Robert Duncan in San Francisco

Robert Duncan in San Francisco

Press Reviews

The Gay and Lesbian Review

"In Robert Duncan in San Francisco, the reader finds himself in the middle of an extended conversation. It is not a linear narrative. At times, it even reads like prose poetry...a portrait of friendship among a group of exceptional writers, and a historical document about gay life at a unique time and place in America. Rumaker's memoir is a valuable addition to the books by and about Black Mountain writers, and on hopes that it engenders further interest in, and study of, their work."—Jim Nawrocki


"[Robert] Duncan was ahead of his time and his frank homosexuality inspired [author Michael] Rumaker to embrace his own. 'Robert Duncan in San Francisco' stands with books like Christopher Isherwood's 'A Single Man' as important works on gay liberation."


"Robert Duncan in San Francisco is a one-of-a-kind glimpse into Duncan's life, written by Michael Rumaker, one of the rare firsthand chroniclers of the pre-Stonewall era of gay culture."

Lambda Literary

"This isn't a memoir solely about the physical presence of Robert Duncan. It’s also about the presence of his spirit that inspired those in his orbit, many of whom found the courage to add to the literary lake."

San Francisco Chronicle

"[Robert Duncan in San Franciscolooks at the intriguing relationship between the famous, their fans and the soon-to-be famous."

SF Weekly: Read Local

"This expanded edition of a local classic is not only a portrait of the S.F. Renaissance poet, but also a glimpse of pre-Stonewall gay life in the late-1950s. Author Michael Rumaker knew Duncan, and he shares the good with the bad, set against legendary North Beach haunts."

—Alexis Coe

Reviews by Amos Lassen

"Duncan was witty, wicked, brilliant and complex yet he did not hide who he was or his sexual lifestyle. In this book, which is part memoir and part cultural history, we get a fascinating look at the man and his friends."

The Beat Scene

"... wonderful and exuberant yet Rumaker, outlining his friendship with Duncan and his associations with his crowd… reveals the dark side of San Francisco in the 1950s and 60s."

San Jose Mercury News

"…the book offers an intriguing view of the city during the pre-Stonewall era. Of particular interest are previously unpublished letters between Rumaker and Duncan."