Heavenly Breakfast by Samuel Delany
Trade Paperback – Bamberger Books – 1997 – 115 pages
Heavenly Breakfast is Samuel R. Delany’s wise and vivid essay on urban communes and cooperatives in the winter of ’67/’68. It examines their function, structure, permanence, and impermanence as precisely as a sociological study. Because its method is narrative and anecdotal, however, it reads like a passionate memoir – a marvelous document from an extraordinary time.
For six months during the fall and winter of ’67/’68, Delany lived with Heavenly Breakfast – the name both of a commune in New York’s Lower East Side and of the rock band residing there. Based on journals he kept at the time, these pages tell the story of the people who shared the kitchen, the bedroom and the music. They recount his encounters with other communes and experimental living arrangements – some gentle, some brutal; of encounters between those inside and outside the countercultural life; of idealism and hopes pushing against a resistant reality.