Huncke Blog

100 Years & 1 Week—Herbert Huncke Centennial

Poet & musician Leslie Winer is currently recording a series of Huncke stories, notebook entries & letters put to some new music co-written with & produced by Christophe Van Huffel—to be released on vinyl 2015.  The first track ‘Cuba’ will drop at The Huncke Centennial Celebration at The Beat Museum tomorrow night in San Francisco—courtesy of Tate Swindell / Unerequited Records.  Come & have a listen if you’re in the area.  Brilliant list of people paying tribute to Huncke.  100 years young.  Shocking.


Please help us here at HunckeTeaCompany to celebrate Huncke’s Centennial Year by possibly thinking about bookmarking & using our Amazon portal for any of your purchases on Amazon.  Books & Otherwise.  Proceeds go toward the archiving & digitisation of Huncke’s notebooks, correspondence & audio recordings—& the publishing of previously unpublished & out-of-print stories in both hard copy & eBook formats.  Let’s keep Huncke’s legacy alive in this, his 100th year.  Thanks in advance.


We’ve been busy digitising a series of cassettes, informal conversations with HH from over the years.  Some of these will go up soon over at our Soundcloud account.   We are also preparing a series of podcasts—conversations Now with & about people who knew Huncke.  We're hoping to have a conversation with Stewart Meyer—author of 'The Lotus Crew', chronicler of Burroughs & friend of Huncke's—for our first podcast.  Stay tuned. 


Simply click on the image or link (above) to go through our Huncke Amazon Portal & then bookmark us when you are there.  Use this link for all your Amazon purchases & they will give us a micro payment for every purchase made through this link—at no cost to you.  Basically:  free money from Amazon for preserving Huncke archives.  Win / Win.  


You can also help by using our Huncke Abe Books affiliate link when you buy rare or out-of-print books from independent booksellers or donate directly with Paypal.  Even 5 bucks helps.  If you make a donation we’ll send you a ‘Huncke Business’ card in the post from Huncke Tea Company headquarters here in France.  Just email us your address etc & we’ll send one out.  ‘Tea they called it.’



Big donations get one of the new stories.  If you’re good.  Maybe.  Bilingual editions from Les Editions Derrière la Salles de Bains . . .

(email your postal details to & something will be posted from France, eventually … )

Once upon a time, when I was around 20 or thereabouts & living near Grammercy Park,  Herbert came over for a visit.  It was quite near his methadone pickup at the time so he would drop by twice a week or so.  I had to run out to get some cigarettes & told Herbert I’d be right back.  He started to slowly shake his head in that slow exaggerated sad way that he had: no, no, no.  “Leslie, have I taught you… Nothing?  You can’t leeeeeeeeeaaaave me here.  I’ll steal everything the minute you’re gone.”  I pulled on my new-to-me overcoat which he'd brought over earlier.  “Like a glove!” he said as we descended the staircase.  “That’s merino wool you know.”  

When I first met Herbert in the late '70s I thought of him as old.  Already.  He was just a couple of years older than I find myself here & now.  Across the wounded galaxies we intersect.  —LW January 16, 2015 près de Vigny, France.




FagRag #42/43 Herbert Huncke, John Wieners

32p. folded tabloid newspaper, photos, art, articles, poetry, services, mildly worn and toned newsprint. Includes an interview with Herbert Huncke, Shively defending prostitution, poetry by John Wieners.

Huncke Centennial Celebration at The Beat Museum



Presented by the Beat Museum and Unrequited Records

Herbert Huncke has long been a marginal figure among marginal figures. A Times Square hustler whose writings shone a naked bulb upon the gritty urban underworld, peopled with dispossessed characters scraping an existence from the fringes of society, Huncke not only inspired the Beat Generation—he gave it a name.

This January would have been Huncke’s 100th birthday. Join us as we celebrate his centennial.

Appearances by:

  • Hilary Holladay
    (author – American Hipster: A Life Of Herbert Huncke)
  • Dennis McNally
    (author – Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beats, and America)
  • Tate Swindell
    (record producer – Guilty Of Everything)
  • Ben Schafer
    (editor – The Herbert Huncke Reader)
  • Brenda Knight
    (author – Women of the Beat Generation)
  • Regina Marler
    (author – Queer Beats)
  • Laki Vazakas
    (filmmaker – Huncke and Louis)

This event is free of charge.


"7786 - Burroughs, Wm."

Huncke Tea Company has helped fund "7786 - Burroughs, Wm." — Patrick Clement's intimate look at William Burroughs through a series of seven unpublished portraits on Kickstarter.  

You can still contribute, pre-order a book, some postcards or just read more about the project here.  

"7786 - Burroughs, Wm." Facebook page here.

'I Look Like an Old Dyke.'

'Beat. Beat Dope. That Dope is Beat.'

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Some Photos from Hilary Holladay's recent reading/signing of 'American Hipster: A Life of Herbert Huncke, The Times Square Hustler Who Inspired the Beat Movement' @ The Beat Museum & Alley Cat Bookstore in San Francisco.

This first bio is a great introduction to Huncke, highly recommended for those unfamiliar with his role within & influence on the Beat movement & particularly his relationship with the big three:  Burroughs, Ginsberg & Kerouac.

I'm surprised there hasn't been more buzz about this book - I suspect it might be due more to publisher malaise & distribution shortcomings rather than reflection on the book itself, which is definitely a worthy read.

If an author comes to SF to do a reading you would think that the publisher would at least make sure that City Lights had a copy or two of said author's book !  (They hadn't even heard of it !)  Damn, son !  


Has anyone read it yet ?  Interested in your feedback etc.



'Evil New York - What a Town'

In the process of digitizing a pile of Huncke related cassettes.  Workshops, conversations, telephone calls, discussions & so forth.  Across the years.  

Just came to a part where Herbert recites:  

'Evil New York

What a town

Jumpin' outta windows

Without a crown.'

Hahhahaha !  So good to hear his voice.  Reminding me of . . . so much.

We'll be uploading some new/old audio soon.  Some edited & some raw Huncke unplugged.   

- LW


Particularly Little Jack

This blog & site is a work in progress - documenting the somewhat clumsy process of sorting through the archives of Herbert Huncke - by co-editors Jerry Poynton & Leslie Winer - & preparing Herbert's work for re-publication.  There is a mountain of material including archives from Stanford, Columbia & private papers, film, letters & various ephemera held in private collections.  This is That.

We'll post bits & pieces of what we're doing here - as well as some anecdotal material.  Requests for anything you might want to see taken.  Ask & we'll look for it.   & Please, if you have any stories or memories of Huncke feel free to leave them in the comments or you can contact us at




Allen Ginsberg:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

"In 1949 Ginsberg moved out of East Harlem and into downtown Manhattan where Herbert Huncke and several of his friends began storing stolen goods. The police raided the apartment and Ginsberg served eight months in the New York Psychiatric Hospital where he met Carl Solomon who offered further challenges to his convictions about poetry. Ginsberg continued to write the collection of poems later published in 1972 as The Gates of Wrath."


Dear Leslie,

This paragraph--it is amazing a university library would have this written in this way.  While it is true the Jack Melody, Vicki Russell, Herbert Huncke and Allen Ginsberg were storing goods in Allen's place--downtown from East Harlem--I believe East 68th, 58th Street--the implication here is way wrong.  ("downtown Manhattan," 58th Street?)

Allen was quite interested in Vickie and Little Jack.  (I suspect, particularly Little Jack.)

Allen participated as a look-out for heists and went off with Vickie and Little Jack, excluding Herbert, who was beginning to feel left out as the three of them would go out with out him. Herbert told me he was looking to move out because Allen had taken such a strong interest in Little Jack and Vickie, Herbert was beginning to feel like a fifth wheel.

The police arrived at Allen's door after Allen, Vickie, and Little Jack had, unsuccessfully, tried to run over a New York City motorcycle policeman who noticed Little Jack driving the wrong way on a one way street in Queens.

Taking pursuit, Little Jack flipped the car, making a fast turn.  Occupants fled.  The car had stolen goods in it, and Allen's notebooks.

Allen had been detailing his crime sprees in his notebooks. Burroughs learned of this and told Allen to get the notebooks out of the apartment. It was Allen's intent to bring the notebooks to a safe place.  This is what he was doing--taking goods to a "new" pawn shop and his notebooks to a safe house in Queens--when Little Jack screwed-up.

When the car flipped, Allen lost his glasses, fled with the others and left his notebooks which detailed the crimes and had Allen's contact information. This is how the police found Allen's apartment.  He left his address at the scene of the crime.

After Allen fled, he immediately phoned Herbert who was at the apartment.  Allen told Herbert to "clear the place out" as the cops would be arriving.

Herbert looked around and decided he could not singlehandedly clear the apartment out--there was a cigarette machine in the living room--and decided to make the place look as "neat" as possible.  (Herbert didn't know about the notebooks now in police hands.)

When the cops arrived, they were not interested in Herbert. He was not in the car that tried to run over one of New York finest. They almost didn't arrest him but did in the end because he was in the apartment.

Once at the station, they found Herbert had "a screamer" (arrest warrant) from Detroit.

Once in jail--Allen retreated to a corner of the cell, wept and began reciting Jewish prayers. Herbert told me he lost respect for Allen when he saw that.

Allen's brother, a lawyer, visited Herbert a few days later and asked Herbert if he would mind if they postpone the trial for as long as possible--as Allen's name as Columbia student--was blazed in the press. Herbert agreed.

Little Jack's mother was a mafia doyen in Brooklyn. Vickie Russell's father (I think this is true) was a Detroit judge. They were both released to their family. Allen was put in the psych ward for six months and Herbert sent to prison for five years.