Interview with ruth weiss

Poet ruth weiss has spent much of her 91 years being witness to history. Born in Germany, as a girl she and her family narrowly escaped the rise of Nazism, fleeing to America in 1939. After the war, she and her family returned to Europe, and ruth began hitchhiking around the continent, writing all the while. A decade after their harrowing escape, ruth returned to America, this time to Chicago, and ventured out on her own, discovering the Art Circle, a bohemian community of artists, where she discovered a lifelong love of poetry and jazz.

Continuing to travel the country, she arrived in San Francisco in 1952, and found a room in North Beach at 1010 Montgomery (which would later be home to another famous Beat poet), and quickly immersed herself in the nascent renaissance of poetry, jazz, and art, becoming one of its key figures long before the New York Beats showed up on the scene.

We caught up with ruth to discuss these stories and more.