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Bob Rosenthal reads Morning Poems



I am so happy that I finally got around to recording Bob Rosenthal reading Morning Poems, poems he had written when he was a senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the early 70s, poems jotted down on his way to class, often on the bus.

Last summer, I first saw the book in upstate New York visiting my friends Bernadette Mayer and Philip Good. We were talking about chapbooks, and Phil said, “Don, wait a minute, I want to show you something.” He went and brought back Morning Poems. I was enchanted, as I often am, by a chapbook. They are not only products of the mind but of the hands that make them. They’re not just literature; they’re art. Morning Poems was a gem, and I decided then and there that I would get Bob to read them when I got back to New York.

Half a year later, here we are; I finally got around to calling Bob. He and his wife Shelley (Rochelle Kraut) live right around the corner from me on 10th Street in a cozy duplex, paintings and poetry and Shelley’s artwork, over the years, finding their exact places to be on the wall. And the same goes with the furniture. Everything is comfortable.

Bob and I went up to his office that overlooks East 10th Street complete with its morning noises. Bob had good news too. His book, Cleaning Up New York, originally published by Angel Hair Books in 1976, has been reprinted by The Little Bookroom, due out in April. “It’s a cult classic,” Bob said with a grin. He’s almost finished with a book about the years he spent as Allen Ginsberg’s secretary, Straight Around Allen.

Here right now are Morning Poems. Enjoy them. Good morning.

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Bob Rosenthal and Rochelle Kraut, Chicago, 1972, around the time of Morning Poems

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