Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Poem Again Is Yours: A Tribute to Ira Cohen

Ira Cohen was born in 1935 in the Bronx and attended Cornell University and Columbia University. In the early 1960s, he lived in Tangier and published GNAOUA magazine, an early venue for William Burroughs, among other Beat affiliates. He also produced Paul Bowles's recordings of dervish trance music (Jilala). Between stints in Spain, Paris, London, and Amsterdam, he returned to New York where he conducted shamanic experiments in photography and produced the films Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda and Paradise Now (documenting the Living Theatre's historic American tour). In the early1970s, he went to the Himalayas, studied bookmaking with native craftsmen, and continued to publish poets and writers such as Gregory Corso and Paul Bowles. In 1972 he spent a year in San Francisco reading and performing and mounting photographic shows. In 1981 he again returned to New York, where he lived between travels to Africa and Asia. In India, he documented the great kumbh mela festival in the film Kings with Straw Mats. In the latter part of the decade Synergetic Press published On Feet of Gold, a book of selected poems. Ira was a contributing editor of Third Rail magazine, a review of international arts and literature based in Los Angeles. His photographs have been shown internationally. Ira passed away on April 25, 2011. The following tributes by Ira's friends were compiled for RS by Steve Dalachinsky...Read more here 

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