In sunny moments, I remember how seeing many of these for the first time on microfilm at Montana State University Library thrilled and excited me — this was how this world hidden by my isolated Montana culture looked!
In dreary afternoons like today’s, it can suggest not only a vanished world but a broken, or at least unfulfilled, promise: American bohemia would last forever; there was always going to be places, more and more maybe, where you could run wild and break the rules if you did it with grace and style. But true mass bohemia ruins the phenomenon. And the decline and fall of the Establishment made the rebellions empty.
In calm evenings like this, I can settle on being grateful that I met Beat writer stars Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsburg and found the latter to be especially funny, entertaining, wonderful in a rowdy Montana bar and even a wise, guru-type person. He conveyed a lasting impression of the freedom Beat and Hippie granted youth.
Oh, and the book includes a marvelous photo I had not seen of Leonard Cohen right before his first NY performance.