Drunken Angel::Author & Poet Alan Kaufman in conversation with Joanne Greene

Tue, October 15, 2013 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Kaufman shares his harrowing life journey from the streets of NY and SF to the battlefields of Israel—through alcoholism and recovery. FREE.

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Son of a French Holocaust survivor, Alan Kaufman drank to fill the huge hole in his heart, wrecking himself and everyone in his path. Drunken Angel is one of the first memoirs by a Second Generation Holocaust writer to address how alcoholism, his Jewish lineage and the Holocaust intersect, raising haunting new questions about how deeply both the Holocaust and addiction lie at the very nexus of our contemporary world.

Drunken Angel is the story of how he climbed up from the abyss of a pickled life to become a celebrated writer, editor, organizer and father to the daughter he’d abandoned for 20 years. His descent takes the reader from the street gangs of the Bronx to the intellectual centers of Manhattan; from the battlefields of Gaza and the West Bank, where he served in the Israeli army, to the punk rock nights of the East Village, the poetry stages of Europe and San Francisco, as he was a force in the nascent spoken word poetry movement.


clientuploads/directory/CJP/2013-14 Season/Alan-Kaufman-b&w-100.jpgThe Bay Area has long played host to countercultural Jewish firebrands and prophetic voices: Allen Ginsberg, Lenny Bruce, Jack Hirschman, Kathy Acker, and Michael Lerner, just to name a few. Author, activist, poet Alan Kaufman has known them all and since the 1990s he has worn the time-honored mantle of a consummate Jewish outlaw.

Author and editor of such critically acclaimed books as Jew Boy, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, and Matches; publisher of the zeitgeist-changing iconoclastic Jewish underground mag Davka: Jewish Cultural Revolution; founder and acting dean of The Free University of San Francisco, Kaufman’s books and activism have earned the praise of everyone from David Mamet and Dave Eggars to The New York Times and The San Francisco Chronicle, Publisher’s Weekly and The Los Angeles Times. His literary works are considered classics of their kind. He’s been compared to Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, Hubert Selby Jr.—his life reads so much like a great movie that his first memoir, Jew Boy, has just optioned for a feature film.



"Anyone looking for an extraordinarily well-written tale of personal redemption, of overcoming addiction and finding a joyous and rewarding life on the other side, get a copy of ‘Drunken Angel’ and read it, cover to cover. You'll be glad you did." —Addiction Treatment

"[Kaufman's] work reminds me of Harry Crews, who famously presented on the page the poverty stricken deep South of his own childhood. What Crews did for depression-era Georgia sharecroppers, Kaufman does for people recovering in 12-step programs. Drunken Angel tells in pitch-perfect language and tone what recovery from alcoholism by going to 12-step meetings is like ... Kaufman has a great capacity to surprise and delight ...a testament to the human spirit and will to survive." —Internet Review of Books

"Kaufman -- who also wrote the books "Matches" and "Jewboy" -- describes wild and dangerous binge drinking as powerfully as masters of the genre, like Charles Bukowski and Frederick Exley." —The Jewish Daily Foreword Reviews

"Alan Kaufman’s story is riveting: raw in its passion and lacerating in its testimony." —Oscar Villalon, former book editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and board member of the National Book Critics Circle

"[An] addictive memoir of self-destruction, recuperation and a literary coming-of-age." —Kirkus Reviews

"In more than two hundred pages of blistering hangovers, park bench nights, and fistfights, Kaufman becomes a celebrated writer and avant garde arts advocate... A clearly articulated roadmap to freedom for the addict, 'Drunken Angel' is an easy and exciting memoir. This outlaw hero is someone to cheer for..." —Foreword Reviews

"With an outsized heart to go with its outsized thirst, Drunken Angel tells the sort of truths that feel like myths and the sort of myths that feel like truth." —Daniel Handler, author of Adverbs

"A great, amazing and honest book. An interesting life, a shameless sincerity, and the talent to tell a story are the essential ingredients needed to create a captivating memoir and Alan Kaufman's Drunken Angel has tons of all three." —Etgar Keret, author of The Girl on the Fridge

"As engrossing, moving and honest a literary memoir as one will ever read, Drunken Angel is that rare combination of aching beauty and haunting truth, all made vivid and alive with a poetry that is both turbulent and profoundly wise. Alan Kaufman takes his readers on a Jewish Huck Finn journey of addiction, regret and rage. With his immense literary gifts as a storyteller, he turns the jagged, jaded tale of his life into a true work of art, and along way finds the reconciliation and peace that made this memoir possible, and for that, we should all be grateful." —Thane Rosenbaum, author of The Golems of Gotham, Second Hand Smoke and Elijah Visible