River City Reunion Revisited: A photography book by Rosemary Marchetta


Rosemary Marchetta, resident at AS220, publishes a photography book documenting the 1987 Beat Generation, highlighting a moment in the diverse cultural history of Lawrence, Kansas.

In September of 1987, a group of visionary poets, artists, and performers gathered in Lawrence for a week-long literary festival of readings and diverse activities. The line-up of participants, starting with longtime Lawrence resident William Burroughs, included some of the core members of the influential cultural movement known as the Beat Generation.  Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Keith Haring and many others that shaped literary and artistic styles from the 60s onward were present at the River City Reunion.

The University of Kansas hosted numerous book signings and poetry readings, and the week of September 7-13, 1987 was proclaimed River City Reunion Week by then mayor Mike Amyx, recognizing “the significant role of Lawrence in the evolution of arts in the Midwest” according to the River City Reunion brochure published at that time.

Now, marking the 25th anniversary, a new book of black and white photographs entitled River City Reunion Revisited documents some of the highlights of this event.  These images open up a window to our past and “stand as a testament to the pre-digital era of the late 1980s, revealing a moment in time which poignantly evokes a sense of how things have changed” says photographer and author of the book, Rosemary Marchetta.

More significantly, we are reminded that the issues which these writers passionately embraced – the defense of free speech, the rebellion against a militaristic and materialistic society, the free-spirited search for personal expression  – are all very much contemporary issues. The legacy they left behind in the form of poems, books, songs and film are milestones marking the battles on the road to artistic freedom.

More information about the book and images from the collection can be found HERE.

Please contact Rosemary Marchetta at rivercityreunion@gmail.com for more information.  Marchetta lives and works in Providence Rhode Island.  She will be in Lawrence, KS on Friday, September 14, 2012. Marchetta is a resident at AS220 and a member of AS220 Media Arts.