Jeff Ball, collector extraordinaire of rare Burroughsiana, tells me he recently picked up a handful of these relevant little magazines at auction in his seemingly endless quest to capture an intriguing slice of literary history.
Postcards from beyond . . .
Ball’s collection also includes scattered ephemera which illuminate peculiar nooks and crannies of that literary history sometimes to telling effect. For instance, have a look at a postcard he also recently acquired.
Herbert Huncke in his autobiography Guilty of Everything recounts that during a jail stretch he did in Dannemore State Prison “not one person in a period of about five years so much as sent me a penny postcard.” He had become “a pariah even to friends who were outcasts themselves,” as I point out in The Z Collection. And who were these friends? Most notably Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac, among other writers of the Beat Generation.
This postcard is dated Aug. 13, 1981, when Huncke was no longer a pariah but something of a celebrity on the Beat nostalgia circuit. You can see that Ginsberg sent the card with his greetings from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, headquarters of the circuit. He doubtless arranged to have it signed with greetings as well from Burroughs, Peter Orlovsky, and Gregory Corso. The ironies abound.