In a recent interview, the musician Thurston Moore, founder of the groundbreaking experimental rock band Sonic Youth, was asked “who he would choose to spend an hour with if he could, dead or alive,” and his answer was Ted Berrigan, who has long been one of his heroes. This is not surprising, since Moore, who is also a poet and book collector, has been a long-time aficionado and devotee of the New York School of poetry — a fascination which even led to his song “Frank O’Hara Hit,” which I wrote about here a few years back.
As reported in Far Out, here is what Moore had to say about Berrigan when speaking with the UK fashion brand Fred Perry:
“Toward the end of the Q&A, the folks at Fred Perry asked the Sonic Youth co-frontman who he would choose to spend an hour with if he could, dead or alive. ‘Ted Berrigan, the poet who was the guiding light of what is called third-generation New York School poetry,’ Moore assertively answered. ‘He lived in holy poverty on the lower east side of Manhattan throughout the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and constructed poems informed on classic poetic tropes with an honest ear to the humanism of contemporary urban life, springboarding from Frank O’Hara and Allen Ginsberg to an ‘All Poets Welcome’ communitarian aesthetic that is still resonating in the world of working poets today. He passed away in the 80s , and I never met him, though I would spy him strolling along 2nd Avenue with young poets in tow, catching his every word.'”