Beverly Isis (1955-2013)

Beverly Isis (1955-2013)

Peter Orlovsky & Beverly Isis

A curious story. The following postcard inexplicably appeared this past month, down by the mailboxes of 437 East 12th Street, Allen Ginsberg & Peter Orlovsky‘s old New York City apartment building, postmarked 8th of August 8, 1989. (Beverley passed away, October 11, 2013, Peter passed away three years earlier, May 30, 2010). Where has it been residing all these years? Why did it choose this time to resurface?  What sweet (timeless) sentiments.

Dearest Peter,  Just thinking of you and the time we spent at Grass Vally 10 years ago, sleeping on the platform in the high grass under the moon, how soft and dry the air was, how much in love we were – Bev

Beverley was an extraordinary person, the consort of Orlovsky throughout the ’80’s, a devoted Buddhist practitioner (like Orlovsky, she studied under Allen’s teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche), and so much more

From her New York Times obituary

“She loved literature, the arts, & music, in particular, jazz, wrote poetry, achieved fluency in Spanish, studied Portuguese & Italian, (and) played the piano & cello.. She strove to acquire many skills, including bread making, ethnic cuisines, floral arrangement, mosaic, furniture design & construction, upholstery & wood refinishing, & various fine art media, including photography, watercolor, & botanical illustration. A vegetarian, she was knowledgeable about nutrition & herbal remedies…

In 1983 (she) completed a Landscape Design program at George Washington University & moved to Manhattan to start her own garden design & installation business,  She settled in the Inwood neighborhood  where she spent the rest of her life, in an apartment looking out on wild Inwood Hill Park, which she loved…

Her career included positions with Riverdale Country School, the NYC Parks Department, & the NY Restoration Project, She loved kids & worked with children at Riverdale School, & supervised teens in summer work programs in the parks. She incorporated progressive ideas in her work, solving drainage problems with water gardens, using native plants, installing green roofs, etc. She served on advisory committees in her neighborhood & worked to create & improve local green spaces…’

Read the full  New York Times obituary – here

She died too young, aged 58, succumbing to an aggressive brain cancer, (thirteen months after being suddenly surprised by a seizure).
Her funeral arrangements were typical Beverly – no solemn and closeted  memorial ceremony, she asked for (and was given) a classic New Orleans-style send-off

Peter and Beverly were clearly in love.  Here are a few of Allen’s images of the two of them together:

Peter Orlovsky & Beverly Isis,  New York City, December 1988 & Februar 1992 – photo(s) by Allen Ginsberg -courtesy Stanford University Libraries / Allen Ginsberg Estate

Samuel Colman – Farmyard, East Hampton, Long Isand, The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York – the other side of the postcard


“Beverly Isis went with me visiting the 20 acres my brother Gene and I own down below East Hill on the road to Cherry Valley (below where the old dump used to be) – that’s the West End of Cherry Valley behind Beverly – we went to inspect C.O.P. Inc. Farm, May 12, 1989, Allen Ginsberg”

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