George Teseleanu’s review of San Francisco Beatnik poet Mark Schwartz

This month’s assignment was to write a review about Mark Schwartz’s poetry. Although the information about him is scarce on the internet, I managed to find a few poems and some word about him. About the author I managed to find out that he was born in the Bronx and that he graduated from Cornell University. He started to be a regular at open poetry readings from ’81 forward and his style is influenced by the 1950’s Beatnik movement.
The poems that I found are a mix of a weird, funny sense of seeing the world and an acute social sense. He places sensitive matters in an amusing setting and so the reader isn’t upset when he reads the poems, but it’s pleasantly amused. The author likes to juggle with words, and to use them in unlikely scenarios, for example “will you wear my eyes” or “chewing a cop’s ear”, but this helps him to create a surreal world where he can easily hide sensitive problems.  His writing style is a relaxed one, since he uses a playful and informal tone.
Also, he is not afraid to use slang words in his poems, for example “doobie” or “stash”.
For the last part, I would like to share with you, one of my favorite poem by Mark Schwartz from the few that ones I found:
One thing that is good about the war
is that it took one’s mind off the earthquake
which took one’s mind off the drought
which took one’s mind off the homeless
which took one’s mind off of sex 
which took one’s mind off.
Mark Schwartz is a Beatnik performance poet in San Francisco, California. George Teseleanu, the reviewer, may be reached at

2 thoughts on “George Teseleanu’s review of San Francisco Beatnik poet Mark Schwartz

  1. Pingback: Synchronized Chaos » Blog Archive » June’s Synchronized Chaos issue: Coping and Catharsis

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