Alum Joan Gelfand: Haunted, Inspired by Dreams of Ferlinghetti

Monday, March 01, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- Inspired by Ferlinghetti and a few other voices of the time, I began writing secretly, and then in earnest when I arrived in Berkeley at the tail end of the Beats. Ann Waldman, Jessica Hagedorn, Susan Griffin and Adrienne Rich were my muses then, but Lawrence’s voice was always among the first.

Sometime later I had established myself as a poet in the lively and still thriving poetry scene in San Francisco. After a bachelor’s at San Francisco State (where I studied with Stan Rice, Kathleen Fraser and Kay Boyle), I earned a master’s at Mills College, studying with the estimable Chana Bloch. My work had been published and, most importantly, I was “on the scene” being featured at the cafes and bookstores around the city. Jack Foley, the host of “Cover to Cover” on KPFA and the editor of “O Powerful Western Star,” was mentoring me.