Seymour Krim was born in 1922 and moved into Greenwich Village in 1943 to hang around the New York Intellectuals and wait for the arrival of the Beats. Krim knew he was a writer, but he complained later that the book reviews he wrote for the Times and the criticism he published in literary quarterlies “made a cramped miniature” of his spirit. Then in 1957 On the Road appeared with its commitment to what Krim called a “decent equivalent between verbal expression and actual experience.” That changed everything.
Immediately Krim began writing his innovative journalistic essays — early example of New Journalism — for the Village Voice, and he followed that by editing The Beats in 1960 and appearing in The Beat Scene that same year. In 1961 his collected pieces appeared in Views of a Nearsighted Cannoneer, which boasted a foreword by Norman Mailer who wrote that “in the work of Seymour Krim lives one of the truest beats of how horrible, how jarring, how livid and how exciting was this city.” James Baldwin’s Voice review called Cannoneer an “extraordinary volume.”
Krim remained an essayist, New Journalist, and recorder of the scene as filtered through his intelligent slanted vision. He published two more collections of his work — Shake It For The World, Smartass in 1970 and You & Me in 1974 — taught writing at Columbia University and at Iowa, won a Guggenheim and a Fulbright, and lived in the Village until his death in 1989.
Missing a Beat: The Rants and Regrets of Seymour Krim is a new collection of Krim’s work.
— Mark Cohen