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Ted Joans: 1928-2003
Ted Joans
Poet, painter

Born: July 4, 1928 in Cairo, Illinois
Died: May 7, 2003 in Vancouver, Canada

Poet was instigator of 'Bird Lives' graffiti

Copyright © 2003 


Ted Joans (real name Theodore Jones) entered jazz history as the man responsible for the "Bird LIves!" graffiti which appeared in New York shortly after the death of Charlie Parker in 1955.

Joans was a poet allied with the writers of the so-called Beat Generation. He became part of the Greenwich Village scene in New York from the late 1950s, and was also a painter (his painting 'Bird Lives' hangs in the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco). A recent anthology, Teducation, had revived interest in his work.

His poetry drew on the influence of the African-American oral tradition, and often reflected rhythm patterns drawn from jazz and blues.

He suffered from diabetes, and had been in failing health in recent times.

JJA members are invited to submit a full obituary or appreciation.

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