Rochelle Owens plunged into the beat poetry scene in 1956 as a 20-year-old reading in New York coffee houses with Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, and Amiri Baraka. But it wasn't easy.
Owens thrived writing experimental avant-garde poetry and became a founder of the Poetry Project in New York.
"I became very involved in the experimental theater and had various plays produced, which won awards," she said.
The Native New Yorker made Philadelphia her home in 2001 and recently did a reading from her latest book to a group at the Athenium, sponsored by Penns Village.
"I was very pleased with the response of the audience. It was very sophisticated, very learned, and very heartfelt," Owens said.
At age 81, she says writing daily and staying involved keeps her feeling young.
"Psychologically, I feel like I'm still twenty," stated Owen.
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