It is hard to believe that Herbert Gold is 91 years old. The street that he lives on is an alp. The stairs that one must trod to his flat are narrow and steep. But when you arrive, (slightly out of breath) you find a handsome man with a twinkle in his eye and a tale on his lips.
For nearly seventy years, Herbert Gold has spun his stories in novels, essays, magazines, and in the coffee shops and bistros of his adopted hometown and the original birthplace of the American Bohemians, San Francisco.
As he tells us here, Gold got an early start as a writer, on a masterpiece about earthworms he wrote in 5th grade. Years later, at the advanced age of 17, his poetry was published in several New York literary magazines, followed ten years later with his first novel. He has since written over 30 books.
Between high school and college, Gold hitchhiked across America. In this interview with us he tells about being “picked up” by Anais Nin, and his budding relationships and lifelong friendships with the revolutionary Beat movement and its noted pioneers like Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Neil Cassady, Ken Kesey, Larry McMurtry and others – most of whom he went to Columbia University with. He also educates us about the derivation of the word “Beatnik.”
Gold also shares tales of his efforts to support his growing family with his successful writing for Playboy magazine, and his friendship with Hef. In fact, in this interview Gold relishes in telling about one of his recent encounters with the legendary publisher that will ensure a laugh from you, the listener.
We’re honored this prolific writer took the time to meet and talk with us, and pleased we can share his stories with you.
Birth of a Hero - 1951
The Prospect Before Us - 1954
The Man Who Was Not With It - 1956
The Optimist - 1959
Therefore Be Bold - 1960
Love and Like (short stories) - 1960
The Age of Happy Problems (essays) - 1962
Salt - 1963
Fathers: A Novel in the Form of a Memoir - 1966
The Great American Jackpot - 1969
The Magic Will: Stories and Essays of a Decade - 1971
My Last Two Thousand Years (autobiography) - 1972
The Young Prince and the Magic Cone - 1973
Swiftie the Magician - 1974
Waiting for Cordelia - 1977
Slave Trade - 1979
He/She - 1980
A Walk on the West Side: California on the Brink (short stories) - 1981
True Love - 1982
Family - 1983
Mister White Eyes - 1984
Stories of Misbegotten Love (w/Don Asher) - 1985
A Girl of Forty - 1986
Lovers and Cohorts - 1986
Dreaming - 1988
Travels in San Francisco - 1990
Bohemia - 1994
She Took My Arm as if She Loved Me - 1997
Daughter Mine - 2000
Haiti: Best Nightmare on Earth - 2001
Still Alive! A Temporary Condition (memoir) - 2008
His work has appeared in Playboy, Harpers Bazaar, the New Yorker, the Hudson Review, the Columbia Review, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other magazines and newspapers.
Awards & Honors:
Fulbright Scholar at the Sorbonne, Paris - 1950
Inter-American Cultural Grant (Haiti) -1950
Hudson River Review Fellowship– 1956
Guggenheim Fellowship - 1957
Ohioana Book Award (The Man Who Was Not With It) - 1957
National Institute of Arts & Letters grant in literature - 1958
American Academy Grant - 1958
Longview Foundation Award - 1959
Ford Fellowship theater fellowship - 1960
California Literature Medal Award (Fathers)- 1968
Commonwealth Club Award for Best Novel (Family) - 1982
Cleveland Arts Prize for Literature - 1987
L.D.H.: Baruch College, College, City University, New York - 1988
Sherwood Anderson Prize - 1989
San Francisco, CA
Fiction, Essays, Journalism, Memoir, Poetry
Tarzan, Little Women, Black Beauty, Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy. . . and Ms. Collins – his teacher at Taft Elementary School in Lakewood Ohio.
Friends and fellow writers: the poets Daniel Hoffman and Allen Ginsberg, screenwriter and novelist Don Mankowitz, novelists Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, and Larry McMurtry.
|He writes in the morning when he can be alone. He writes in cafés on yellow legal pads or on a typewriter in his office. He follows fellow writer Kenneth Roberts' dictum that 'lunch is the enemy of the writer' and seldom 'does lunch.'