Jack Micheline | Photo courtesy of Rosemarie Hausherrwas born in the East Bronx, New York on November 6, 1929, as Harold Martin Silver. Because he was so small after birth, his name was changed to Harvey (to fool the angel of death). Harvey Martin Silver was of Russian-Romanian ancestry. After quarreling with his father, he changed his first name to “Jack” in honor of the socialist writer Jack London, and created “Micheline” by exptrapolating from the maiden name of his mother, Helen Mitchell (a.k.a. Yetta Klang).
Informally educated, he identified closely with the traditions of American vagabond poets like Vachel Lindsay and Maxwell Bodenheim, and he moved to Greenwich Village in the 1950’s to find an outlet for his poetry.
In 1957, Troubadour Press, which published a jazz and poetry magazine called Climax, agreed to bring out a book if Micheline would stagger the lines of each poem to make his verse look more unconventional, and if he would get a “famous person” to write the introduction.
Jack Kerouac was sharing an apartment in the building where Micheline was living. Kerouac liked Micheline’s work and did him the favor, referring to him as the “Doctor Johnson Zen Master Magee of Innisfree”, punning on the title of Yeats’ famous poem and “in us free”, meaning that Micheline was free inside himself. The book, River of Red Wine, was reviewed by Dorothy Parker in Esquire magazine (September, 1958, p. 12).
Proclaiming himself unaffiliated with any group, including the Beats – who he characterized as a product of the media’s hustle – Micheline appeared frequently with Beat writers at poetry readings. His work is meant to be read aloud, in the tradition of Beat poetry.
Micheline began painting in earnest, working primarily with gouache in a self-taught, primitive style, during a trip to Mexico City financed by Franz KIine in 1960.
Micheline’s most recent publication was Sixty-seven Poems for Downtrodden Saints, published by Matt Gonzales in 1997 (FMSBW Press), and republished as a second edition in 1999 with many additional poems, photos and images that did not appear in the first edition.
Micheline was married twice. His brother, Ed Silver (Puerto Rico), son, Vince Silvaer, daughter-in-law, Sheri (Lauver) Silvaer, granddaughter, Nicole Solai Silvaer, and grandson, Dustin Andrew Silvaer (Tucson, AZ), survive him.