He is somewhat recalcitrant, fairly quiet, most assuredly publicity shy. Charles Plymell, low-profile Beat Generation author, publisher and teacher, will read from his new book "Forever Wider," collected poems from 1954 through 1984, at the Takoma Park Cafe (1 Columbus Ave., Takoma Park) on Friday. It is his first reading in the area, though he has lived here for four years.
"I was never asked to read," he says simply.
The Kansas-born Plymell, once a resident of San Francisco and later New York, now lives in Silver Spring. He teaches English composition at the University of Maryland and runs a publishing company -- Cherry Valley Editions, based near Cooperstown, N.Y. It specializes in new writers, but has also published works by Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs. Among Plymell's other works, "The Last of the Moccasins," published in 1971, received some acclaim.
He was asked to read by the Takoma-Silver Spring Cooperative, which runs the cafe. He seems to be riding a wave of interest -- d.c. space has also tapped Plymell, and four of the writers he has published, for a poetry-reading series beginning April 2. (University of California instructor Bob Peters begins the series with his performance piece "Mad Ludwig"; Lynn Lifshin reads April 30; Herbert Huncke, a key figure in William Burroughs' writings, reads May 7; and Janine Pomey-Vega on May 14.)
Plymell declines comment on the latest crop of Beat-inspired poets. "I like anything performing, and anything Beat," he states flatly. "I just went out to see Annie Ross, at Charlie's in Georgetown. Great lyrics. That is the only thing that's happened here in four years."