Partner Allen Ginsberg, buried together
Columbia University, 116th St & Broadway, New York, NY 10027, Stati Uniti
Beat Hotel, 9 Rue Gît-le-Cœur, 75006 Paris, Francia
Shambhala Meditation Center, 17 Eastern Ave, St Johnsbury, VT 05819, USA
Shambhala Mountain Center, 151 Shambhala Way, Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545, Stati Uniti
Peter Anton Orlovsky (July 8, 1933 – May 30, 2010) was an American poet and actor. He was the long-time companion of Allen Ginsberg.
Orlovsky was born in the Lower East Side of New York City, the son of Katherine (née Schwarten) and Oleg Orlovsky, a Russian immigrant. He was raised in poverty and was forced to drop out of Newtown High School in his senior year so he could support his impoverished family. After many odd jobs, he began working as an orderly at Creedmoor State Mental Hospital, known today as Creedmoor Psychiatric Center.
Mexico City attracted international gay visitors between the 1940s and 1960s, with its cultural life, low cost of living, the intelligentsia’s leftist orientation, and the city’s architectural beauty. Political, cultural and sexual dissidents found the fast-growing city welcoming despite its rapid population growth: from 1.5 to 6 million between 1930 and 1960. Allen Ginsberg – who had regularly visited Mexico City from 1951 – reported its affordability to his friend Gary Snyder as well as his homosexual encountersduring a 1956 visit with Jack Kerouac and Peter Orlovsky. Some international visitors settled permanently. Foreign homosexuals found opportunities in couture and design, including milliner Henri de Châtillon, furniture designer Emmett Morley Webb and restaurateur and designer Jay de Laval. Earl Sennett, an instructor at Mexico City College in the 1940s and 1950s, directed the Mexico City Players, a theatrical troupe that included political dissidents like John T. Herrmann.
Shambhala Center, Boulder
Shambhala Mountain Center, Red Feathers Lake
In 1953, Orlovsky was drafted into the United States Army for the Korean War at nineteen years old. Army psychiatrists ordered his transfer off the front to work as a medic in a San Francisco hospital. He later went to Columbia University.
He met Allen Ginsberg while working as a model for the painter Robert La Vigne in San Francisco in December 1954. Prior to meeting Ginsberg, Orlovsky had made no deliberate attempts at becoming a poet.
With Ginsberg's encouragement, Orlovsky began writing in 1957 while the pair were living in Paris. Accompanied by other beat writers, Orlovsky traveled extensively for several years throughout the Middle East, Northern Africa, India, and Europe. Orlovsky was Ginsberg's lover in an open relationship until Ginsberg's death in 1997.
In 1974, Orlovsky joined the faculty of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, teaching poetry. In 1979 he received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to continue his creative endeavors.
In May 2010, friends reported that Orlovsky, who had had lung cancer for several months, was moved from his home in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, to the Vermont Respite House in Williston. He died there on May 30, 2010, from complications of the disease; he was seventy-six years old. He was buried alongside one third of Ginsberg's ashes in Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. His epitaph reads: "Train will tug my grave, my breathe hueing gentil vapor between weel & track".
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