Kurt Vonnegut Reads Breakfast of Champions
This is the first public reading of the classic Breakfast of Champions, three years before it was published, on May 4, 1970 at 92nd Street Y. Vonnegut appeared at 92Y a total of seven times and had much admiration for the audience at the corner of 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. From an interview with Joseph Heller in Playboy, 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)
Check out more readings in our Poetry Center archive.