Three ‘Not Poems’ by Stephen Schneck

'The Nightclerk' by Stephen Schneck [Grove Press, 1965]

Grove Press [1965]

The San Francisco EARTHQUAKE [Fall Issue 1967, Vol. 1, No. 1]

Collage by N.O. Mustill [1966]

I remember meeting Stephen Schneck in San Francisco at City Lights Bookstore, where I was clerking at the time. He had published The Nightclerk, which won the International Formentor Prize, and I was starting a “little” magazine. He offered three “Not Poems” for the first issue. His novel, translated into 12 languages but banned in Australia, was about the erotic fantasies of a corpulent hotel nightclerk. (Orson Welles wanted to film it; didn’t happen.) So Schneck’s offer felt like a great piece of luck. Not in the same league as getting William Burroughs’s “Word Authority More Habit Forming Than Heroin” for the same issue, but still a sweet little coup. I didn’t have any contact with Schneck after that. He seemed to disappear. I knew he wrote for the San Francisco improv troupe The Committee and for Ramparts and Mother Jones, as well as screenplays for offbeat flicks (all of which is mentioned in his Los Angeles Times obituary). What I didn’t know was that he went on to write for mainstream TV shows, like “All in the Family,” “Archie Bunker’s Place,” “Cheers,” and “In the Heat of the Night.” Which reminds me that Burroughs did a guest spot on “Saturday Night Live.” Nothing’s sacred.

Three “Not Poems” by Stephen Schneck [SFoEQ#1, 1967]

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  1. Cephalis says

    Steve did some wonderful collages and boxed collections of ephemera, better than Wally Berman’s, who I think inspired him. Steve sent these things back to an Eastern college to be archived; does anyone recall which institution?