VICTOR BOCKRIS

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— Here are two related pieces: Self Portrait 1972 and 1972, created in the same week mid July 1972. They are from a memoir in progress, The Electric Kid, about my initial year as a writer, or in this case a poet. They mark a definitive turning point in my career. Both works made in London, England, were inspired by an extraordinary woman with whom I had just had a passionate love affair in the north. She released me from the strangle hold of other egos, cutting me loose to be myself. I was 21 and lived in Philadelphia.

Self Portrait 1972 presents a radically different face than the one on the cover of my first book of poems published three months earlier, In America. This is the first live picture of me, which reveals the face of punk three years before it emerged. 1972 was the first poem I wrote directly from my mind. Previously I had been writing under the influence of minimalism. 1972 is not just a list of names, it also opens up on its broadest scale the living, breathing universe of the counterculture that year. The darkening in bottom left hand corner is intended. It was also an introduction to the mythology of the counterculture, which I would dedicate my life to writing one year later.


Victor Bockris is the author of eleven non-fiction books, including a trilogy of portraits of Muhammad Ali, William Burroughs and Blondie, as well as a trilogy of biographies of Andy Warhol, Keith Richard and Lou Reed. He is currently writing a trilogy of memoirs.