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My Name is in the Stanford Library!!

My fellow LiveJournaler (-ist?) Robert Nedelkoff (Hillegas) informed me via E-mail earlier this week that I am mentioned (very briefly, only a line or two) in the inventory of Allen Ginsberg's papers at Stanford University.  A year or two before he died in 1997, Ginsberg sold his collection of papers, manuscripts, galley proofs, journals, and mail to Stanford for at least $1 million, which at that time was a record for buying a private manuscript collection.  (The record will be demolished after I shake off this mortal coil, when Ohio U. will shell out God knows how much for my diaries, etc.)

Ginsberg had a reputation--100% deserved, it would seem--for never throwing away any letters or other correspondence that came his way.  In the fall of 1990, when I was living on West McMillan Street in Clifton (Cincinnati), above a Christian Science Reading Room and a computer store, I wrote Ginsberg a letter the evening I met Robert Lowry for the first time.  (Lowry was a Cincinnati-born writer who enjoyed some prominence and much respect after World War II, and was praised by Hemingway, Mailer, and Vidal.  Due to mental illnesses incorrectly diagnosed and treated, he was unable to have anything published by the early 1960s, and died in 1994 at the age of 74 with all but one of his novels (The Violent Wedding) out of print.  I knew him most of the last four years of his life, as he was living in the decrepit Fort Washington Hotel in downtown Cincinnati and drinking his Social Security checks.

I wrote Ginsberg after spending a Saturday afternoon talking and drinking with Lowry in a downtown bar, mainly because Lowry had boasted of publishing excerpts of Jack Kerouac's Some of the Dharma, a book of Buddhist meditations, in a short-lived newsletter Lowry produced in the Bowery.  I wrote to Ginsberg to see what he knew about this, and an aide of his wrote to tell me he didn't recall Kerouac ever mentioning Lowry to him.  (This later proved to be an error; the second volume of Kerouac's SELECTED LETTERS reprints a letter from Kerouac to Ginsberg recommending that he try Lowry for publishing some work the major publishers wouldn't touch.)  I had written Ginsberg a letter describing the encounter, and Xeroxing the article "Writer's Cramp," where I had first heard of Lowry.  It had appeared in Clifton, which was the best literary magazine the University of Cincinnati ever had.  (Granted, that's like owning Honolulu's most successful snowmobile shop, but Clifton was damn good.)



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