Orlovsky, Peter, 1933-2010

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Writer, associate of Allen Ginsberg.

From the description of Papers, 1954-1971. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122482491

American poet, born July 8, 1933, in New York City.

From the description of Peter Orlovsky Papers, 1952-1983. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122590485

Peter Orlovsky, poet, musician, farmer, teacher, and companion of poet Allen Ginsberg, was born July 8, 1933, on the Lower East Side of New York City to Oleg and Katherine Orlovsky. He was one of five children who grew up in the Northport section of Long Island, New York.

As a teenager, Orlovsky's parents separated after a series of failed business ventures and bouts with alcoholism. At that time, Orlovsky moved to Queens with his mother and siblings. Orlovsky dropped out of school in his senior year and began supporting himself at age 17 due to family economic problems. After many odd jobs, he began working as an orderly at Creedmore State Mental Hospital in New York giving him an opportunity to complete the requirements for a high school diploma.

In 1953, Orlovsky was drafted into the military as the Korean War began. Due to his erratic behavior and conspicuous anti-military sentiments at boot camp, army psychiatrists ordered his transfer. He spent the rest of his military service as a medic in a San Francisco hospital.

Following his discharge from the army, Orlovsky moved in with San Franscisco painter Robert LaVigne as both model and companion. In 1954, Orlovsky was introduced to LaVigne's friend, Allen Ginsberg. Soon after this first meeting, Orlovsky and Ginsberg became lovers and moved in together, defining their relationship as a marriage. Despite periods of separation, this arrangement remained intact until Ginsberg's death in April 1997.

Prior to meeting Ginsberg, Orlovsky had made no deliberate attempts at becoming a poet. With Ginsberg's encouragement, Orlovsky began writing in 1957 while the pair was living in Paris. His early compositional process began at the typewriter as spontaneous outbursts of ideas. From that point on, he often carried small notebooks to document his experiences, dreams, and impressionistic images.

Orlovsky's relationship with Ginsberg exposed him to individuals involved with the literary and artistic renaissance emerging in San Francisco during the 1950s. Accompanied by such Beat luminaries as Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Gregory Corso, Orlovsky traveled extensively for several years, both with and without Ginsberg, throughout the Middle East, Northern Africa, India, and Europe. The fragile mental condition of his brothers, Julius and Lafcadio, often abbreviated these trips, forcing his return to New York. Orlovsky and Ginsberg eventually settled into an apartment on New York's Lower East Side.

During the 1970s, Orlovsky spent much of his time on a farm in Cherry Valley, New York, writing, playing music, growing his own food, and communing with nature. In 1974, Orlovsky joined the faculty of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, to teach a course entitled “Poetry for Dumb Students.” Although Orlovsky never regarded writing as a career, he received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1979 to continue his creative endeavors.

Orlovsky has supported many social and political causes by participating in anti-nuclear demonstrations, LEMAR, a pro-marijuana organization, and the League for Sexual Freedom. Orlovsky and Ginsberg's frank and open discussion of their homosexual marriage has been credited with increasing gay consciousness in America.

To date, Orlovsky's work has been published in Dear Allen: Ship will land Jan 23, 58 (1971), Lepers Cry (1972), Clean Asshole Poems & Smiling Vegetable Songs: Poems 1957-1977 (1978), and Straight Hearts' Delight: Love Poems and Selected Letters (1980), a collaboration with Ginsberg. His work has also appeared in New American Poetry: 1945-1960 (1960), The Beatitude Anthology (1965), as well as the literary magazines Yugen and Outsider. Orlovsky has appeared in two films, Andy Warhol's Couch (1965) and photographer Robert Frank's Me and My Brother (1969), a film documenting Julius Orlovsky's mental illness.

From the guide to the Peter Orlovsky Papers TXRC99-A2., 1952-1983, (bulk 1957-1983), (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin)

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Peter Orlovsky was born in 1933 to Oleg, a Russian immigrant who painted silk neckties and Katherine Orlovsky, an aspiring writer. He was born in Manhattan, on the Lower East Side, but grew up on Long Island in the town of Northport. The family was poor and both Oleg and Katherine were alcoholics and the Orlovsky's five children were often neglected and abused. The oldest son, Julius, went mad and had, eventually to be institutionalized, and both Peter and his younger brother Lafcadio struggled throughout their lives with substance abuse.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Peter, the second of the Orlovsky's five children left his mother's home at 17. He worked as an orderly in a mental hospital in Queens while taking night classes to complete the requirements for his high school diploma. In 1953 he was drafted into the Korean war where he served as a medic in a hospital in San Francisco.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED In 1954, Orlovsky and moved in with painter Robert LaVigne acting both as the painter's model and his lover. Through LaVigne he met other writers and artists, most significantly Allen Ginsberg. Orlovsky and Ginsberg almost immediately became lovers and within months entered into a marriage that would last most of the remainder of their lives.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Ginsberg and Orlovsky lived together first in North Beach in California and later in New York City, but also traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Mediterranean as well as India and Pakistan. Though he lived and traveled all over the globe, Peter felt his responsibility to his brothers Julius and Lafcadio keenly, and his trips abroad were often abbreviated in order for him to care for one or both of them.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED With Ginsberg's influence and encouragement, Orlovsky began writing poetry in 1957 while the two were living in Paris. He was first published in 1960 and continued to write throughout that decade, though this is also when his own drug use, particularly amphetamines, was at its worst.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED In 1970 Orlovsky moved to the farm Allen Ginsberg purchased in Cherry Valley, New York to pursue organic farming and his writing. He joined the faculty of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in 1974 to teach the course "Poetry for Dumb Students" and remained a core member of the faculty for several years. He was awarded a $10,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1979.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED He is the author of several books of poetry including Dear Allen: Ship will land Jan 23, 58, Clean Asshole Poems & Smiling Vegetable Songs: Poems 1957-1977, Lepers Cry, and the volume Straight Hearts' Delight--Love Poems and Selected Letters, by Orlovsky and Allen Ginsberg as well as publishing poems in a number of periodicals. He was also featured in Robert Frank's documentary film Me and My Brother (1969), which explores Julius Orlovsky's mental illness.

From the guide to the Peter Orlovsky Papers, 1954-1971., (Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Angulo, Gui de. Portraits of poets, authors, and artists and miscellaneous photographs [graphic] / photographed by Gui de Angulo. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Cassady, Neal. Neal Cassady Collection, 1947-1965. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Allen Ginsberg Collection, 1944-1979. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969. Jack Kerouac Papers, 1920-1977 bulk 1935-1969. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Allen Ginsberg papers [manuscript], 1962-1991. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Neal Cassady Collection TXRC00-A14., 1947-1965 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Typed letter signed to Gui de Angulo, 1956 Jan. 15, Paterson, New Jersey, and 4 autograph notes signed to Gui, 1956 Sept. 22-26. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Larry Fagin Papers., n.d., 1958-1977. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center.
referencedIn Allen Ginsberg Collection TXRC00-A13., 1944-1979 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Orlovsky, Peter, 1933-2010. Autograph diary signed : New York, 1960 June 23-1966 Apr. 23. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Woodberry Poetry Room (Harvard College Library) poetry readings, 1931- (ongoing). Woodberry Poetry Room, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Letter, signed : to Peter Orlovsky "Tuesday, 10:15 am." University of Michigan
referencedIn Stankis, Elaine M. Elaine M. Stankis collection of black and white prints of Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, and Steven Taylor at the 17th Annual Comparative Literature Conference at California State University, Long Beach, 1982. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997. Memoir : of William S. Burroughs, [1956-1958]. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Cohen, John. Pull my daisy [graphic] : promotional photographs and stills from the motion picture. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Orlovsky, Peter, 1933-2010. Autograph journal signed : [San Francisco?], 1955 Oct. 3-Nov. 17. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Last will and testament, 1973. Temple University Libraries, Paley Library
referencedIn Button, John, 1929-1982. John Button papers, 1964-2004. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Allen Ginsberg papers [manuscript], 1962-1991. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Robert A. Wilson collection, 1906-2011 University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
creatorOf Anne Waldman Papers (1945-2012, bulk 1965-2000) University of Michigan
referencedIn Corso, Gregory. Gregory Corso papers, 1960-1970. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Ann Charters Papers., 1966-1982. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center.
referencedIn Corso, Gregory. Gregory Corso papers, 1949-1996. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Felver, Christopher, 1946-. The group surrounding Allen Ginsberg : photographs, 1980-1985. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Corso, Gregory, 1930- . Gregory Corso Collection, 1890-1978 (bulk 1950-1976). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Correspondence of Allen Ginsberg [manuscript], 1960-1963. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Robert LaVigne Papers, 1954-1969. Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
creatorOf Peter Orlovsky Papers TXRC99-A2., 1952-1983, (bulk 1957-1983) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Film and video archive, 1938-2001. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Felver, Christopher, 1946-. Chris Felver photographs of 20th century American poets, 1981-2003. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Allen Ginsberg typed letter signed to Gregory Corso, 1983 Nov. 1. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Herbert E. Huncke Papers, 1946-1973. Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
referencedIn Allen Ginsberg papers, 1937-1994 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969. Collection of 68 letters and 30 postcards, autograph and typed, most signed, to John Clellon Holmes; with: 1 typed letter to Alan Harrington, and 1 uncompleted letter from Neal Cassady to Holmes; Jack Kerouac autograph manuscript comprising a critique of John Clellon Holmes's novel "Go"; t.l.s. from [Kit and Arthur Knight] to Alfred Hirsch, July 24, 1983; t.l.s. from Maurice Neville to Alfred Hirsch, July 26, 1983. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997. Memoir : of William S. Burroughs, [1956-1958] [manuscript]. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Autograph letter signed : Cherry Valley, N.Y., to Joseph Geraci, Catholic Worker Farm, 1973 June 8. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Felver, Christopher, 1946-. Videos, 1982-2000. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Allen Ginsberg poems and letters, 1959–1966, 1984 University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
referencedIn Ball, Gordon. Allen Ginsberg and Friends : photocopies of photographs, 1971-1997. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Orlovsky, Peter, 1933-2010. Papers, 1954-1971. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Orlovsky, Peter, 1933-2010. Peter Orlovsky Papers, 1952-1983. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Allen Ginsberg papers, 1944-1991. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Gregory Corso Collection TXRC00-A15., 1890-1978, (1950-1976) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Allen Ginsberg papers, 1943-1991, [Bulk Dates: 1945-1976] Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
creatorOf Rosenthal, Irving, 1930-. Irving Rosenthal papers, ca. 1950-1996. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Logue, Christopher, 1926-2011. Christopher Logue papers, 1939-1993 (bulk 1950-1993). Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Wodening, Jane, 1936-. Jane Wodening and Stan Brakhage scrapbooks, 1958-1967. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Lavigne, Robert. Robert Lavigne papers, 1954-1969. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Allen Ginsberg notebook, circa 1960-1967. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Keenan, Larry. Larry Keenan, Jr. photograph archive [graphic]. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Neville, Tove. Berkeley Poetry Conference photographs [graphic]. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Jack Kerouac Papers, 1920-1977, 1935-1969 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Allen Ginsberg papers, 1937-1994 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Peter Orlovsky Papers, 1954-1971. Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
referencedIn Beach Archive, ca. 1962-1973 Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn Ashton, Dore. Oral history interview with Dore Ashton, 2010 Nov. 21. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Gregory Corso Papers, 1949-1996. Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
referencedIn Irving Rosenthal papers, ca. 1950-1996 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Rabinowitz, Jacob. Correspondence, 1978-1993. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Photographs of Robert Creeley, Peter Orlovsky and Gregory Corso, 1961, 1963. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Allen Ginsberg papers, 1937-1994. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Angulo, Gui de. person
associatedWith Ashton, Dore person
associatedWith Ball, Gordon. person
associatedWith Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997. person
associatedWith Button, John, 1929-1982. person
associatedWith Cassady, Neal. person
associatedWith Cassady, Neal, 1926-1968 person
associatedWith Charters, Ann. person
associatedWith Cohen, John. person
associatedWith Corso, Gregory person
associatedWith Corso, Gregory. person
correspondedWith Fagin, Larry. person
associatedWith Felver, Christopher, 1946- person
associatedWith Ginsberg, Allen, 1926- person
associatedWith Huncke, Herbert. person
associatedWith Keenan, Larry. person
associatedWith Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969. person
associatedWith Lavigne, Robert. person
associatedWith Logue, Christopher, 1926-2011. person
associatedWith McClure, Michael. person
associatedWith McClure, Michael. person
associatedWith Neville, Tove. person
associatedWith Orlovsky, Julius. person
associatedWith Orlovsky, Lafcadio. person
associatedWith Orlovsky, Lafcadio. person
associatedWith Rabinowitz, Jacob. person
associatedWith Rimbaud, Arthur, 1854-1891. person
associatedWith Rosenthal, Irving, 1930- person
associatedWith Stankis, Elaine M. person
associatedWith Waldman, Anne, 1945-. person
associatedWith Whalen, Philip. person
associatedWith Whalen, Philip. person
associatedWith Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892. person
associatedWith Wilson, Robert A. (Robert Alfred), 1922- person
associatedWith Wodening, Jane, 1936- person
associatedWith Woodberry Poetry Room (Harvard College Library). corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Subject
Poets, American--20th century
Beat generation
Bohemianism--United States
Bohemianism
Beat generation--Poetry
Beat generation--Sources
American literature--20th century
American poetry--20th century
Occupation
Authors
Activity

Person

Birth 1933-07-08

Death 2010-05-30

Americans

Information

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