Remembering Ted Joans (1928-2003)

Diane di Prima and Ted Joans at The Poetry Project, St Mark Church, NYC, 1994 – photo c. Allen Ginsberg Estate

Ted Joans, born on July 4th 1928, died in Vancouver in 2003.

“If you should see a man walking down a crowded street talking aloud to himself don’t run in the opposite direction but run towards him for he is a poet you have nothing to fear from the poet but the truth”

Here’s vintage footage of Joans reading in Amsterdam, (introduced by the legendary Dutch poet Simon Vinkenoog)

and here is Joans, many years later, at the Beat Generation celebrations at NYU, improvising and scat-singing with David Amram (in what were clearly, by the context here, pre-cell-phone days!)

Kurt Hemmer and Tom Knoff’s 2010 film, “WOW! Ted Joans Lives!” (featuring his 2002 reading at Harper College, Palatine, Illinois) is essential viewing and can be viewed, in its entirety, here.

A 2002 NPR radio interview may be accessed here

and a written interview from the following year, here (just one of several Joans-centric pages on the excellent Empty Mirror site)

A little bit of Joans on the Literary Kicks site – here

John Olson reviews his work in a spirited over-view on Rain Taxi

In the spirit of his own fabled remembrance of Charlie Parker (“Bird Lives”), Empty Mirror have put together a touching and heart-felt memorial page (augmented by his obituary notice(s) in the New York Times and the Village Voice)

Here’s poet Robert Creeley on Ted Joans: “..What to say about this terrific, unbeatable and indefatigable person wedder of bop and rhyme-scope, endless inventor of securing vision and wonder, primary link indeed to so much in this still phenomenal world…”

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