Lecture / Discussion | Edward Sanders and Anthony Bannon
Part of Words
Sunday, April 13, 2014, 2–3 pm
The Burchfield Penney Art Center Launch series of conversations will conclude with Executive Director Anthony Bannon and Counter-Culture Icon Ed Sanders discussing the leadership role Buffalo has played during the past half century in shaping the ideas of our postmodern era. Sanders has participated in the dynamic Buffalo arts scene since the mid 1950s as a visiting scholar, poet, publisher, musician, and constitutional cultural historian.From the mid 1960s, Bannon participated in many of the same scenes, working as journalist, critic, filmmaker, and arts administrator. Their conversation promises to be far ranging, provocative, and perhaps outrageous. It will try to maintain a focus on the relationship between the local and the global, between the regional and the international - in all of its affairs.
Sanders was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He dropped out of the University of Missouri in 1958 and hitchhiked to New York City's Greenwich Village to attend New York University. He graduated in 1964, with a degree in Greek.
Sanders wrote his first notable poem, "Poem from Jail", on toilet paper in his cell after being jailed for protesting the launch of nuclear submarines armed with nuclear missiles in 1961. In 1962, he founded the avant-garde journal Fuck You/A Magazine of the Arts. Sanders opened the Peace Eye Bookstore at 383 East Tenth Street in what was then the Lower East Side; the store became a gathering place for bohemians, writers and radicals. On January 1, 1966, police raided Peace Eye Bookstore and charged Sanders with obscenity, charges he fended off with the aid of the ACLU. Notoriety generated by the case led to his appearance on the February 17, 1967 cover of Life Magazine, which proclaimed him "a leader of New York's Other Culture."
In late 1964, Sanders founded The Fugs with Tuli Kupferberg. The band broke up in 1969 and reformed in 1984. On October 21, 1967, on the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam's March on the Pentagon, Sanders helped The Fugs and the San Francisco Diggers in an attempt to "exorcise" The Pentagon. In 1968, he signed the "Writers and Editors War Tax Protest" pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War.
In 1971, Sanders wrote The Family, a profile of the events leading up to the Tate-LaBianca murders. He attended the Manson group's murder trial, and spent time at their residence at the Spahn Movie Ranch. There have been two updated editions of The Family, the most recent in 2002. The Process Church of the Final Judgement sued Sanders's U.S. publisher for defamation over a chapter linking them with Manson's activities. The case was settled by the publisher, who removed the disputed chapter from future editions. The Process Church then sued Sanders's British publisher, but lost the suit and were forced to pay the defendant's legal fees.
Sanders is the founder of the Investigative Poetry movement. His 1976 manifesto Investigative Poetry, published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Books, had an impact on investigative writing and poetry during the ensuing decades. In the 1990s, Sanders began utilizing the principles of Investigative Poetry to create a series of book-length poems on literary figures and American History. Among these works are Chekhov, 1968: A History in Verse, and The Poetry and Life of Allen Ginsberg. In 1998, Sanders began work on a 9-volume America, A History in Verse. The first five volumes, tracing the history of the 20th century, were published in a CD format with over 2,000 pages in length.
Sanders received a Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry in 1983, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry in 1987. His Thirsting for Peace in a Raging Century, Selected Poems 1961–1985 won an American Book Awardin 1988. He was chosen to deliver the Charles Olson Memorial Lectures at SUNY Buffalo in 1983. In 1997, he received a Writers Community residency sponsored by the YMCA National Writer's Voice through the Lila Wallace Readers Digest Fund.
In 1997 he was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award. In 2000 and 2003 he was Writer-in-Residence at the New York State Writers Institute in Albany, New York.
Sanders lives in Woodstock, New York, where he publishes the online Woodstock Journal with his wife of over 47 years, the writer and painter Miriam R. Sanders.He also invents musical instruments, including the Talking Tie, themicrotonal Microlyre, and the Lisa Lyre, a musical contraption involving light-activated switches and a reproduction of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa.
This event is free with gallery admission.