Sunday, May 13, 2012

Winter of Love

Samuel R. Delany; Heavenly Breakfast: An Essay on the Winter of Love (Bamberger Books; 2006; ISBN 0-917-453-33-6; cover by George Schneeman).

This comparatively short work by Delany (another recent acquisition, the wallet cringes!) is spun out of an article he was writing about commune life, which was spun out of three journals that Delany kept while living with Heavenly Breakfast in 1967-1968. Heavenly Breakfast was both a commune and a band (which got close to, but never recorded, part of the reason why the band, and the commune, ultimately broke apart).

Delany outlines his several months with the commune, experiences with the members, encounters with other communes or groups, some successful, some not). Alas, there is not much depth or analysis here; for example, the group visits a monastery during the course of the book, but Delany does not seem to make the connection that a monastery is a sort of commune, and a commune that seems to have functioned far longer than anything that came out of the Summer of Love.

At some point I'll have to sit down and read all the autobiographical and semi-autobiographical works again, in chronological order. As with the others I have read (The Motion of Light in Water, Bread and Wine, 1984) half the fascination is in a well-examined life (a phrase that Delany used in 1984) and Delany's commentary as the writing and the events.

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