Evening in Paradise: More Stories

Patricia Lockwood writes:

There ought to be a cult, really, of teenagers with Lucia Berlin’s books in their back pockets, hair combed into black bouffants, imitating her squint against sunlight. The writers she is most directly associated with – Robert Creeley and Ed Dorn – were of the Black Mountain School, but she seems somehow to have more to do with the Beats, perhaps because she was always on the run; perhaps because of the drug addiction of her third husband, Buddy Berlin; perhaps because you can easily imagine her holding a tambourine or with her legs crossed around a bongo drum. ‘The not-so-young among the holy barbarians are not “settling down”, as the nonconformists of the past have done. Some of them are already bringing up families and they are still “beat”,’ Lawrence Lipton writes in The Holy Barbarians, a passage that always comes to mind when I see pictures of Berlin dangling her sons against various backyards, parks, untamed beaches.

(LRB 6 December 2018)

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