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Reading  |  Ed Sanders: A Reading from Broken Glory, the Final Years of Robert F. Kennedy

Thursday, September 8, 2016, 7 pm

Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium  

Writer/musician/activist Ed Sanders returns to Buffalo and the Burchfield Penney to read from his upcoming book The Final Years of Robert Kennedy— An Investigative Poem. The reading will focus on the final two sections of the work-in-progress, depicting Senator Kennedy’s campaign for the presidency and his assassination. Having previously chronicled the Manson Family, the year 1968, and the entire history of America (in ten volumes of verse), Sanders now uses his own investigative team and his "projective poetry" style to attempt to unravel some of the more astounding conspiracy theories surrounding RFK's death. The book includes a transcript from Dr. Daniel Brown’s hypnosis session with Sirhan Sirhan, the man convicted of shooting Kennedy.

Images for the book by artist Rick Veitch (Swamp Thing, Bratpack, 1963, and many collaborations with legendary comics writer Alan Moore) will be projected as Sanders reads. To date, Veitch has created more than 100 illustrations of the text with a goal to hit 200.

Click here to read an excerpt from the book and see a sample illustration.


Ed Sanders is an American poet, singer, social activist, environmentalist, author, publisher and major figure in the Beat and Hippie generations—a key character in the creation of the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s.

Born in Kansas City, MO, he wrote his first notable work, Poem from Jail, on toilet paper in a cell after being jailed for protesting the launch of nuclear submarines armed with nuclear missiles in 1961. Later in the decade, while splitting his time between playing with his satirical rock group the Fugs (first at local spots such as the Bridge Theater at 4 St. Marks Place and then around the world); publishing Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts, one of the East Village’s most influential alternative journals; and operating the iconic Peace Eye Bookstore (first at 383 East 10th Street and then at 147 Avenue A), Sanders crossed paths with the likes of Andy Warhol, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Abbie Hoffman, and Timothy Leary, among others. Jonas Mekas and Harry Smith inspired him to experiment with underground filmmaking, and another close friend, Allen Ginsberg, joined him in attention-grabbing stands in support of drug legalization, pacifism, and First Amendment rights. He was a leading figure during the demonstrations outsdie the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in the summer of 1968.

Sanders is a founder of the "Investigative Poetry" movement, inspired by the late Charles Olsen, a leader in ‘projective verse’ while at Black Mountain College and subsequently the University at Buffalo. Sander’s 1976 manifesto Investigative Poetry, published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Books, had an impact on investigative writing and poetry during the ensuing decades.

Sanders received a Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry in 1983 and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry in 1987. His collection Thirsting for Peace in a Raging Century, Selected Poems 1961–1985 won an American Book Award in 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, N.Y.
Sanders lives in Woodstock, N.Y., 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, the microtonal Microlyre, and the Lisa Lyre, a musical contraption involving light-activated switches and a reproduction of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa.