A Very Brief History of the Orlovsky Family


Lafcadio & Peter Orlovsky, outside Peter’s small apartment on Potrero Hill, San Francisco, ca. June 1956. Allen Ginsberg Estate/Corbis


Ginsberg caption: Peter Orlovsky returned to New York from India, Avenue C and 5th Street, September 1963. Allen Ginsberg (c. Allen Ginsberg Estate)

Marie, Lafcadio & Kate Orlovsky, Plainview, NY, December 27, 1989. (c. Allen Ginsberg Estate)

Marie Orlovsky, December 27, 1989. (c Allen Ginsberg Estate)


Ginsberg caption: Peter Orlovsky b. 1933 visiting his family – Lafcadio age 47 had lived with us in San Francisco – NY 1955-61 & later intermittent years; mother Kate Orlovsky age 78 totally deaf after botched mastoid operation NY Eye & Ear Hospital circa 1930s; Laff’s twin sister Marie who’d lived with me & Peter O. in Lower East Side 1959 while she attended baby nurse school in Jersey — but quit jobs soon after, angry at hearing voices’ filthy gossip behind her back. Center Moriches Long Island, their second floor flat on lonely road, they need taxi to supermarket shopping miles away with S.S.I. checks. July 26, 1987 visit. Allen Ginsberg. (c. Allen Ginsberg Estate)

Ginsberg caption: “Visit with Julius Orlovsky, hadn’t seen him several years, now age 56, front parlor in small town Kirkwood N.Y. residence where with half-dozen Binghamton State Hospital patients subsidized by state funds he was supervised by Mr. & Mrs. Finch in their large family house, April 4, 1987” (c. Allen Ginsberg Estate)

photo: Lafcadio & Peter Orlovsky, August 1995. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate

We’d like to be able to say ‘run to your nearest bookstore and buy a copy of Peter Orlovsky’s Clean Asshole Poems and Smiling Vegetable Songsbut it’s been out of print a long time now. Copies on line seem to be as high as 60$ at the low end. It’s high time it gets republished, but in the meantime, we highly recommend searching out if you haven’t yet read it. His poems from India are disturbing and vivid, but are balanced in their humanity & tenderness.

To be continued….

One comment

  1. I managed to get Julius to talk–he hadn’t for years–at a party for Allen and Peter in Bloomington, Indiana, in the late ’60s. I wish him well wherever he is.

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