Carol Bergé

CAROL BERGÉ (1928 - 2006) received NEA, NYSCA and Pushcart awards. Active in the creative renaissance of the 1960s, Bergé performed with Paul Blackburn, Roberts Blossom, William S. Burroughs, Philip Corner, Gregory Corso, Fielding Dawson, Diane DiPrima, Allen Ginsberg, LeRoi Jones, Tuli Kupferberg, Denise Levertov, Jackson Mac Low, Taylor Mead, Rochelle Owens, Simon Perchik, Charles Plymell, Ishmael Reed, Jerome Rothenberg, Ed Sanders, Carolee Schneemann, Hubert Selby Jr., Diane Wakoski, et al. Always involved in explorations of new forms and innovative writing, Bergé moved from genre to genre and location to location. At age 14 she bought a Longwy bowl in an antiques shop for $10; that year, her first poem was published. Her poetry was widely published; she was part of the Fluxus multimedia actvities; she lists her early influences as Malinowski, Benedict, Mead, Kluckhohn, Freuchen, Twain, Dickens, Sheakespeare, the Brontes, DuMaurier, Poe (the stories), Conan Doyle, Saki, Chaucer and Browning. A second stay at the Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan got her in at Studio 54, ca. 1981. During the 1970s she taught writing and multimedia by invitation at 16 universities, keeping her antiques-laden farmhouse in Woodstock. From 1970-1984, she published & edited the literary magazine CENTER. Finally settling in Santa Fe, she started Blue Gate Art & Antiques, selling retro merch through the 1990s, gaining weight and giving up the party, only to lose the weight and crave a cigaret while tethered to an oxygen tank during her last few years. In 1960, she co-opened Five Cities Gallery in Manhattan’s East Village; next door was Tenth Street Coffeehouse, where the Light Years poets began their readings. Publishing credits include American Poetry Review, Exquisite Corpse, Gargoyle, The Nation, Triquarterly, Wood Coin, Yale Literary Review, and over 200 others. In 1970, in Woodstock, New York, she began a teaching career and rehabbed a farmhouse more than a century old. After a divorce, she won custody of her son in 1960 and traveled with Makoto Oda in Europe. In 1955 she married Jack; a son, Peter, was born in 1956. She enjoyed getting “swacked” on imported pot and tried all sorts of drugs but shied away from the hallucinogens trend. From middle-class bobby-soxer, to counterculture beatnik, to entrepreneurial antiquer... she took risks and lived by her own design. A stay at the Chelsea in 1969 put her in contact with Morrison and Joplin. Her body of work consists of 23 works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry; an Internet search should detail why she was known for her contribution to literature and the arts. These passions intertwined throughout her life… She attended New York University and Columbia, studying social sciences and fine arts for almost a decade, dismissing the option of a degree program.