Carl Weissner (1940-2012)
We hadn’t met in a number of years, though we would talk on the phone once or twice yearly, me calling from wherever I was, Carl always from Mannheim. I had hopes that this coming summer I may stop in Mannheim for a visit, as I will be driving through Germany, but too late now — the news just came that Carl called it splitsville. An excellent writer (with unhappily too few books to his name) & a superb translator, Carl started out as part of the cut-up internationale, translating William Burroughs, putting together his own cut-up novel, The Braille Film (for my money, the best cut-up work besides WSB), & collaborating with several others, primarily the German writers Jürgen Ploog & Jörg Fauser, but also Claude Pélieu, Jan Herman & myself, on cut-up texts & radio dramas. Carl was also the translator of the complete Bob Dylan oeuvre, of Zappa’s texts, of Nelson Algren, Allen Ginsberg & others. In the early seventies Carl came across Charles Bukowski’s work, became his German agent, translator, & confidant — in Germany it is often claimed that Buk’s world-wide fame was due to Weissner’s work, & that the Euro-fame he gained was re-imported into the US. In the tv interview below (unhappily only understandable to German-speakers) he tells the wild story of Buk’s funeral — worth hearing, as is the rest of the interview. In 2010 he published his first german-language novel, called Manhattan Muffdiver (Milena Verlag) though in recent times he had been at work on a story recounting the last delirious weeks of Arthur Rimbaud dying in Marseille. Hopefully he managed to finish this & we’ll get to read it. Travel well Carl.