Lenore Kendall is source of inspiration in writings of my own. A poet of the Beat Generation. Lenore was a friend of Jack Kerouac’s. Kerouac would later go on to describe her in his novel Big Sur as, “intelligent, well read, writes poetry, is a Zen student, knows everything…”. Lenore also road motorcycles with her husband who was also a poet as well as a Hells Angel. Growing up in the punk scene myself, and having friends from plenty of walks of life… lets just say that not many thought anything intelligent could come from subcultures. But….a big ah ha! comes to shock those old square pegs to this day. Great works of art and writing typically come from those willing to go against the grain. To challenge thinking. To march to the beat of their own drum, and to speak messages which they believe in. Is there any other way? I am not so sure there is….
Lenore herself ended up challenging the system in the 1960s with a book of poems called The Love Book, which was to put it bluntly… erotic. Hence the square pegs completely flipping their wigs! The Love Book ended up being banned as her work was found as aviolation of “state obscenity codes”. The copies were seized from City Lights Bookstore and The Psychedelic Shop in 1966.A jury would later state that her book was obscene, lacking aredeeming social value in 1967. As everybody knows though… it’s that any attention on a piece of work whether it is good or bad is still attention. This actually ended up raising the sales in her book of poetry. The decision from the jury was later overturned on appeal and the book continued to sell pretty well. Also likely the reason I was likely lucky enough to obtain a copy in 2016!
Lenore was the type that stood by what she believed in. She always did what she wanted to do. She always wrote what she wanted to write about. She wasn’t fearful of writing about things that we all experience but that general society wants to police and keep hidden. Perhaps one of the best parts about living in the Bay Area is that this is where the beat poets had a long standing presence in. As a writer myself, sharing one’s thoughts on paper can be vulnerable as is sharing any work of art. But when you have people like Lenore Kandel to look up to, it really makes you feel like you can do anything.
On my vlog I have put together a series of films inspired by Lenore with a reading of one of her poems from the book released in 2012, Collected Poems of Lenore Kandel. The kaleidoscopes match the way she dances through her poetry.