About this entry

Samuel Charters | The Poet Sees His Family Sleeping


poems by Samuel Charters

34 pages of unpublished poems. First edition, 200 copies, all signed by the poet. Mini-chapbook format, in wraps. Cover artwork and author portrait by Henry Denander.

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Samuel Charters began his life with small presses in the 1950s in New Orleans when he shared a rundown French Quarter building with Gypsy Lou and Jon Webb and made his first magazine appearance in an issue of their ground-breaking magazine The Outsider. Beginning in the mid-1960s his poetry chapbooks, broadsides, and literary essays were published by Berkeley’s Oyez Press, many designed and printed by the legendary Graham MacIntosh. With their own Portents press, he and his wife Ann published small pieces by, among many others, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Charles Olson, and Robert Creeley. With Ginsberg they created the book Scenes Along The Road, the first look at the story of the Beat Generation.

In the other world of publishing he has written innumerable books on jazz and the blues, as well as novels, biographies, translations, and travel memoirs, and worked with Ann on the first biography of Jack Kerouac. He is also responsible for the poetry section of their college introduction-to-literature textbook Literature And Its Writers, now in its 4th edition. Their current project is the authorized biography of Beat novelist John Clellon Holmes. His own most recent book is the first history of New Orleans jazz, A Trumpet Around The Corner.

A sample poem from The Poet Sees His Family Sleeping:



There is no hell,
but I stumble there – often.
No heaven,
but I journey there – sometimes.


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