Huncke Blog

Allen Ginsberg and Herbert Huncke - SFSU 1967

Once again, mirrored from our (Gallimaufrey !) friends at The Allen Ginsberg Project :

[ Herbert Huncke  and  Allen Ginsberg -  together on East 10th Street, New York City,  three years later, 1970 - Photograph by  Ann Charters ]    

[Herbert Huncke and Allen Ginsberg - together on East 10th Street, New York City,  three years later, 1970 - Photograph by Ann Charters

From the invaluable trove at San Francisco State University's Poetry Center Digital Archive -  Allen Ginsberg and Herbert Huncke reading on February 7, 1967

This historic event can be heard in its entirety here

Mark Linenthal (of SFSU) begins by noting upcoming events and a visit to the campus by film-maker Stan Brakhage.
He then turns to the business of the evening, introducing Herbert Huncke and Allen Ginsberg.

ML: "I want to welcome  Herbert Huncke and Allen Ginsberg to the Poetry Center and to the campus of San Francisco State College. Allen is going to read first and then we'll have a break and everybody can stand up and stretch and we can open the doors  (oh, the doors are open!), everyone can stand up and stretch, and then Herbert will read.

As most of you know Mr Herbert Huncke is an old friend of Allen's, it's appropriate then to have Allen introduce him to you. Allen Ginsberg needs no introduction but I would like to call attention to his extreme importance. I want to suggest what I think his role has been in changing the way in which we experience our experience, that is, in actually changing us." 

AG: And now I want to introduce someone who I think is a major American prose writer. His work will be published, probably later this year, by Grove Press [editorial note - sadly, this was not to be], an older fellow, who was my teacher and guru, both in language and perception, Mr Herbert Huncke . . .  

HH: I'm afraid my voice will sound pale next to Allen's, he's always so vibrant, you know. As a sort of introduction, I'll read "Song of Self" - "Herbert E Huncke. My name - although I'm generally known as Huncke and by a few as Herbert and in the past as Herbie…"…"It wasn't long after I began travelling and ceased to call Chicago my home." - 


In 'The Thief's Journal', Genet says there are very few people who have earned the right to think.  Huncke had adventures and misadventures that were not available to middle-class, comparatively wealthy college people like Kerouac and me:  "Some write home to the old folks for coin.  That's their ace in the hole."  Huncke had extraordinary experiences that were quite genuine.  He isn't a type you find anymore.
— William S. Burroughs (foreword to 'The Herbert Huncke Reader')