Songs for Schizoid Siblings

Lionel Ziprin


The Song Cave, 2017. Softcover, 335pp., 6 x 8 inches


Lionel Ziprin (1924-2009), Jewish mystic, poet, and artist, was born and died on the Lower East Side of New York City. Together with his wife, Joanne, he formed the nucleus of a hidden group of creators, beginning in the early 1950s, who had a foundational influence on what was to come. For over half a century, Lionel was deeply esteemed by associates ranging from Harry Smith and Bruce Conner to Thelonious Monk and Bob Dylan. (Per Ira Cohen, "He was much larger than a poet... He was one of the big secret heroes of the time.")

A prolific author, Ziprin did not write for publication, and only a fragmentary handful of his literary writings saw print while he was alive. This book of nearly 300 profound verses, limericks, and esoteric rhymes is startlingly fresh and innovative though written nearly six decades ago, and is accompanied by supplemental materials that provide valuable context for this unheralded genius.

A fantabulous treasure trove of magic poetry and mystical limericks from downtown legend Lionel Ziprin. Charming, surreal and marked with a profound wisdom, these vexing miniatures will transport you into his living room, where he sat in his beloved rocking-chair-time-machine weaving immortal tales of ancient Kabbalah scrolls, biblical puzzles, occult secrets and counter-culture esoterica. Long awaited, this is a classic tome out of the rich underground culture of Downtown New York. —John Zorn