JULY 1, 2003
(Copyright © 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)
PART 21: THE BEAT PAPERS OF AL ARONOWITZ
FROM LEFT, TED JOANS, JAN KEROUAC, AL ARONOWITZ AND PAUL BLAKE III ON NEW
YORK CITY'S WEST BROADWAY IN 1994. CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE: TED JOANS, 1928-2003,
A MAJOR BEAT
Ted Joans wasn't a musician
but he knew how to blow his own horn.
"I'm not one of these
"major Beat poets??---and he held up his fingers to signify quotation
marks---?but I'm one of the most important ones."
That's what he told me when I first met him many, many years ago, back in 1958 when the New York Post assigned me to write a feature series about the Beat Generation. As I remember, we were in the Gaslight Caf? on McDougal Street and Ted was looking for publicity. He started telling me about an idea he had to write something that I thought was entitled A Point of View.
"No," Ted laughed, "A Point of You!"
I'd already heard about Ted as
a poet who was into music. His reputation was that he made
music with words. He was a jazz poet. A be-bop jazz poet. And he ended up always
running around the world and spreading his reputation. I got to envy him. I'd always wanted to be
a world-traveler like he became.
The last time I saw Ted, it was May 20. 1994, my 66th birthday, and I was walking on West
aint the story
I wanted to write
Broadway with Gerry Nicosia, Jan Kerouac and her cousin,
Paul Blake III when out of nowhere Ted comes walking towards us.
"Al Aronowitz!" he
exclaims. "What's up, man??
Ted had just gotten back to New
York from Paris. At the time, Jan, Gerry and I are
due to give a reading at Dean and Deluca and Ted asks if he can read, too.
"Yeah, I got some new
poems," he says. "Y?gotta hear "em!"
But Dean and Deluca have given
us only so much time.
"Well, next time," Ted
"I still wanna write a story
about you," I tell him.
"We'll get together
sometime," he replies and we each go our ways.
I'd wanted to interview Ted since I'd met him but, like I say, he was always on the run. Paris. Timbuktu. San Francisco. Vancouver. No, I never gave him the publicity he wanted. All those times I wanted to sit down with him for an interview, he was somewhere else.
Whether or not Ted considered
himself one of the "major? Beat poets, I certainly do and the Beats, of course, have
made a major impact on the world. I think it was Shelley who said poets are the
legislators of mankind. I agree, but even in their collegiality, I've also
found poets often to be a quarrelsome, backbiting and egotistical lot. Except
for poets like Ted. He was always sweet, kind, gentle, fun-loving, light and
Yeah, I always wanted to write a story about Ted but this aint the story I wanted to write. ##
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