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Alan Marlowe (died about 1990)

Many references to Alan on cuke.com. To find them just write "alan marlowe" in the site search box on the Home or What's New page.


Three memories of Shunryu Suzuki by Alan Marlowe


Alan Marlowe's great moment - a Tassajara Story


Film and stills of Alan at page for Zen in America from Sunseed and he's also in the Sandokai film at the end, again with stills.


Alan has a big role in A Heart Blown Open about Dennis Kelly


A lot about Alan in this exchange with his sister-in-law, Jeri Marlowe. At the bottom I quote Alan's dying words as he was held by Kobun Chino: "The Udambara Taxi has arrived."

Carol Gallop comments on Kobun being with Alan at Alan's death:

DURING RMDC (now Shambhala Mountain Center) staff member Alan Marlowe's final days of life, Dan [Hessey] recalls, Kobun came to help, staying in the background but connecting with people's hearts, supporting everyone, even making pickles for the group. "Then I told Kobun, 'Alan's dying now,' and his state of being changed in a way I'd never seen before. He was directive, told everyone where to sit, his quality was like Trungpa Rinpoche's-completely regal, powerful, no hesitation. He went in with Alan for ten minutes, and when he returned he was back to his old soft, secret self." - from Carol Gallop on Kobun Chino


Alan Marlowe is 6'4" and he often used to work moving rocks with Suzuki Roshi. There was one large rock that Alan couldn't move. Alan and Suzuki Roshi tried to move the rock together and they couldn't. Alan said that what they needed was a block and tackle and more people. Suzuki Roshi told Alan to go away. "I want to work alone." So Alan went to take a bath and when he returned the rock was moved and Alan found Suzuki Roshi asleep in his cabin. He also found vomit all over the floor. Suzuki Roshi slept for three days. - from a letter DC sent to SFZC in 1973 for collection of memories of Shunryu Suzuki


9-03-14 - From Jeri Marlowe

Last week I was reorganizing my books in my SF office and a copy of Wind Bell (volume XI, 1972)  along with a letter from Alan appeared.  He spoke of his sadness about the loss of Suzuki Roshi and other family matters.  The letter is a treasure, as was reading this volume of Wind Bell. I would love to read more. There must a Library of these at City Center. [Informed Jeri they're all on cuke.com]  Also, reading Alan's letter reminded me of how grateful I am to him for his part in leading me to my practice. Alan sent the letter WITH the wind bell enclosed, which is why I think it was related it to Roshi's dying. So probably dating it to the pub date of wind bell would be the most accurate. In the scan I made of the letter, the signature was cut off, it read "Love, Brother Alan"

If someone would be so kind as to transcribe this letter, please send to dchad at cuke dot com. - Thanks. dc


from Warhol Stars dot org

The New York Poets Theatre (not to be confused with the Judson Poets Theatre) was founded in the spring of 1961. One of the founders, the poet Diane di Prima, later recalled that she and the other founding members of the company went to a notary's office in the spring to "complete the first steps in the process of founding the New York Poets Theatre." Di Prima had previously worked at The Living Theatre. She recalled that "the summer [c. 1960] was very full: I worked at the Living Theatre for Jimmy Waring and had my first staged reading of a play there: Murder Cake which I wrote one afternoon, part random exercise, part free association." (DP239)

Although many of the written accounts of the group indicate that the dancer and Warhol star Freddy Herko was a founding member of the New York Poets Theatre, di Prima indicates otherwise in her comments.

Diane di Prima:

"So it was that on a bright and gusty spring day, I walked with James Waring, John Herbert McDowell, LeRoi Jones, and Alan Marlowe to a notary's office, to complete the first steps in the process of founding the New York Poets Theatre. We were, the five of us, the founding members, and looking back I find it significant that Freddie [Herko] wasn't there... Plan was, we were going to make a theatre happen. One in which John's music, Jimmy's choreography and plays, Freddie's dances, my own and LeRoi's plays, all would have a place. A theatre where Alan would direct and manage the fund-raising (he had been a gay hustler in Europe, and demimonde/society personality in New York, and seemed to know some of the ropes.)

... Freddie's not being there, though, was telling. I think that for Alan, who carried the same blind prejudices as most 'straight' men, Freddie, by the mere fact of being his lover, was more or less negligible... What seemed a slight omission then (Alan suggested that five board members was good, because it was an uneven number, and wouldn't lead to a 'tie' vote) becomes enormous from my present perspective. Freddie would continue to have no real place inside the Poets Theatre. Though he worked with us continuously until his death in 1964." (DP255-6)

Alan Marlowe, whom di Prima describes as having been "a gay hustler in Europe" was actually married to di Prima from 1962 to 1969 (DQ) Warhol filmed di Prima and Marlowe in early 1964. Marlowe had also been the lover of Freddy Herko.

New York Poets Theatre

From October 1961 to February 1962, di Prima's New York Poets Theatre group presented plays at the Off Bowery Theatre (sometimes referred to as the Off Bowery "Gallery") at 84 E. 10th Street while, at the same time, exhibiting work by Ray Johnson and Jack Smith. (JD31) Two triple bills were presented at the Off Bowery, including, on the inaugural bill, LeRoi Jones'The Eighth Ditch which was taken from a larger work by Jones titled The System of Dante's Hell. The second bill of plays included work by James Waring, John Wieners and Robert Duncan. (SB63)

In March 1962 di Prima's group organized a "Poets Festival" at the Maidman Playhouse on 42nd Street, which included music by La Monte Young, Philip Corner, Richard Maxfield and Joseph Byrd; films by Stan Vanderbeek and Nicola Cernovich; Happenings by Allan Kaprow, Robert Whitman, George Brecht and Ray Johnson; and dance concerts which Freddy Herko participated in - but no plays. (JD31)

Several years later, in early 1964, the Poets Theatre re-grouped at a venue they called the New Bowery Theatre at 4 St. Mark's Place, and performed under the name of American Theatre for Poets (although di Prima refers to the group as the "American Arts Project" in her autobiography). (SB62/DP381) Freddy Herko was listed as one of the board of directors of that group in their prospectus which lists the directors as Alan Marlowe, Diane di Prima, James Waring, Fred Herko, LeRoi Jones, and Nicola Cernovich. (JD220n132) Three of the directors, Alan Marlowe, Diane di Prima and Freddy Herko, were also filmed by Warhol the same year - Alan Marlowe/Diane di Prima in about January 1964 and Freddy Herko for a Screen Testprior to his death in October 1964. (AD)

Andy Warhol films Alan Marlowe and Diane di Prima

It is not known when Warhol met di Prima but he certainly knew her prior to the screening. Earlier in the year he had filmed her with Alan Marlowe, as mentioned above. The footage is described in Andy Warhol, Poetry, and Gossip in the 1960sbook by Reva Wolf. According to Wolf "Warhol filmed the short episode-like movie of di Prima and Marlowe... soon after 29 January 1964 when di Prima sent a letter to the artist that alluded to his interest in making a film of the couple: 'come see us & shoot a Day in Our House like you said & show the Alan & me pornography -.'"

Reva Wolf [from Andy Warhol, Poetry, and Gossip in the 1960sbook]:

"Warhol ended up filming di Prima and Marlowe for around three minutes, the duration of a 100-foot reel of film, rather than for the originally planned length of one day. Di Prima recalled, 'He came and shot a movie. It was a very short movie. A three or five minute movie of me and Alan. Alan is in bed, and he's covered by a tiger skin, which he's stroking the tail of in a very obviously suggestive manner. I get on the bed in a black leotard and tights and kind of trample him. It was a tiny room.'" (RW44)

Callie Angell refers to the footage in the first volume of the Andy Warhol film catalogue raisonné, noting that "As further information became available, it became apparent that Alan Marlowe/Diane di Prima (MoMA Screen Test Reel 13, no. 8) was not a Screen Test but a separate short film from 1964." (AD292)


At other times, she draws a curtain across the rooms of her private life. Sometimes she isn't sure what did happen to her or why. "I didn't know the real reasons for what I was doing. Don't know some of them to this day," she writes in a chapter about her unconventional marriage to Alan Marlowe, a man she didn't love--a man who threw away her letters and journals soon after they met. One might wonder why a poet would marry a man who literally discards her work, but di Prima doesn't say. - from this article on Diane Di Prima by Jonah Raskin

Diane Di Prima cuke page


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