June 05, 2010
(Allen Ginsberg's Committee on Poetry, Inc. farm, Cherry Valley, New York Thanksgiving l969. From left, standing: Julius Orlovsky, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gordon Ball, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley. Front, seated: Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky. Image: Gordon Ball; Copyright Gordon Ball)
This past Sunday Peter Orlovsky, the longtime muse and companion to Allen Ginsberg and a poet in his own right, died in Williston, Vermont. He was seventy-six and lived in St. Johnsbury.
(Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, June l996. Image: Gordon Ball; Copyright Gordon Ball)
He met Ginsburg in 1954 when he was twenty-one and they remained together (though the relationship was not monogamous) for over forty years. Together they traveled for long stretches to Paris, North Africa, and India, where they discovered and absorbed Eastern religion and philosophy which would influence Ginsberg’s work and led Orlovsky to become a Buddhist, which he would remain the rest of his life.
"I love you," Ginsberg once wrote in a letter to Orlovsky, "nothing can change love, beautiful love, once we have it."
Quote found in The Letters of Allen Ginsberg, ed. Bill Morgan, Da Capo Press (2008)
UPDATE: Read Tricycle's interview with Allen Ginsberg here.