Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I never thought of this when Harris Gardner and I started the Bagel Bards at Finagle- A- Bagel in Harvard Square in 2004. But I happened to be teaching a Creative Writing class at Endicott College and we were studying the poetry of San Francisco poet A.D. Winans. In an interview I conducted with him (that I used for a class discussion) he mentioned a hangout of his: the Co-Existence Bagel Shop. Bagels, Bards and poetry do have an illustrious history. The Co-Existence Bagel Shop in the 1950's and 60's North Beach section of San Francisco was a big hangout for the likes of Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Kaufman, Spicer, Winans, and countless other Beat poets, and poets of other schools. So the Bagel Bards, a group of poets and writers that now meets in the Au Bon Pain in Davis Square, Somerville, Mass (Finagle-A Bagel closed years ago)is a sort of a small coda to this...
Here is a description from a Beat travel guide I found:
"Continue along to 1398 Grant Avenue which is Stop 10. This is the former site of the Co-Existence Bagel shop where a delicatessen "collided" with a beer-joint-hangout and news center. It was immortalized by Bob Kaufman in Bagel Shop Jazz who describing its regulars as "shadow people, blueberry-eyed girls in black stockings, smelling vaguely of mint jelly, turtle neck angel guys, coffee-faced ivy Leaguers..."