National Affairs: The Literary Life

As sad and grimy dawn came to a Brooklyn subway station one day last week, police rounded up seven disheveled bums who were sleeping in an empty train. Only one pleaded not guilty to disorderly conduct. Nursing the hangover from an all-night party, Maxwell Bodenheim, one of the old breed of Greenwich Village Bohemians, insisted he was only an innocent straphanger. The sick old (61) poet-novelist spent the day in jail before a friend posted $25 bond.

Pathetic and ineffectual, Bodenheim flaps through the Village today, eating and drinking when he can cadge a handout or peddle a bit of verse in...

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