A collection of unpublished Lou Reed poems will be released this spring as Do Angels Need Haircuts? The book will be accompanied by a 1971 recording of the Velvet Underground singer reciting the works at New York’s St. Mark’s Church.
Do Angels Need Haircuts?, due out in April, features 12 poems and short stories from Reed’s public archive as well as Reed’s introductions to the poems and an afterword by the singer’s widow Laurie Anderson, The Guardian reports. Of the dozen works, only three have been released, including one as The Velvet Underground spoken word song “The Murder Mystery.”
“The Lou Reed Archive has been keen to publish some of the rare and unique material from the diverse and extraordinary collection of Lou’s life’s work, and we decided to start with these poems,” archivist Don Fleming told The Guardian.
“Lou was a writer at heart, and during this period he considered giving up music to follow this path. Finding Lou’s own cassette tape in the archive, that he recorded at the event, was very exciting because we knew about the reading but had little idea of what he had read. His introductions to the pieces also gave us great insight into his creative process.”
“Playing Music is Not Like Athletics” and the political “We Are the People” are among the Reed poems published for the collection, which mainly covers the six-month period in 1970 after Reed left the Velvet Underground and briefly quit music (and pursued poetry) before embarking on his long solo career.
Another short piece, “Lipstick,” is inspired by black lipstick, as Reed told the audience at St. Mark’s Church in 1971, a crowd that included Beat poet Allen Ginsberg:
According to publishers Anthology Editions, Do Angels Need Haircuts? will also feature Reed photographs and other ephemera from the era.