The Death of Joan Vollmer Burroughs

Joan Vollmer, Morningside heights, NYC, ca 1944. c Allen Ginsberg Estate

W.S. Burroughs and Joan Vollmer, East Texas, August 1947.  Allen Ginsberg Estate

La Prensa September 1951

So much to post, so little time! But, since September 6, a few days ago, was/is the (58th) anniversary of Joan Vollmer’s death, we wanted to draw some attention to James Grauerholz‘ excellent, & meticulously researched, essay on the subject – the event which marks one of the most, if not the most, pivotal points in William Burroughs’ life (for Joan, that goes without saying!) Joan’s role in the early days of the Beats cannot, in any way, be overstated – it was her apartment where Allen first met Kerouac, and her wit and intelligence easily matched those around her, (as both Herbert Huncke and Allen himself would later recall). At any rate, kudos to Grauerholz for some amazing work here.[2023 update – link no longer available]

More recently, Jed Birmingham’s take on the “William Tell act” posted on Reality Studio¬† dissects it’s symbolism as well as the Burroughs family dynamic from (father) Mort down to (son) Billy Jr.

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