“Total Assault on Culture.” That was the term William S. Burroughs used to describe what Ed Sanders was doing in the Lower East Side of the early 1960s. In his new autobiography, “Fug You,” the 72-year-old Sanders lays out the chronology of his assault.
The book opens in 1961 with Sanders penning his first major work, “Poem from Jail,” which he wrote after being arrested for protesting a nuclear submarine. From there, Sanders traces his friendship with poets Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, as well as anyone who was anyone in the weird old Lower East Side.
In the sprawling memoir, Sanders goes on to discuss his interest in Egyptology and mysticism; the co-founding of the Fugs — considered by many critics to be the progenitors of punk rock — with Tuli Kupferberg (the guy who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge in “Howl”); what it was like to open the infamous Peace Eye Bookstore; the launch of the even more infamous “F**k You/ A Magazine of the Arts”; and his attempt to levitate the Pentagon Building with Yippie radical Abbie Hoffman.
In addition to Sanders’ enlightening personal take on New York in the ’60s, the pages of “Fug You” are lined with wonderful gems from the poet’s personal archive. Between the covers the reader will discover doodles by the likes of Burroughs and Sanders himself, rare Fugs concert photos and flyers, many drawings of cannabis leaves, intimate shots of Allen Ginsberg and other demented, wonderful esoterica.
Click the images below for a peek between the book’s covers:
All images courtesy of Da Capo Press.