Brainard had a Boston life. In 1963 he lived poor and lonely in a West Newton Street rooming house for nine months. A passionate smoker who once made the New Year's resolution to "Smoke More," he remembered fishing butts out of the sand-filled urns that stood at either side of the MFA Huntington Street entrance. He made some art in that West Newton Street room and read a great deal, as he always did, and then, in the fall, he returned to Manhattan, ready again for the city after his time in the wilderness. In the decades that followed, Brainard gave all he had to his art and his friendships. He died at 54.

THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOE BRAINARD | EDITED BY RON PADGETT WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY PAUL AUSTER | LIBRARY OF AMERICA | 576 PAGES | $35

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