Ruth Weiss

Ruth’s family escaped Austria under the Nazi regime and landed in New York in 1939, and later in Chicago. Upon her family’s return to Europe, Ruth underwent her own road experiences, and then returned to Chicago in 1948. Her road and Bohemian travels took her to Greenwich Village, New Orleans, and San Francisco. She was becoming part of the circle of artists who were into jazz and poetry. With jazz musicians, she opened The Cellar in North Beach. She was also a lover of haiku, and Jack Kerouac said to her “You write better haiku than I do.”

She also joined Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac in rides to watch the sunrise after all-night jams. ruth went on to marry twice and continue her jazz/poetry sessions, as well as publishing and putting out plays and films. Jack Hirschman, poet, said: “No American poet has remained so faithful to jazz in the construction of poetry as has Ruth Weiss. Her poems are scores to be sounded with all her riffy ellipses and open-formed phrasing swarming the senses. Verbal motion becoming harmonious with a universe of rhythm is what her work essentializes. Others read to jazz or write from jazz. Ruth Weiss writes jazz in words.”

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