SOME AMERICAN TALES / Brenda Frazer
This collecion of writing by Brenda Frazer appreciate her contribution to the beat generation and beyond. They bring together her experiences of the post-beat era, returning to New York after a difficult period living in Mexico with her then husband, poet Ray Bremser. Included are previously unpublished writings from 1970 in Guatemala, and from 1970-1 in the Cherry Valley community with Ray and her children.
This collection has been carefully curated to respect the strength of Brenda Frazer, as a writer and a female.
35 pages printed on recycled paper
13 cm x 21 cm x 3mm
Includes 2 colour plates
Designed and hand bound at the press
Inside artwork by Beth Wilkinson © all rights reserved 2020
Front cover and inside photograph by Gordon Ball of Brenda Frazer at the Committee on Poetry at Allen Ginsberg’s farm in 1971 © all rights reserved
Handmade limited edition run of 100 only.
Each publication will be numbered.
Background of the writer
I wanted to give a little background into Brenda Frazer’s life mainly because it is so involved with her writing journey. I will be brief here because I have also provided a list of critics and writers who have provided such detailed contexts around Brenda Frazer’s life. I recommend taking the time to delve into these articles and books because there is so much to discuss. Brenda Frazer was born in Washington D.C. in 1939, after studying at Sweet Briar College. SHe dropped out after three semesters and her English professor said she could be writer. She believed himw. Brenda met the poet Ray Bremser in 1959 in DC at the Oddfellows Halls and married him three weeks later. Ray had served seven years in Bordontown Reformatory for an attempted armed robbery when he was seventeen. Brenda met him the year he got out of jail. During his time at Bordentown, he started writing and corresponding with Allen Ginsberg and others who aided him in being paroled in 1959. They moved to New Jersey when Brenda became pregnant and Ray was sent back to jail for six months after they were married for parole violation for being out of state (he had also admitted on the radio using Marijuana). When Ray got out of jail in 1960, they lived in Hoboken, and. their child Rachel was born. Ray was arrested for an armed robbery five miles away because a policeman suggested it sounded like Ray. He was identified and and due to go to trial when they decided to flee to Mexico. Ray was sure he would have been convicted regardless of the truth. Their daughter is given up for adoption. And Brenda turned to prostitution to survive. When they returned from Mexico in 1961, Ray was still wanted in New Jersey but eventually apprehended on a drug charge. He turned himself in to Jersey City and was convicted and sentenced to five years in Rahway prison. The court mechanisms were very slow and didn’t count towards his time. When he got out in 1965, they lived in Hoboken whilst Ray served his parole. In 1967. Georgia, their second child is born. This collection of writing begins in 1969 in New York City, when they decide to go to South America, but money only lasted them to Guatemala where Ray resumed a devastating drug habit on pharmacy pills. Brenda worked as an exotic dancer whilst caring for Georgia in Guatemala. Ray returns back to the U.S. to live on Allen Ginsberg’s farm, where shortly after Brenda and Georgia join him in Cherry Valley, with a community of writers, artists and film-makers.
Published critical writings about or mentioning Brenda Frazer:
Heike Mlakar, Merely Being There Is Not Enough: Women's Roles in Autobiographical Texts by Female Beat Writers (Universal-Publishers, 2008): 125
William Lawlor, Beat Culture: Lifestyles, Icons, and Impact (ABC-CLIO, 2005): 23
Kurt Hemmer, Encyclopaedia of Beat Literature (Infobase Publishing, 12 May 2010): 319
Gordon Slethaug, Stacilee Ford, Hit the Road, Jack: Essays on the Culture of the American Road (McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 2012): 112
Ann Charters, The Portable Beat Reader (Viking, 1992)
Nancy Tracy M., and Donna C. Johnson, “Artista: Brenda (Bonnie) Frazer.” in Breaking the Rule of Cool: Interviewing and Reading Women Beat Writers, edited by Nancy M. Grace and Ronna C.Johnson (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2004) 109-130
Brenda Knight, “Brenda Frazer: Transformed Genius.” In Women of the Beat Generation: The Writers, Artists, and Muses at the Heart of a Revolution (Berkeley, CA: Conari Press, 1996): 268-278
Michael Perkins, “Bonnie Bremser” In The Beats: Literary Bohemians in Postwar America, edited by Ann Charters (Detroit: MI: Gale, 1983)
Published writings by Brenda Frazer (also under the name of Bonnie Bremser:
“Banjo poem/scat on suspenders” in Yowl 4 (September 2, 1963)
“Breaking out of D.C.” in Richard Peabody’s A Different Beat: Women of the Beat Generation (Serpent's Tail, 1997): 60
“Dreams” in The Coldspring Journal 1 (September, 1974): 11-15
For Love of Ray (Universal-Tandem Publishing co. 1971)
“Fowl-play” in Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts 5:1 (December, 1962)
From Troia, or Memoirs of a Curious Cortesan in Down Here 1:2 (1967) 1-17
“Individual Taste” in Intrepid 25/35 (1976): 15-16
“Lines from Ray Charles” in The Wormwood Review 34 (1969)
“Look-out Over Hoot-Owl Ridge” in Intrepid, 25/35 (1976)
“Monkus” in The Wormwood Review 34 (1969)
“Mother Should Be Ashamed II” in Intrepid 25/35 (1976)
“Mush Room Jazz — Huautla de Jimenez, Oaxaca, Mexico” in Intrepid 4 (December, 1964)”: 7
“Planting” in Intrepid 25/35 (1976): 13-14
“Poem to Lee Forest/A Commemorative/or Recourse to Elemental Beauty” in Blue Beat 1 (March, 1964): 32-33
“Today I’ll Write A Poem About Violence” in Intrepid 25/35 (1976): 14-15
Troia (Dalkey Archive Press, 2007)