Herbert Huncke

From Ann Douglas’ recent New York Times review of  The Best Minds of My Generation

“Ginsberg also makes room for Herbert Huncke, whom he calls the “originator” of Beatness. An addict, gay hustler and petty thief, seeking, in his words, the freedom “to become more obscure,” Huncke introduced Ginsberg, Kerouac and Burroughs to the mid-1940s underworld of Times Square. In a bold stroke of canon-stretching, Ginsberg pronounces his sketches of the lower depths, published almost by accident and innocent of literary allusion, “classics.” In celebrating the unlettered Huncke, Ginsberg was suggesting that professionals may have more to learn from amateurs than the other way around”

Twenty-one years ago today,  gentleman, junkie, street hero, legendary raconteur, Herbert Edwin Huncke passed away.

His good friend, Marty Matz (see above) –  “I think that Herbert was somebody that was really important, like, in the development of my generation of writers, and, not only that,., his stories are marvelous, and he tells them so well, you know, whether it be orally, or in writing,.., you know, like, Herbert is a very very eloquent spokesman for those people that God forgot.”

Interviewer (to Huncke): Do you write poetry or prose?

Huncke: Well, I write poetic prose, I guess one would call it. I tell stories. I’m a story-teller.

Some instances of his mesmerizing and unique brand of  story-telling may be found here and here

More on Herbert Huncke on  The Allen Ginsberg Project  herehere,  here and here

The above is the trailer for a screening of rare footage of Herbert Huncke, Beat storyteller, by Laki Vazakas at The Beat Museum in North Beach, San Francisco, this upcoming October  (Wednesday, October 18th at 7PM).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *