Kurt Vonnegut at the 92nd Street Y in May, 1970
To honor the passing of Kurt Vonnegut, one of the rare and universally loved literary world greats, we present this special podcast of his very first public reading of the classic Breakfast of Champions, three years before it was published, on May 4, 1970 at the 92nd Street Y. Vonnegut appeared at the Y a total of seven times and he had much admiration for the audience at the corner of 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue. He once said in an interview along with Joseph Heller for Playboy magazine in 1992:
VONNEGUT: The best audience in the world is the 92nd Street Y. Those people know everything and they are wide awake and responsive.
HELLER: I was part of a panel there on December seventh. The fiftieth anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
VONNEGUT: Were you bombed at Pearl Harbor, Joe?
VONNEGUT: Of course, James Jones was. I was saying this would be sort of a valedictory interview because our generation is taking its leave now. James Jones is gone. Irwin Shaw is gone. Truman Capote is gone.
HELLER: Yeah, but nobody's replaced us.
VONNEGUT: No. (Laughter)
Download the MP3 [13 MB]
[Right-click and select "Save Target As:" or equivalent to download.]
[Unterberg Poetry Center]