WEIRDLAND: Lou Reed's poetry book, Jerry Lewis' trauma

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Lou Reed's poetry book, Jerry Lewis' trauma

'We are the people who are desperate beyond emotion': Lou Reed's lost poetry to be published for the first time. The verses “We are the people who have known only lies and desperation. We are the people without a country, a voice, or a mirror. We are the crystal gaze returned through the density and immensity of a berserk nation” belong to the poetry volume Do Angels Need Haircuts? (80 pages), published by Anthology Editions on May 1, 2018. It was Anne Waldman who facilitated Reed's first significant reading, on March 10th, 1971, at the Poetry Project, which she ran out of St. Mark's Church just around the corner from The Dom, on Second Avenue and 10th Street. The pieces Reed read that evening, along with bits of his introductions transcribed from an archival recording, form the core of Do Angels Need Haircuts? Bettye Kronstad was in the audience the night of his reading. Having quit the Velvets, Reed began dating Bettye, a young college student with no ties to the downtown scene. They had bagels for brunch and Chinese for dinner with his parents. He told her he was thinking of quitting music to pursue writing. He'd sent out a love poem for Kronstad to The Harvard Advocate magazine. Reed's widow Laurie Anderson explains her relationship to these poems: 'I got to spend twenty-one years with Lou. I married him. It wasn't until a lot later that I fell in love with the young bad boy Lou. He was dead by then and I read his poems. Now he is my muse.' Source:

Jerry Lewis' father Danny would show up at the office or on a set, and Jerry would immediately shrivel into a depression. Bogdanovich witnessed this exchange between the two of them in 1962 on the set of It’s Only Money, recalling that “every time his father came into the studio, he went into a funk. I remember producer Perry Cross practically had sentries out: ‘If you see Danny Lewis coming, slap him in irons.’” Jerry Lewis was also depressed about the bad reviews of The Bell Boy (1960) and when he ran into Wilder, the director told Jerry why the town was against him. "The only reason that they're talking is that they can't do it. And the thing they hate more than anything is that you're doing it and you're showing them they can't." —"Billy Wilder, Movie-Maker: Critical Essays on the Films" (2010) by Karen McNally 

According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, performing artists who experienced more abuse, neglect or family dysfunction in childhood tend to have a more intense creative process. “This study reflects years of dedicated research. In general, the performing artists in our sample who experienced a high amount of trauma may suffer more pathology but they also thrive with heightened experiences and value the creative process as a healing and meaningful component in their lives.” The artists with more childhood adversity were more likely to be more fantasy prone, experience more shame and anxiety, and had experienced more traumatic events. Perfectionism is a risk factor for suicide ideation but probably does not indicate a further risk for attempting suicide. Thomson said future research will examine the physical health of artists with a history of trauma. Source:

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