Al Filreis informative over-view of this lost “Beat” figure (she committed suicide in 1962, aged 29), along with a couple of sample poems, may be read here. Leo Skir’s personal memoir may be read here. A volume of work from her only surviving notebook, entitled Elise Cowen – Poems and Fragments, edited by Tony Trigilio and published by Ashahta Press has just recently appeared.
As Trigilio writes:
“My books and essays on Ginsberg emphasize the experimental impulse of his work and, I hope, disengage his poetry from the clutches of fanboy hagiography. It was through my writing on Ginsberg that I kept encountering Cowen’s work—limited to a few poems here and there in anthologies, and limited by Beat biographers’ insistence that she was only Ginsberg’s mad girlfriend-typist rather than a poet in her own right. When I read Cowen’s actual poems, I saw how much these biographers had missed—and how much we, as readers, were missing—without full access to her work…