In the late 1950s and early 1960s the only music I was into was jazz, playing it myself and going to clubs to hear it. So I rejected the burgeoning "folk" scene and never went to The Folklore Center on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village, run by Izzy Young. But I certainly knew who he was.
Then, in 1966, after four years in the military I ended up in Brooklyn Heights thanks to a literary patron who ran a new magazine, KALEIDOSCOPE, and had me run errands for the mag in return for her paying me and letting me and my wife Lee live in her co-publisher's fancy apartment. On my runs I'd have time to kill and by then, through my wife, I had opened up to folk music so used to stop by the new spot Izzy had found for his folklore center on Sixth Ave across the street from West Third.
I don't know how long he lasted there, but we became friendly and he took an interest in my poetry, suggesting I get in touch with some young poets he'd hosted at his shop and do a reading there. But circumstances led me and my wife to leave New York so I never did. I saw him again in the 1970s before he moved to Sweden (look him up). Many years later I wrote these poems in a series about that earlier time and place, in one of which I mention him.
The editor of KALEIDOSCOPE, Rita, a tall
shapely redhead, waited before an elegant
old townhouse on Remson Street with the
publisher, a dark-haired goateed man half
her size who made lots of money consulting
for corporations and the government on the
then still room-size computers. It kept him
out of town often, which is why he let us use
his pad full of priceless antiques, including
a collection of frog art: statuettes, toys, and
exotic carvings from around the world that,
as he showed me, if you turned over had e-
normous penises underneath. I hadn’t shaved
since Spokane so had the start of a beard too.
For about ten weeks almost daily I carried manuscripts
and galleys by foot from midtown Manhattan to the
printer on Canal Street and back. The magazine, on
loose narrow pages, came curled in a kaleidoscope
tube with tiny sample items from Village artisans
and stores. I ran into Curtis Powell, just back from
Europe, in the post office near Cooper Union, visited
DeWitt, Mel, and Cliff, while Cal and Cissie, and
Teddy and Lynn, visited us in our plush pad. I got to
know Izzy Young at his new FOLKLORE CENTER
located above OBIES, where I heard him ask a young
kid what Andy Warhol’s appeal was, after a monotone
Warhol radio interview. The kid said He’s cool. Izzy
pointed at me and said No he’s cool, Warhol’s COLD.