Lenore Kandel, shining light of the San Francisco poetry scene, author of the notorious, The Love Book has died aged 77. The Love Book, a small pamphlett made up of four poems, was seized by police in 1966 as hard-core pornography and book sellers were arrested for its sale. It was often said, Kandel saw the world with ‘peyote-visioned eyes’ and her work sought to translate these visions. A student of Zen, immortalised as Romana Schwarz in Kerouac’s Big Sur, her words continue to light up the minds of all who read them.
Here’s an excerpt from God/Love Poem:
there are no ways of love but / beautiful /
I love you all of them
I love you / your cock in my hands
stirs like a bird
in my fingers
as you swell and grow hard in my hand
forcing my fingers open
with your rigid strength
you are beautiful / you are beautiful
you are a hundred times beautiful
I stroke you with my loving hands
pink-nailed long fingers
I caress you
I adore you
my finger-tips… my palms…
your cock rises and throbs in my hands
a revelation / as Aphrodite knew it
(read the complete poem and other poems by Lenore Kandel)
Yep, jump on board your local public transport, peel the plastic off your copy of Brett Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, shout verses from Howl or revel in the so called obsecnity of Naked Lunch but wherever you are, celebrate Banned Books Week.
While this is a US phenomenon, I think it is something that needs to be embraced worldwide. Freedom of expression is something we should never take for granted. In essence, it is always under attack. We need more writers like Burroughs in the world today, writers unafraid to stare into the abyss and report back, writers who cast off the term outlaw on the basis that to be an outlaw, you must have once been inside the law. We need more danger!
So if you need some assistance getting your hands on a once or currently Banned Book, check out one of these Top Ten Lists.
Alternative Reel’s Top 10 Banned Books of the 20th Century
Time Magazine’s Most Challenged Books
I mean, this list contains some of the books that shaped my life… Grapes of Wrath, Lolita and Brave New World which is the book I credit as turning me on to literature in Yr 10.
Go on, get your hands on a Banned Book today.