country of citizenship:
United States of America
occupation: poet, author, writer
David Lerner (November 23, 1951 – July 1, 1997?) was an American renegade poet born in New York City. Lerner came from a family of Russian-Jewish renegades, and grew up as a so-called "red-diaper baby". Lerner published numerous articles as a journalist, including material on the Russian singer and poet Vladimir Vysotsky. Lerner pursued a bohemian life and became involved in the notorious Cafe Babar in San Francisco about 1986, a group dubbed as the Babarians. Lerner and Bruce Isaacson co-founded Zeitgeist Press and have been referred to as 'the Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot of the underground.' Lerner's common-law wife, Maura O'Connor also published poetry.
One of Lerner's most celebrated poems, "Mein Kampf", is a seminal statement of underground poetics in response to the weight of the mainstream. In it he says:
Lerner was associated with the Lyman Family a.k.a. Fort Hill Construction, who have preserved his literary memory. Lerner's work has not yet been fully collected in an available edition. A considerable amount of Lerner's work is still unpublished, including poems, prose, and a large volume of letters.
Lerner died of a drug overdose in 1997 and Zeitgeist published 'The Last Five Miles to Grace' posthumously. Bucky Sinister of the San Francisco Bay Guardian wrote: "Lerner was a broken-down saint if there ever was one. He was an eloquent screamer, a soft-spoken rageoholic, a madman with a great manuscript. His poetry will always be a reminder of a time when poetry in the Mission was spontaneous, magical, and more than a little bit dangerous."
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