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andy warhol

by Kirby Congdon…….

Having found my voice along with everyone else during the poetry movement after World II, I criticized a poem by Gerard Malenga that I had felt was too obsequious in its approval of success, wealth and connections. I assumed he and I would thereafter be enemies, but at the next coffee-house reading we attended he put his hand on my shoulder in a friendly gesture. My sense of superiority was of course destroyed. I learned then that fighting for the true, the good and the beautiful may be fine but it can be self-serving.

Gerard Malanga was, by chance, a close friend with a one-time colleague of my partner, Jay Socin, a few years earlier in advertising. This was Andy Warhol before he became famous. Jay told me, “Andy was just another nice Polish guy working in the same office.”

Both Jerry and Andy came to our apartment one afternoon because Andy wanted to learn how to use a hand-held movie camera with someone who could explain the details of it without taking up some salesman’s time. The four of us were together coping with the process of using a camera and that was it. Everyone went their own way and we lost contact with each other.

A few years later, when Warhol’s films were in the forefront of the avant-gard, Jay remarked to me with fake astonishment, “Wow, look Kirby at what we started! I wonder where did we go wrong!”

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