Milton Klonsky in Commentary Magazine (archive)

Here are some links to recall and further the introduction to Milton Klonsky.  Commentary has preserved his articles in their magazine, including (under Culture and Civilization) “The New Yorker 25th Anniversary Album“; that one is on cartoons and mass culture in the era before social media. The web post “The Bluegrass Special” goes into the haunting bio of Beverly Kenney, which begins:

This month marks 51 years since Beverly Kenney committed suicide at the age of 28, for reasons still in dispute. Hailed in the mid-‘50s as the latest and best in a line of towering female jazz singers, compared favorably to Billie, Ella, and Sarah, she had the looks, she had the style, she had the versatility, she had critical cred, she had the support of the day’s finest musicians, and she had the ‘it’ that is the stuff of legendary careers.

It has a lot to say about her onetime affair with Klonsky:

Beverly had a torrid affair with Beat generation guru-Greenwich Village intellectual/egomaniac Milton Klonsky. In his GQ article, Schwartz suggested Beverly’s downward spiral was triggered by her breakup with Klonsky, but Millie Perkins, in her interview with Bill Reed, disagreed, pointing out that Beverly’s death occurred two years after the Klonsky affair, that the affair with Lowenstein followed and it was, until the end, a happy time for Beverly, and that Beverly voiced no reservations when Perkins began dating Klonsky.

In fact, Millie Perkins is correct, as Klonsky himself told me. Their affair went downhill after she went on a music tour with a guy and had an affair with him. Two years later, when she committed suicide, Klonsky rushed to the scene (I suppose she phoned him) but got there too late. She was not the only one of his friends who committed suicide, because they were a strange, artistic bunch in the day. Klonsky called them sui generis, and onetime when he worried about something I said he, to a minor degree panicked, thinking I was being sui generis (his term), or an original, too.

Or for something more serious, “A Guide through the Garden,” a much-praised analysis of Andrew Marvell’s poem “The Garden” – first published in The Sewanee Review, now available online through The Johns Hopkins University Press.

 

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