Jack Micheline

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Jack Micheline (November 6, 1929 – February 27, 1998), born Harold Martin Silver, was an American painter and poet from the San Francisco Bay Area. His name is synonymous with street artists, underground writers, and "outlaw" poets. One of San Francisco's original Beat poets, he was an innovative artist who was active in the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance of the 1950s and 1960s.

Beat Poet

Born in The Bronx, New York, of Russian-Romanian ancestry. Micheline took his pen name from writer Jack London and his mother's maiden name. He moved to Greenwich Village in the 1950s, where he became a street poet, drawing on Harlem blues and jazz rhythms and the cadence of word music. He lived on the fringe of poverty, writing about hookers, drug addicts, blue collar workers, and the dispossessed.

In 1957, Troubadour Press published his first book River of Red Wine. Jack Kerouac wrote the introduction, and it was reviewed by Dorothy Parker in Esquire magazine. Micheline relocated to San Francisco in the early 1960s, where he spent the rest of his life. He published over twenty books, some of them mimeographs and chapbooks.

Though a poet of the Beat generation, Micheline characterized the Beat movement as a product of media hustle, and hated being categorized as a Beat poet. He was also a painter, working primarily with gouache in a self-taught, primitive style he picked up in Mexico City.

Obscenity Bust

In September 1968, a short story he...
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