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Bob Kaufman was born on this date in 1925. He was a Black poet.
He was born Robert Garnell Kaufman in New Orleans, LA. He has been described as an "innovative poet" and an important writer who gained his prominence during the “Beat period.” As a youth, Kaufman had the opportunity to gain exposure to a wide variety of religions. His father was German-Jewish, his mother was Roman Catholic and his grandmother was a practitioner of voodoo. Eventually however, Kaufman developed an interest in eastern religions and became a Buddhist.
In 1958, Kaufman moved to San Francisco and quickly became acclimated to the lifestyle led by many of the writers and artists who were prominent during the Beat period. Much of his writing became "surreal" and was often inspired by jazz music. He published Crowded with Loneliness and founded a magazine called Beatitude in 1965. Kaufman was most popular among European readers during the 1960's and published his second collection, Golden Sardine in 1967. After witnessing the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Kaufman was compelled to take a vow of silence, which it is said was unbroken until the end of the Veit Nam War.
His writing became political again and he produced a collection that included early works called The Ancient Rain: Poems, 1956-78 1981. It is said that in 1978 Kaufman once again resumed his silence and seldom broke the sacred vow until his death on January 12, 1986 in San Francisco, CA.
The Vintage Book of African American Poetry
Edited and with Introduction by Michael S. Harper & Anthony Walton
Vintage Books, Random House Ind., New York