“Streets paved with opal sadness,
Lead me counterclockwise, to pockets of joy,
Bob Kaufman, Cranial Guitar: Selected Poems
This week on From the Vault we treat you an amazing radio documentary about one of the most elusive poets of the twentieth century and the originator of the name ‘beatnik,’ Bob Kaufman. Written and produced in 1992 by David Henderson, with associate production and engineering by Vic Bedoin, Bob Kaufman, Poet: The Life and Times of an African-American Man features interviews with family members, scholars, and artist such as Amiri Baraka, Allen Ginsberg, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, and Roscoe Lee Brown. Despite his battles with alcohol, drugs, psychotherapy, and the justice system, Kaufman’s ragged life teems with poetic brilliance, as this documentary demonstrates. Highlights include a rare 1958 recording of Kaufman reading his epic poem Second April and a discussion of jazz with recordist Henry Jacobs. Part one of two.