Vega, Janine Pommy

(1942– )
   Janine Pommy Vega continues to be a major figure in contemporary American poetry, as is evident in her remarkable recent collection, The Green Piano (Black Sparrow 2005). While jack kerouac’s road took him all across America, Vega’s road has taken her all across the world. Janine Pommy was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, on February 5, 1942, to a working-class family. She was inspired to join the Beat movement after reading Kerouac’s on tHe road in 1958. “All the characters seemed to move with an intensity that was missing in my life,” she recalls. She met gregory corso in the Cedar Bar when an article on the Beat Generation prompted her to check out the scene in Greenwich Village, and she would eventually meet Kerouac himself. She has been associated with the Beats ever since. She was romantically involved with Peter Orlovsky (Allen Ginsberg’s partner) and became friends with ray bremser and his wife Bonnie (brenda frazer), and herbert huncke became her mentor. Of all the Beats, Vega admired Huncke the most for resisting the male chauvinism of the times. Though she graduated valedictorian of her high school class, Vega decided to live a life of a poet. For a time she lived with Ginsberg’s assistant Elise Cowen. She had an amphetamine-fueled relationship with Bill Heine, who would later be arrested with Huncke, and briefly lived in the same apartment as novelist Alexander Trocchi and his wife. In 1962 she met Fernando Vega, a talented Peruvian Jewish painter who took her to Israel. Fernando, the inspiration for Vega’s first book of poetry, poems to fernando (1968), died of a heroin overdose on the island of Ibiza off the coast of Spain in November 1965. She traveled (spending time with lenore kandel in Hawaii) and lived in New York City, San Francisco (with Huncke and, later, a member of the Hell’s Angels), and Woodstock, New York. In the 1970s she read poetry with Bob Kaufman, Jack Micheline, David Meltzer, and Ed Sanders, among others. She travelled with bob dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue in 1975. In 1982 she barely escaped death after a horrendous car crash. After recovering, she continued to travel, write, and work with prison programs to bring poetic inspiration to inmates. Her superb travelog, trackinG tHe serpent: journeys to four continents, was published by City Lights, the publisher of her first book of poetry, in 1997. Her signature poem, “mad dogs of trieste,” which was published in a volume under that name by Black Sparrow Press, appeared in 2000. One of the most, if not the most, peripatetic members of the Beat movement that she helped establish, Vega continues to be socially, politically, and artistically active today.
 Bibliography
As We Cover the Streets: Janine Pommy Vega. Film written by Kurt Hemmer, produced by Tom Knoff. Palatine, Ill.: Harper College, 2003.
■ Vega, Janine Pommy. Tracking the Serpent: Journeys to Four Continents. San Francisco: City Lights, 1997.
   Kurt Hemmer

Encyclopedia of Beat Literature. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Janine Pommy Vega — (born February 5, 1942) is an American poet associated with the Beats.Vega grew up in Union City, New Jersey. At the age of fifteen, inspired by Jack Kerouac s On the Road , she travelled to Manhattan to become involved in the Beat scene there.In …   Wikipedia

  • Janine Pommy Vega — Nom de naissance Telkowski Pommy Activités Poète Naissance 5 février 1942 Jersey City Décès 23 décembre 2010 Willow Langue d écriture anglais Mouv …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Vega (surname) — Vega (Pronounced Vey Ga ) is a Spanish surname than means dweller in the meadow , or one who lives on the plain . Other versions of the surname Vega are Vegas or Vegaz.People with the surname Vega* Amelia Vega, Miss Universe 2003 from the… …   Wikipedia

  • Vega — (De la voz prerromana baika, terreno regable.) ► sustantivo femenino GEOGRAFÍA Terreno fértil regado por un río. * * * vega (del ibérico «vaica») 1 f. *Terreno bajo, llano y con cultivos de huerta, generalmente atravesado por un río del que toma… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Poems to Fernando — by Janine Pommy Vega (1968)    This first book by janine pommy vega contains poems that were written between 1963 and 1967. The book documents Vega’s marriage to Peruvian painter, Fernando Vega, who died suddenly of a heroin overdose in November… …   Encyclopedia of Beat Literature

  • Tracking the Serpent: Journeys to Four Continents — by Janine Pommy Vega (1997)    Janine Pommy Vega’s work has received scant critical attention, despite the fact that she has published roughly a dozen books since her first work, poems to fernando, appeared in 1968. What makes this omission even… …   Encyclopedia of Beat Literature

  • “Mad Dogs of Trieste” — by Janine Pommy Vega (2000)    Janine Pommy Vega’s signature poem was written in Willow, New York, in August 1998 for andy clausen, but its intended audience can be seen as all the fellow travelers of the Beat movement and their compatriots. It… …   Encyclopedia of Beat Literature

  • Beat Generation — The Beat Generation is a term used to describe both a group of American writers who came to prominence in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the cultural phenomena that they wrote about and inspired (later sometimes called beatniks ): a… …   Wikipedia

  • Beat Generation — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Beatnik (homonymie). La Beat Generation est un mouvement littéraire et artistique né dans les années 1950, aux États Unis. Le terme de « Beat Generation » fut employé pour la première fois en 1948 par… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Clausen, Andy — (1943– )    The author of 10 books of poetry, Andy Clausen was consistently cited by the late allen ginsberg as one of the most important poets of the next generation. With a lively, oratorical voice that is unforgettable both on the page and in… …   Encyclopedia of Beat Literature

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.