POET JACK HIRSCHMAN TALKS HEMINGWAY, JIM MORRISON AND VEGAS PLANS

Jack Hirschman
Jack Hirschman

THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY ROSALIE SPEAR AND PUBLISHED BY LAS VEGAS WEEKLY ON JANUARY 18, 2017.

“Poetry is the heart of being,” Jack Hirschman tells me, his New York accent dancing over the phone. He’s at Caffe Trieste in San Francisco, where he’s been a patron for nearly 50 years; it served as an epicenter for he and fellow Beat Generation poets like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. The renowned, English-, Italian-, French- and Russian-speaking author, translator and political activist has an archive of wondrous stories to tell.

This week, he’ll leave his home in North Beach to host three free events in Las Vegas. He’ll not only read from his work but lead discussions following screenings of And When I Die, I Won’t Stay Dead, a documentary about the life of Hirschman’s close friend, legendary Beat poet Bob Kaufman.

How did you come to know Bob Kaufman?

I came [to San Francisco] in 1972 from Los Angeles. I met Bob Kaufman on the street. ... We thought the same things politically and poetically. We read together at venues here in North Beach, and we had a mutual respect for one another. He was an extraordinary poet. Bobby would enter a place and you could hear a pin drop, and then [everyone would] burst into applause.

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