WILLIAM BURROUGHS: Out on the periphery

WILLIAM BURROUGHS: Out on the periphery

Ron Price

Launceston, Australia

#1 Jun 12, 2012
William Seward Burroughs II also known by his pen name William Lee(1914-1997) was an American novelist, poet, essayist and spoken word performer or performance poet. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th century."(1)

Burroughs was always far out on the periphery of my life associated as he was with the origins of Beat poetry from the mid-to-late ‘40s when I was but a child. But in my late middle age, the years from 50 to 60--1994 to 2004--when I began to turn to poetry in the constellation of my interests and activities, Burroughs started to appear in the backdrop of my reading. Today I saw a doco on Burroughs.(2)–Ron Price with thanks to (1)Penguin Modern Classics 2003 edition of Junky, and (2) William Burroughs, SBSONE TV, 9 June, 2:20-3:55 p.m., 9 June 2012.

You achieved fame and glory,
but at what a price with heroin
addiction, murder and goodness
knows what else under your belt.

You began writing when I was just
one year old, published your famous
Naked Lunch the same year I joined
the Baha’i Faith,1 and you graduated
from Harvard in 1936 right at the start
of the planning for the Baha’i teaching
Plan I’ve been part of some 60 years!!

You also received a $200/month sum from
your parents until you published The Ticket
That Exploded and Nova Express…...It was
then that I started travelling for the Canadian
Baha’i community in 1962…..You published

Junkie: Confessions of Drug Addict at the start
of the Kingdom of God on Earth in 1953--little
did anyone know about either your book or that
Kingdom. I trust you are now enjoying some of
that freedom from those slings and arrows of an
outrageous fortune which plagued you on & on
during your life in that tempestuous 20th century.

1 In 1959. Burroughs wrote a total of 18 novels and novellas, six collections of short stories and four collections of essays. Five books of his interviews and letters have been published. He also collaborated on projects and recordings with numerous performers and musicians, and made many appearances in films.“The greatest satirical writer since Jonathan Swift,” he was sometimes called. Norman Mailer declared him to be: "the only American writer who may be conceivably possessed by genius."

Ron Price
10 June 2012

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