Beat Generation WriterLew Welch was born in Phoenix, Arizona, high-schooled in Palo Alto, California, and went to Reed College in Oregon. At Reed, Welch's roomates were Gary Snyder and Phillip Whalen. According to Aram Saroyan who wrote Genesis Angels: The Saga of Lew Welch and the Beat Generation, Welch decided to become a writer after reading Gertrude Stein's long story "Melanctha."
Like Neal Cassady's father, Lew's father, Speed Welch, is an absent dad without much authority. Like Jack Kerouac, Lew is closely attached to his mother Dorothy.
After college, Welch worked in the advertising industry. Saroyan claims it was Welch who came up with the advertising slogan "Raid Kills Bugs Dead" but others have questioned this claim. After quitting the straight world of advertising Welch got a job driving a taxi cab and plunged into the San Francisco arts vortex.
Welch met Kerouac in 1959 when both were staying at the East-West House in San Francisco. Lew drove Jack back to New York in the jeep Lew called "Willy." Like Jack, Lew also had a breakdown in Lawrence Ferlinghetti's legendary Bixby Canyon cabin at Big Sur. Jack wrote the novel Big Sur and Lew wrote the poem "I Saw Myself."
Through the 1960s, Welch's reputation grew in the San Francisco Bay area as he gave readings and taught a poetry class at San Francisco State Extension. A short relationship with the poet Lenore Kandel ended in 1961 and a longer one with Magda Cregg followed and ended in early 1971. In the Spring of 1971 Lew Welch, possessed by alcohol, moved to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, near land owned by his college roomate and fellow poet Gary Snyder.
And then one day, Lew Welch just disappeared.
Lew WelchPitching Record YEAR TEAM ERA W L IP ER BB K 1991 Beats 3.14 6 12 106 37 42 59 1992 Beats 3.93 8 7 87 38 40 59 1993 Beats 3.01 5 13 104 35 36 65 1994 Beats 3.13 8 8 97 34 45 62 1995 Beats 1.55 3 2 98 17 27 61 1996 Pisces 3.76 1 2 103 43 44 60 6 Seasons 3.09 31 44 595 204 234 366
Online Information About Lew Welch Documents at the University of California -San Diego Library Special Collections
I Saw MyselfI saw myself
a ring of bone
in the clear stream
of all of it
always to be open to it
that all of it
might flow through
and then heard
"ring of bone" where
ring is what a
1997 Dharma Beats Roster
1997 Lew Welch Cosmic Player Plate
Published: December 24, 1996
© 1996, 1997 by the Cosmic Baseball Association