Great Demon Kings: A Memoir of Poetry, Sex, Art, Death, and Enlightenment

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Product Details

$28.00  $25.76
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.1 X 1.4 inches | 1.14 pounds

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About the Author

John Giorno (1936-2019) was a New York-based poet and performance artist and the founder of Giorno Poetry Systems. A longtime member of the Lower Manhattan art scene, Giorno was also an AIDS activist and Tibetan Buddhist whose work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, among other institutions.


The sexiest and most graphic history of a love life I've ever read. --Laurie Anderson, The New York Times

The creativity and debauchery of gay artists and writers blooms in this exuberant memoir of avant-garde New York from the 1950s through the 1990s . . . An engrossing, passionate ode to a revolution in art and sensuality. --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The ultimate scenester of midcentury Manhattan, lover to a who's who of gay artists and writers, tells all in a posthumous memoir . . . Upbeat, funny, unsparing, and way over the top . . . probably a lot like the man himself. --Kirkus Reviews

Great Demon Kings is unlike anything you have ever read or imagined. John Giorno built a life that was shocking, joyous, and raw. His lifelong search for inspiration and love created one of the greatest voices of poetry and beauty, forgiveness and truth. --Michael Stipe

If you want to know every scandalous detail about everyone who was anyone in the brilliant creative whirlwind that was 1960s and '70s downtown Manhattan (and believe me, you do) you must read this memoir." --Edmund White

Carrying on a wisdom tradition in American letters--striking, most recently, in the works of Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs--John Giorno is a cosmic treasure. His Great Demon Kings is valiant, hysterical, unpretentious, sexy, gossipy, wise, and true. --Brad Gooch

"John told jokes that he laughed at. His poetry had no rules but it respected the discipline that sound requires. I knew he practiced Nyingma meditation and loved lots of people, and he once told me he could fly across oceans and mountains without losing the mind he so cherished, the one without boundaries where wisdom and humor emerged as one. I wish he had been beside me on the airplane. --Fanny Howe