Haselwood and Andrew Hoyem of Auerhahn to print Lami in an edition of 1,000 copies.

more from Garrett Caples at Poetry here.