The Museum of American Poetics
American Poet Greats Lecture Series

2003 - 2004 Season

Dinners with Andy:
A Portrait of the poet Andy Clausen by Vivian Demuth
with Eliot Katz

Dinners with Andy (2004) is a 30-minute video by Vivian Demuth, offering a portrait of the poet Andy Clausen. It was shot around a dinner table in the New York City apartment of poets Demuth and Eliot Katz, who also appear in the film.

Of Clausen's poetry, Allen Ginsberg wrote: "The expensive bullshit of Government TV poetics suffers diminution of credibility placed side by side with Mr. Clausen's direct information and sad raw insight.... Andy Clausen's poetry a reading interest rare in poetry of any generation." Born in Belgium in 1943, Clausen was brought by his mother to live in Oakland, California at the age of 2. In the video, he describes his unique family life; his brief stint in the Marines; his various jobs, including work as a construction worker, cab driver, and teacher of poetry in schools and prisons; his growth into artistic and political consciousness; and his friendship with Beat Generation writers, including Allen Ginsberg, Janine Pommy Vega, Gregory Corso, and Neal Cassady.

His chief books have been: The Iron Curtain of Love (Long Shot, 1985), Without Doubt (Zeitgeist, 1991), and his selected verse of 30 years, 40th Century Man (Autonomedia, 1997).

Dinners with Andy was shot during several evenings of take-out pizza dinners. It attempts to provide a broad portrait of an artist's life, through conversations, as well as through selections of Clausen reading his poetry. Andy Clausen's is a memorable, colorful story, and this video will hopefully introduce the work of this important artist to a new and wider audience.

About Eliot Katz

Old poet friends Eliot Katz and Andy Clausen coedited Poems for the Nation (Seven Stories Press, 2000), a collection of contemporary political poems compiled by the late poet Allen Ginsberg . Katz is the author of Unlocking the Exits (Coffee House Press, 1999); Les voleurs au travail (Thieves at Work) (Paris: Messidor Press, 1992, in French translation) and Space and Other Poems for Love, Laughs, and Social Transformation (Northern Lights, 1990). Read more about Eliot Katz.

About the Videographer
Vivian Demuth is an artist, poet and writer who has been published in a variety of journals in the United States and Canada. She is a video producer at Manhattan Neighborhood Network in New York City. She also hosts an annual Poetry On The Peaks in northwest Canada where she works summers as a fire lookout.

"Dinners with Andy"
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