|Born||December 13, 1933|
New York City, U.S.
|Died||August 22, 2021 (aged 87)|
San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Poet, writer, essayist, social activist|
|Education||City College of New York (BA)|
Indiana University (MA, PhD)
|Spouse||Ruth Epstein (divorced)|
Hirschman was born in New York City to a Russian Jewish family. He received a B.A. from the City College of New York in 1955 and an M.A. (1957) and Ph.D. (1961) from Indiana University. While attending City College, he worked as a copy boy for the Associated Press. When he was 19, he sent a story to Ernest Hemingway, who responded: "I can't help you, kid. You write better than I did when I was 19. But the hell of it is, you write like me. That is no sin. But you won't get anywhere with it." Hirschman left a copy of the letter with the Associated Press, and when Hemingway killed himself in 1961, the "Letter to a Young Writer" was distributed by the wire service and published all over the world.
In 1954 Hirschman married Ruth Epstein, whom he'd met and dated when they were students at CCNY. Following graduation, Ruth became a program director for KPFK and eventually general manager of Santa Monica public radio station KCRW. The couple had two children, David and Celia.
In the 1950s and 60s, Hirschman taught at Dartmouth College and the University of California, Los Angeles. During his tenure at UCLA, one of the students enrolled in his class was Jim Morrison, later to be a cofounder and lead vocalist of the American band The Doors. The Vietnam War, however, put an end to Hirschman's academic career; he was fired from UCLA after encouraging his students to resist the draft. His marriage disintegrated, and he moved to San Francisco in 1973.
For a quarter century, Hirschman roamed San Francisco streets, cafes (including Caffe Trieste, where he has been a regular patron), and readings, becoming an active street poet and a peripatetic activist. Hirschman was also a painter and collagist.
In June 1999, Hirschman married the Swedish poet, writer and artist Agneta Falk.
His first volume of poetry, A Correspondence of Americans, published in 1960 by Indiana University Press, included an introduction by Karl Shapiro: "What a relief to find a poet who is not afraid of the vulgar or the sentimental, who can burst out laughing or cry his head off in poetry – who can make love to language, or kick it in the pants." Among his many volumes of poetry are A Correspondence of Americans (Indiana U. Press, 1960), Black Alephs (Trigram Press, 1969), Lyripol (City Lights, 1976), The Bottom Line (Curbstone, 1988), and Endless Threshold (Curbstone, 1992). He also translated over two dozen books into English from languages including Hebrew, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Persian, Russian, Albanian, and Greek.
Additionally, in 2006, Hirschman was appointed Poet Laureate of San Francisco by Mayor Gavin Newsom. In his Poet Laureate inaugural address, Hirschman envisioned creating an International Poetry Festival in San Francisco, reprising a great tradition from the City's literary past.
Hirschman was named Poet-in-Residence with Friends of the San Francisco Public Library in 2009. Hirschman continued his work supporting the literary community and was the key organizer for the now biennial San Francisco International Poetry Festival.
From 2007 Festival on, Hirschman, in partnership with Friends of the San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco Public Library, have presented smaller poetry festivals in a variety of languages, including the Latino Poetry Festival, the Vietnamese Poetry Festival, and the Iranian Arts Poetry Festival.
Hirschman curated the Poets 11 Anthology, which collected poetry from each of the City's 11 districts.
According to a 2006 book review, Hirschman was a Stalinist. Hirschman translated the youthful poems of Joseph Stalin into English (Joey: The Poems of Joseph Stalin; Deliriodendron Press, 2001). He was an assistant editor at the left-wing literary journal Left Curve and was a correspondent for The People's Tribune. He was active with the Revolutionary Poets Brigade. Hirschman is profiled in the 2009 documentary Red Poet in which he identifies as a Marxist-Leninist. He stated in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, “The most important thing as a poet is that I worked for the Communist movement for 45 years, and the new class of impoverished and homeless people.”
- (With Franz Kline) Kline Sky, The Zora Gallery, 1965.
- Yod, Trigram Press, 1966.
- Black Alephs: Poems, 1960-1968, Phoenix Bookshop, 1969.
- HNYC, R. Tamblyn Skyline Press, 1971.
- The Burning of Los Angeles, J'Ose Press, 1971.
- Endless Threshold, Curbstone Press, 1992.
- Front Lines, City Lights Publishers, 2002.
- Only Dreaming Sky, Manic D Press, 2007.
- All That's Left, City Lights Publishers, 2008.
- The Ulitsea Arcane, Nicola Viviani Edizioni, 2012.
- Talking Leaves, Sore Dove Press, 2013.
- Passion, Provocation and Prophecy, Swimming with Elephants Publications, 2015.
- "Happy Birthday". San Francisco Examiner. December 13, 2016. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
- Whiting, Sam (August 22, 2021). "Jack Hirschman, Marxist poet and North Beach fixture dies at 87". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
- Weiss, Mike (March 20, 2000). "Dean of SF Marxist poetry Jack Hirschman is lauded abroad unknown at home". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
- "Prolific S.F. poet finds wisdom in Communism, Kabbalah". J Weekly. April 4, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
- "Hirschman, Jack b. 1933". Dartmouth Library Archives & Manuscripts. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
- Norton, Justin (June 29, 2006). "Jack Hirschman is the last of Beat Generation poets". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
- "Hemingway told Kid not to write like him". Statesman Journal. July 3, 1961. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
- "Hemingway Took Time to Aid Aspiring Writer". The Morning News (Wilmington, Delaware). July 3, 1961. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
- Spear, Rosalie (January 18, 2018). "POET JACK HIRSCHMAN TALKS HEMINGWAY, JIM MORRISON AND VEGAS PLANS". Las Vegas Weekly. Las Vegas, NV. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
- https://www.myheritage.com/research/record-10182-2504535/ruth-epstein-in-biographical-summaries-of-notable-people[bare URL]
- Adams, John (May 15, 1978). "Area Poets to Gather for 3 day conference". The Berkeley Gazette. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
- Bartlett, Amanda (August 22, 2021). "Famed San Francisco poet and activist Jack Hirschman dies, reports group he co-founded". SF Gate. Retrieved August 22, 2021.
- Behramoglu, Ataol. "World Poetry Loses a Great Master". World Poetry Movement. Retrieved August 22, 2021.
- Carvan John, Godfrey D. (January 22, 1961). "Explosive Element in Poet's work". St. Louis Globe Democrat. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
- Hirschman, Jack (1960). A Correspondence of Americans. Indiana University Press. p. 12. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
- "Keeping pols on their toes". Newsday. June 10, 2007. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
- "Newsmakers: Jack Hirschman". The San Francisco Examiner. July 30, 2008. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
- "San Francisco International Poetry Festival 2007". Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
- Jack Hirschman, l'ultimo dei Beat smitizza la Beat Generation e dice no alla Guerra: Sempre, archived from the original on December 19, 2021, retrieved August 23, 2021
- Kaufman, Alan. "Superb landscapes full of horrible glory", San Francisco Chronicle (November 12, 2006): "A die-hard Stalinist Communist, he is also a virtuoso kabbalah scholar who, as a Yiddish-inflected Jew and artist, would probably have been executed – alongside such figures as Isaac Babel and Osip Mandelstam – in the Soviet Union about which he so fervently rhapsodizes."
- "Red Poet". imdb. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jack Hirschman.|
- Jack Hirschman: A bibliography, by Hirschman and Matt Gonzalez, in the May 24, 2002 San Francisco Call.
- Defiant, A Proclamation by Jack Hirschman, and four of Hirschman's poems presented by The InstaPLANET Cultural Universe.
- Works by or about Jack Hirschman in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- San Francisco International Poetry Festival, by Nirmala Nataraj, July 23, 2009 San Francisco Chronicle
- Jack Hirschman at IMDb