I first remember meeting poet Danny Shot at the 1981 On The Road conference, sponsored by Naropa University and held at the University of Colorado at Boulder. A recent graduate of Rutgers University, he too was bitten by the Beat bug and we were both there to attend what turned out to be the last gathering of the major players of 50s bohemian culture. As a relatively sensible American, I had flown in on a cheap US Air flight in order in celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Kerouac’s classic road novel. Danny and his friends opted to take to drive from the East to the Rockies. The long trip was made even longer given the presence of jazzpoet deluxe Ray Bremser in their battered van; his seemingly nonstop beer drinking made for hourly pisstops along the no longer lonesome toll roads of America.
Danny and I eventually ended up as neighbors in Hoboken, living in the middle of the city along the same block.
A couple years back I was attending a reading at the Zinc bar in Greenwich Village. After the reading, I went up to one of young poets on the bill to introduce myself and tell her that I enjoyed her work. Jacqueline Waters, the poet in question, thanked me and then looked at me very intently, then inquired: “Joel Lewis. FROM NEW JERSEY?”