Bob Kaufman Alley

Bob Kaufman Alley information

Location
San Francisco , USA
Address
off Grant Ave near Filbert St
Getting there
Tram: Powell-Mason
Bus: 8,30, 41, 45
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What, you mean your hometown doesn’t have a street named after an African American Catholic-Jewish-voodoo anarchist street poet? The Beat poet revered in France as the ‘American Rimbaud’ co-founded legendary Beatitudes magazine in 1959, and was a spoken-word jazz artist never at a loss for words. Yet he felt compelled to take a Buddhist vow of silence after John F Kennedy’s assassination that he kept until the Vietnam War ended - 12 years later. The hidden alleyway honoring him is offbeat, streetwise, and often profoundly silent.

Kaufman’s life was hardly pure poetry: he was a teenage runaway, periodically found himself homeless, was occasionally jailed for picking fights in poetry with police, battled methamphetamine addiction with varying success and once claimed his goal was to be forgotten. This alley may be thwarting that goal - but so did Bob Kaufman's own troubled genius.