Kaye McDonough: City Lights Poet
Tue, Mar 25
5:00 PM — 6:30 PM
NAC160 Convent Avenue137th Street and Amsterdam Avenue
Kaye McDonough, a former beat poet, will read from her latest collection, "Pagan," and chat about"Kaye McDonough has such a unique poetic voice, and her new Pagan: Selected Poems distills it, especially in her poems for Isadora Duncan and Bob Kaufman, both pagans of another age.”
- Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Kaye McDonough was born in Pittsburgh in 1943 and studied literature at Vassar College before transferring to the University of California at Berkeley where she earned a degree in Art History during the turbulent 60s amid demonstrations, riots and sit-ins.
She went to Paris in 1963 and explored the literary haunts of the 'lost generation' before making her way back to the West Coast of California and becoming part of the scene in San Francisco during the 1960s as a young publisher of Greenlight Press (handset and hand-sewn editions of North Beach poets and artists) and associate editor and typesetter for Alix Geluardi's now classic anthology of San Francisco poets, 185.
As something of a lighthouse for the 1970s North Beach scene, she was a fixture at all Beatitude/City Lights events, wowing audiences and readers with her theatrical poems on Zelda Fitzgerald. Her book Zelda: Frontier Life in America, a finalist in the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center awards under Artistic Director Lloyd Richards, was published in 1978 by City Lights followed by performances at St. Clement's Theatre in New York City and at other off-off-Broadway venues. Legal troubles from the Fitzgerald Estate soon followed.
In the 1980s, she became involved for a time with Beat Generation poet Gregory Corso, having a son from that union, Nile Corso, now 29, studying at Johns Hopkins. In the 1990s, she left San Francisco and moved back East to Pittsburgh before moving eventually to New Haven, Connecticut – where she still resides.
She has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and has been a visiting playwright/poet at City College of New York (CUNY at 138th), University of Utah, and Brown University. She has taught at various colleges and universities (Univ. of Connecticut at Avery Point, Eastern Connecticut State, Manhattanville, Quinnipiac University, University of Hartford and several community colleges) while continuing to do readings and to publish in numerous small press mags and zines (you can see them below). She is currently at work on a memoir, The Spell of Bohemia. Other publications include: (Anthologies): Beatitude Golden Anniversary 1959-2009 (2009), City Lights Anthology, California Bicentennial Poets Anthology, and others; (Magazines and Journals): Global City Review (2008), North Coast Literary Review (2008), New College Review (online) (2007). Chimera England (2006), Litterature en Marche, France (2002), City Lights Review, Exquisite Corpse.
Presented by the Simon H. Rifkind Center, the English Department, and Prof. Michelle Valladares.