Robert Duncan in San Francisco (City Lights/Grey Fox)

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9780872865907: Robert Duncan in San Francisco (City Lights/Grey Fox)
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After his graduation from Black Mountain College, Michael Rumaker made his way to the post-Howl, pre-Stonewall gay literary milieu of San Francisco, where he entered the circle of Robert Duncan. Contrasting Duncan's daringly frank homosexuality with Rumaker's own then-closeted life, Robert Duncan in San Francisco conjures up with harrowing detail an era of police prosecution of a clandestine gay community struggling to survive in the otherwise "open city" of San Francisco.

This expanded edition includes a selection of previously unpublished letters between Rumaker and Duncan, and an interview conducted for this edition, in which Rumaker provides further reflections on the poet and the period.

"This is a wonderfully revealing account of a series of lifechanging collisions between a young writer (Rumaker), an older writer (Duncan), a still older mentor for both (Charles Olson), a city (San Francisco), and an important era in American literature (the 1950s), when it was being turned upside down by these individuals and their friends. It's also a tender and intelligent account of a young man's coming to grips with being gay in the midst of this upheaval. Much more than memoir; it's history." —Russell Banks, author of Cloudsplitter

Robert Duncan in San Francisco offers a surprising portrait of a mentor in all his witty, wicked, luminous, and vulnerable complexity. Straddling the lines of memoir and cultural history, Michael Rumaker gives a rare and delightful view of Duncan at home in the gay community while also documenting the struggles of that community in 1950s America." —Lisa Jarnot, author of Robert Duncan, The Ambassador from Venus

"In this fine memoir of this 16 months in San Francisco, Rumaker learns many lessons about being at home with who he is, in what he calls 'Robert's city.'" —Joanne Kyger, About Now: Collected Poems

Michael Rumaker has written several novels and short story collections, as well as the memoir Black Mountain Days. He was born in Philadelphia and is a graduate of Black Mountain College – where Duncan served as his outside thesis advisor—and Columbia University. He taught at City University of New York and the New School for Social Research.

Robert Duncan (1919-1988) was an American poet and well-known as a key figure in the San Francisco Renaissance. City Lights published a book of his poetry titled Selected Poems.


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About the Author:

Michael Rumaker is an American author (born March 5, 1932 in Philadelphia, PA), to Michael Joseph and Winifred Marvel Rumaker. He is a graduate of Black Mountain College (1955) and Columbia University (1970). Most of Rumaker's fiction concerns his life as a gay man. His first book, The Butterfly, is a fictionalized memoir of his brief affair with a young Yoko Ono, published before Ono became famous. His short stories, Gringos and Other Stories, appeared in 1967. A revised and expanded version appeared in 1991. He began to write directly about his life as a gay man in the volumes A Day and a Night at the Baths (1979) and MY FIRST SATYRNALIA (1981). The novel Pagan Days (1991) is told from the perspective of an eight-year old boy struggling to understand his gay self. Black Mountain Days, a memoir of his time at Black Mountain College, has a strong autobiographical element In addition, there are portraits of many students, faculty, and visitors (especially the poets Robert Creeley and Charles Olson) during its last years, 1952-1956.

Review:

"This is a wonderfully revealing account of a series of life-changing collisions between a young writer (Rumaker), an older writer(Duncan), a still older mentor for both (Charles Olson), a city (San Francisco), and an important era in American literature (the 1950s), when it was being turned upside down by the individuals and their friends. It's also a tender and intelligent account of a young man's coming to grips with being gay in the midst of this upheaval. Much more than memir; it's history." Russell Banks

"Robert Duncan in San Francisco offers a surprising portrait of a mentor in all his witty, wicked, luminous, and vulnerable complexity. Straddling the lines of memoir and cultural history, Michael Rumaker gives a rare and delightful view of Duncan at home in the gay community while also documenting the struggles of that community in 1950s America." Lisa Jarnot, author of Robert Duncan, The Ambassador from Venus

"In this fine memoir of his 16 months in San Francisco, Rumaker learns may lessons about being at home with who he is, in what he calls 'Robert's city.'" Joanne Kyger

"[Robert Duncan in San Francisco] looks at the intriguing relationship between the famous, their fans and the soon-to-be famous." San Francisco Chronicle

"A harrowing picture of what life was like for a homosexual man in San Francisco before the Castro became the Castro." Truthout

"This expanded edition of a local classic is not only a portrait of the S.F. Renaissance poet, but also a glimpse of pre-Stonewall gay life in the late-1950s. Author Michael Rumaker knew Duncan, and he shares the good with the bad, set against legendary North Beach haunts." SF Weekly

"Robert Duncan in San Francisco is a one-of-a-kind glimpse into Duncan's life, written by Michael Rumaker, one of the rare firsthand chroniclers of the pre-Stonewall era of gay culture." Bookslut

"... an intriguing view of the city during the pre-Stonewall era. Of particular interest are previously unpublished letters between Rumaker and Duncan." San Jose Mercury News

"[Robert] Duncan was ahead of his time and his frank homosexuality inspired [author Michael] Rumaker to embrace his own. Robert Duncan in San Francisco stands with books like Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man as important works on gay liberation." KCET L.A. Letters

"... wonderful and exuberant yet Rumaker, outlining his friendship with Duncan and his associations with his crowd reveals the dark side of San Francisco in the 1950s and 60s." Beat Scene Magazine

"This is a book that we all should want to read to remind us of from where we came and realize that we would be nowhere if those who came before us did not speak up." activist Amos Lassen


"This is a wonderfully revealing account of a series of life-changing collisions between a young writer (Rumaker), an older writer(Duncan), a still older mentor for both (Charles Olson), a city (San Francisco), and an important era in American literature (the 1950s), when it was being turned upside down by the individuals and their friends. It's also a tender and intelligent account of a young man's coming to grips with being gay in the midst of this upheaval. Much more than memir; it's history."―Russell Banks

"Robert Duncan in San Francisco offers a surprising portrait of a mentor in all his witty, wicked, luminous, and vulnerable complexity. Straddling the lines of memoir and cultural history, Michael Rumaker gives a rare and delightful view of Duncan at home in the gay community while also documenting the struggles of that community in 1950s America." ―Lisa Jarnot, author of Robert Duncan, The Ambassador from Venus

"In this fine memoir of his 16 months in San Francisco, Rumaker learns may lessons about being at home with who he is, in what he calls 'Robert's city.'"―Joanne Kyger

"[Robert Duncan in San Francisco] looks at the intriguing relationship between the famous, their fans and the soon-to-be famous."―San Francisco Chronicle

"A harrowing picture of what life was like for a homosexual man in San Francisco before the Castro became the Castro."―Truthout

"This expanded edition of a local classic is not only a portrait of the S.F. Renaissance poet, but also a glimpse of pre-Stonewall gay life in the late-1950s. Author Michael Rumaker knew Duncan, and he shares the good with the bad, set against legendary North Beach haunts."―SF Weekly

"Robert Duncan in San Francisco is a one-of-a-kind glimpse into Duncan's life, written by Michael Rumaker, one of the rare firsthand chroniclers of the pre-Stonewall era of gay culture."―Bookslut

"... an intriguing view of the city during the pre-Stonewall era. Of particular interest are previously unpublished letters between Rumaker and Duncan."―San Jose Mercury News

"[Robert] Duncan was ahead of his time and his frank homosexuality inspired [author Michael] Rumaker to embrace his own. Robert Duncan in San Francisco stands with books like Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man as important works on gay liberation."―KCET L.A. Letters

"... wonderful and exuberant yet Rumaker, outlining his friendship with Duncan and his associations with his crowd... reveals the dark side of San Francisco in the 1950s and 60s."―Beat Scene Magazine

"This is a book that we all should want to read to remind us of from where we came and realize that we would be nowhere if those who came before us did not speak up."―activist Amos Lassen

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9780912516134: Robert Duncan in San Francisco

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Book Description City Lights Books, United States, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Expanded Edition. Language: English. Brand new Book. After his graduation from Black Mountain College, Michael Rumaker made his way to the post-Howl, pre-Stonewall gay literary milieu of San Francisco, where he entered the circle of Robert Duncan. Contrasting Duncan's daringly frank homosexuality with Rumaker's own then-closeted life, Robert Duncan in San Francisco conjures up with harrowing detail an era of police prosecution of a clandestine gay community struggling to survive in the otherwise "open city" of San Francisco. This expanded edition includes a selection of previously unpublished letters between Rumaker and Duncan, and an interview conducted for this edition, in which Rumaker provides further reflections on the poet and the period. "This is a wonderfully revealing account of a series of lifechanging collisions between a young writer (Rumaker), an older writer (Duncan), a still older mentor for both (Charles Olson), a city (San Francisco), and an important era in American literature (the 1950s), when it was being turned upside down by these individuals and their friends. It's also a tender and intelligent account of a young man's coming to grips with being gay in the midst of this upheaval.Much more than memoir; it's history." --Russell Banks, author of Cloudsplitter Robert Duncan in San Francisco offers a surprising portrait of a mentor in all his witty, wicked, luminous, and vulnerable complexity. Straddling the lines of memoir and cultural history, Michael Rumaker gives a rare and delightful view of Duncan at home in the gay community while also documenting the struggles of that community in 1950s America." --Lisa Jarnot, author of Robert Duncan, The Ambassador from Venus "In this fine memoir of this 16 months in San Francisco, Rumaker learns many lessons about being at home with who he is, in what he calls 'Robert's city.'" --Joanne Kyger, About Now: Collected Poems Michael Rumaker has written several novels and short story collections, as well as the memoir Black Mountain Days. He was born in Philadelphia and is a graduate of Black Mountain College -- where Duncan served as his outside thesis advisor--and Columbia University. He taught at City University of New York and the New School for Social Research. Robert Duncan (1919-1988) was an American poet and well-known as a key figure in the San Francisco Renaissance.City Lights published a book of his poetry titled Selected Poems. Seller Inventory # AAC9780872865907

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