Robert Hunter Poems

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Robert Hunter
Robert Hunter, Grateful Dead lyricist, c.1982Robert C. Hunter (born June 23, 1941) is an American lyricist, singer songwriter, and poet, best known for his association with Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. He was born Robert Burns in San Luis Obispo, California. An early friend of Jerry Garcia, they played together in bluegrass bands (such as the Tub Thumpers) in the early sixties, with Hunter on mandolin and upright bass. They hung out in coffee shops, read poetry, learned about the Beat Movement, and were generally the hip teenagers of Palo Alto. Around 1962, Hunter was an early volunteer test subject (along with Ken Kesey) for psychedelic chemicals at Stanford University's research covertly sponsored by the CIA in their MKULTRA program. [McNally 42] He was paid to take LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline and report on his experiences, which were creatively formative for him: "Sit back picture yourself swooping up a shell of purple with foam crests of crystal drops soft nigh they fall unto the sea of morning creep-very-softly mist...and then sort of cascade tinkley-bell like (must I take you by the hand, every so slowly type) and then conglomerate suddenly into a peal of silver vibrant uncomprehendingly, blood singingly, joyously resoundingbells....By my faith if this be insanity, then for the love of God permit me to remain insane." [McNally 42-43]

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung... [read poem]
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