By Ted Berrigan, Ron Padgett. Illustrations by Joe Brainard.
Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard and Ron Padgett’s Bean Spasms is the defining publication of the 1960s literary/Pop scene in New York. Originally published in 1967 by Kulchur Press in an edition of 1,000, and out of print for more than 40 years, Bean Spasms is a book many have heard about but relatively few have seen, and which--until now--has been consequently shrouded in legend. The text is comprised of collaborations between poets Ted Berrigan and Ron Padgett, with further writings, illustrations and cover by artist and writer Joe Brainard. The three began collaborating in 1960, and kept a folder of their works titled “Lyrical Bullets” (a humorous homage to the well-known collaboration between Coleridge and Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads). As Ron Padgett describes, in his introduction to this new facsimile edition, their collaborations included “plays, a fictitious correspondence, a picaresque novel, goofy interviews and poems of various types and lengths, as well as mistranslations and parodies of each other’s work and the work of others.” Poet friends dropping by during writing sessions would also add lines, and although Berrigan and Padgett also contributed visuals, and Brainard contributed texts, all works in the book were intentionally left unattributed. Full of wild wit and joy in experimentation, competition and collaboration, Bean Spasms is a classic document of the New York School.