East Hill Farm: Seasons with Allen Ginsberg
by Gordon Ball
Counterpoint Press. 416 pages, $28.50
GORDON BALL’S memoir is a beautiful, poignantly sad time capsule by a participant in Allen Ginsberg’s East Hill Farm in upstate New York. There, in the late 1960’s, a dilapidated farmhouse was bought by Ginsberg’s nonprofit organization, Committee on Poetry, Inc., and served as home to Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Denise Feliu, Julius Orlovsky, Bonnie Bremser (née Brenda Frazer), Ray Bremser, Gregory Corso, Herbert Huncke, Barbara Rubin, and the author of this book, who served as farm manager for the group. Written in Ball’s cool, clear prose, East Hill Farm is a nuanced portrait of a very specific historical moment that encompasses the death of Jack Kerouac and the end of the hippie era. Ball’s focus is on the everyday moments of life at the Farm, and these are captured gracefully.