Bolinas is known for it's unmatched natural beauty, peace, tranquility and proximity to the cultural oasis of
San Francisco. A rare combination that has attracted artist's, writers, designers and bohemians. Today
creative and artistic residents give Bolinas it's unique character, but this reputation is built on many
extraordinary individuals who "discovered" Bolinas in years past, laying the groundwork for a special place
sought out by visionaries.
A number of renowned writers and poets have made this beautiful craftsman house, their home. Both
Philip Whalen and Don Allen gained inspiration during their time living in Bolinas and residing at
“When I got back from India, and got to the West Coast, there was a poet Charlie Plymell at
a party in Bolinas, played me a record of this new young folk singer Bob Dylan. And I heard
“Hard Rain,” I think. And wept. ...‘Cause it seemed that the torch had been passed…”
| Philip Whalen
Whalen is generally considered one of the pioneering forces behind the San
Francisco Poetry Renaissance of the mid-1950s. The author's work differs
from much Beat writing in its reverential treatment of the mundane, its
self-deprecating humor, and its generally apolitical tone.
The Six Gallery reading was a poetry-reading ( or "-jamming"), which
occurred at the Six Gallery of San Francisco on October 7, 1955. It was
the first important public manifestation of the Beat Generation and helped to
herald the West Coast literary revolution that became known as the San
The Six Gallery reading was a seminal early gathering of such now-famous
writers as Allen Ginsberg, Philip Lamantia, Michael McClure, Gary Snyder,
and Philip Whalen. Lamantia read poems by his dead friend John Hoffman.
McClure read "Point Lobos Animism" and "For the Death of 100 Whales".
Snyder read "A Berry Feast". Whalen read "Plus Ca Change". Most
famously, it was at this reading that Ginsberg first presented his famous
poem "Howl". The large and exuberant audience included a totally drunken
Jack Kerouac, who refused to read his own work but cheered the other
poets on, shouting "Yeah! Go! Go!" during their performances. Still,
Kerouac was able to recall much of what occurred at the reading, and
wrote an account that he included in his novel The Dharma Bums.
"Whalen's singular style and personality contribute to his
character in verse as a bawdy, honest, moody, complicated
songster of the frenzied mid-century, an original
troubadour and thinker who refused to take himself too
seriously during the great revival of visionary lyric in
| Don Allen
Influential editor, publisher, and translator of contemporary American
literature. He is perhaps best known for his project The New American
Poetry 1945-1960 (1960), among the several important anthologies of
contemporary American innovative writing he made available to the public.
Allen's impact as an editor, publisher, and friend to poets continued to be
felt well into the 21st century. Along with editing work by Lew Welch, Allen
edited Frank O'Hara, including the seminal Collected Poems (1971; 1991)
and a Selected Poems(1974). He served as the CEO of Grey Fox Press,
publishing important work by Jack Spicer along with such volumes as
Enough Said (1980) by Philip Whalen and I Remain (1980).
|Philip Whalen on the special place that is Bolinas, and the "privacy and elegance" of Oceansong
"I moved from Kyoto to Bolinas in one fell swoop. Joe Brainard lived there which was interesting, He was doing a huge quality
of work, and everybody else was in Bolinas and writing everything. Lewis MacAdams and Tom Clark, and Joanne was there,
and god knows who all; it's a huge crowd of old time poets and things. And it was very comfortable and pleasant; then at some
point Donald Allen told me that he had this space in his house that was too much, and would I be interested in renting it. And
I said, "yeah," 'cause it was a much more private and elegant arrangement. I moved up on the mesa where this house was,
(Oceansong) and then on New Year's Day of 1972, Richard Baker came out; he and his wife Virginia were visiting Mike
Dickson, who lived right near to Don and other folks, to say Happy New Year, and he asked me, "What are you doing?" And
I said, "Well I'm thinking about moving to the city for more peace and quiet because up here there's a party about once every
five minutes. People get mad if you don't come, and people get mad if you do go"
| Jack Kerouac
The original manuscript for "Heaven and Other Poems" was uncovered hidden inside
Oceansong by some local Bolinas friends of Don Allen, years after Kerouac's passing.
Donald Allen, the late great editor of the Evergreen Review at Grove Press and editor of the
seminal anthology, The New American Poetry, first met Jack Kerouac in 1956 when he and
Allen Ginsberg came to visit at his West Village apartment. At the time, Allen was working on
the "San Francisco Scene" issue of the Evergreen Review, and Ginsberg and Kerouac brought
him manuscripts and news of developments on the West Coast.
Kerouac would send Allen poems for various projects, along with letters in which he discussed
his poetry, his life, and the work of his young contemporaries. The unpublished poems are
collected here, as are the letters, a comic strip drawn for the Cassady children, and Kerouac's
self-penned poetic bibliography.