EXPIRED: 10/18/09 – Lenore Kandel, 77, was one of the last of the Beats. She was a striking figure in early 60’s San Francisco, was the girlfriend of poet Lew Welch and counted the movement’s seminal figures, including Gary Snyder, Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg, as close friends.
Jack Kerouac immortalized Kandel in his 1962 novel “Big Sur,” cloaking her as the character Romana Swartz, a “big Rumanian monster beauty.”
By the mid-1960s, she was a leader in the Haight-Ashbury hippie scene and was writing poetry of her own. Her collection “The Love Book,” published in 1966, was deemed pornographic and bookshops where it was sold were raided by the police and the store’s owners were arrested.
Over the last few years Kandel was confined to her San Francisco apartment, having suffered spinal injuries from a motorcycle crash. She was diagnosed with lung cancer just two weeks prior to her death.