Poet : ruth weiss
Publisher : Counter Culture Chronicles
Year : 2019
Recorded : side A 2018, side B 1969 & 1973
Tape compiled by Tate Swindell & Thomas Antonic
©2019 ruth weiss
Design : André Koolmees
The cassette comes with a laser printed insert
Limited edition of 80
Postage & packing not included
Raised in Europe before World War 2, ruth weiss turned into a pioneering bohemian poet on the other side of the Atlantic after the war. weiss was born into a Jewish family in Germany in 1928 and much of her childhood was spent running from the spreading and intensifying Nazi persucation of those days. After having found a temporary refuge in The Netherlands, weiss and her parents escaped to safety in Chicago in 1939. There, ruth weiss began experimenting with combinations of poetry and jazz in her early twenties before hitchhiking to San Francisco in 1952, where she began performing with street musicians and soon developed into one of the pioneers of fusing poetry and jazz.
ruth weiss – who has spelled her name in lower case to break down the hierarchy in letters since the 1960s – met and worked with Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady soon after her arrival in California and turned her apartment into an early project space for poetry readings and music the next year. weiss paid tribute to the female poets that she admired in her compilation Gallery of Women in 1959 and adapted her poem The Brink for a short film which she directed herself two years later. Her most important poem, the experimental and revelatory Desert Journal, was started in 1961, completed in 1968 and published in 1977. weiss has continued to publish, perform and read poetry to this day.
The A-side of the Counter Culture Chronicles C80 cassette contains a recording of ruth weiss and her band consisting of Rent Romus, Doug O’Connor and Hal Davis performing live at the ‘ruthfest’, weiss’s 90th-birthday celebration at the Beat Museum San Francisco on 28 July 2018. Among the cool and jazzy poems that were recorded that night are excerpts of for these women of the beat generation and bypass linz, in which weiss returns to her childhood flight from the Nazis. At 90 weiss still sounds radical and streetwise. Her poems powerful. The B-side combines recordings of ruth weiss and Bruce Lippincott in Santa Fe, 1969 and of weiss at Radio KPOOO, San Francisco, 1973. With this cassette CCC has published a beautiful document and tribute to ‘beat goddess’ ruth weiss.