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"Do You Have a Band?"Poetry and Punk Rock in New York City$
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Daniel Kane

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780231162975

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231162975.001.0001

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Lou Reed: “In the Beginning Was the Word”

Lou Reed: “In the Beginning Was the Word”

(p.40) Two Lou Reed: “In the Beginning Was the Word”
"Do You Have a Band?"

Daniel Kane

Columbia University Press

This chapter analyzes the ways in which Lou Reed’s vision of himself as a writer informed his music and lyrics for the Velvet Underground and his solo career. I track how Reed’s engagement with Andy Warhol and the New York School of poets complicated and troubled his otherwise relatively traditional views of the Poet as oracular figure. The chapter pays special attention to Reed’s stories and poems published in his collegiate-era mimeographed journal Lonely Woman Quarterly, analyzing how these works ultimately fed into Reed’s music and lyrics in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Mixing a world-weary, vernacular tone with bursts of inspired disjunction, or interrupting a straightforward narrative with Joycean free-association, Reed used the journal to sketch the personae that were to prove obstinate presences throughout his career. Reed’s porn-freaks, alcoholics, suburbanite wannabees, drag queens, hustlers, and junkies all got their start at Syracuse University, accompanying Reed on his journey from Lewis to Louis to Luis and, ultimately, Lou.

Keywords:   Lou Reed, Delmore Schwartz, The Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol, Exploding Plastic Inevitable, Gerard Malanga

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