Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cabbing with Kafka

Ron Padgett, from a memoir of his friend and fellow poet Ted Berrigan:

New York, early sixties. We were leading a charmed life. One night five of us piled into a Checker cab and headed for the movies on Forty-second Street. Part way there, I noticed that the driver’s name was Kafka, something like Samuel Kafka. We literati started talking about Kafka’s work, and the driver called out, “You talkin’ about Kafka the author?”

“Yes. How do you know about him?”

“He was my cousin.” He explained the genealogy a bit. “Francis, he was an odd one. I guess you’d say he was the black sheep of the family. But he’s the only one people have ever heard of, so I guess he did something right.”

Ted: A Personal Memoir of Ted Berrigan (Great Barrington, MA: The Figures, 1993).
In a 1994 review, I called Ted “the essential Berrigan book.” I think that description still holds.

Related reading
OCA Ted Berrigan posts (Pinboard)
OCA Ron Padgett posts (Pinboard)

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