Peter Orlovsky, poet, dharma-maverick, and longtime companion of Allen Ginsberg, has died. Friend Chuck Lief reports: “Peter died this morning at 11:30 am. We are working on the funeral arrangements now, which will take place at the Karme Choling Meditation Center in Barnet, Vermont.”
Born in 1933, Orlovsky’s New York life would take a turn towards fame in 1954 when he met Ginsberg. Famously handsome — he even appeared in films by Andy Warhol and Robert Frank — Orlovsky would quickly became a muse and confidant of Ginsberg’s, but this was to be no mere fling. Instead, their meeting proved life-changing meeting for both men, who would be together until Ginsberg’s death in 1997.
Orlovsky was of course a poet in his own right, teaching at Naropa Institute’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics beginning in 1974 and also publishing off and on throughout his life.
Our thoughts are with all the many people whose lives have been touched by Orlovsky’s work and presence. (Update: see inside this post’s comments for a statement regarding Peter’s passing by Anne Waldman.)
See also: Impossible Happiness: An Elegy for Peter Orlvosky — by Steve Silberman, featuring never-before-seen photos by Cliff Fyman.