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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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Giorno Poetry Systems

Giorno Poetry Systems

(p.145) Six Giorno Poetry Systems
"Do You Have a Band?"

Daniel Kane

Columbia University Press

How did music – both in terms of its sound, its lyrics, and its associated recording technologies – encourage St. Mark’s affiliated poets to get their tracks on vinyl and ensure their poetry and poetics became ever more oriented towards a punk-inflected performance aesthetic? This chapter answers this question in part by turning to John Giorno. Giorno, a performance poet active in the St. Mark’s scene since the mid-1960s, who was in many ways downtown’s court jester. Star of Andy Warhol’s durational film Sleep, lover to Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, founder of a pirate radio station broadcast from the bell tower of St. Mark’s Church, organizer of L.S.D fueled poetry performance parties at the Poetry Project, Giorno was perhaps the preeminent figure in the downtown scene determined to refigure poetry as populist outlaw happening. This chapter moves further by exploring how Giorno made the move to vinyl and live performance not just because of earlier examples drawn from the broader history of performance poetry, but because he was determined to mark a break from the urbane literariness associated with the first generation New York School poets.

Keywords:   John Giorno, Dial-a-Poem Poets, performance poetry, the New York School of poetry, John Sinclair, free jazz

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