Richard Fariña

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Richard Fariña (born March 8, 1937 in Brooklyn , New York ; died April 30, 1966 in Carmel , California ) was an American writer and musician.


His father was Cuban, his mother Irish; He therefore spent his childhood in Cuba , Ireland and Brooklyn . From 1957 to 1959 he studied at Cornell University , where he became friends with Thomas Pynchon , and wrote poetry and short stories for the University Postille Cornell Writer , whose editors were Pynchon. In 1959 he was expelled from the university for a short time because he had participated in protests against the prudish university management, who strictly watched over the morality of the campus. From 1959 to 1963 he lived in New York, London and Paris ; In 1960 he married the folk singer Carolyn Hester . However, the marriage did not last long. In 1963 he married Mimi Baez (1945-2001), the sister of folk singer Joan Baez , and settled with her in California .

A few days after his first novel was published in 1966, he had an accident as a passenger in a motorcycle accident.


Fariña learned to play the mountain dulcimer , a forgotten plucked instrument from the Appalachian Mountains , from his first wife, Carolyn Hester , and made a significant contribution to their revival. In 1963 he recorded his first folk album with Eric Von Schmidt, in which Bob Dylan also participated.

After his wedding to Mimi Baez, the couple performed together, including at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 . In 1965 they released two albums, Celebrations for a Gray Day and Reflections in a Crystal Wind .


Fariña's poems and short stories were printed by various magazines in the early 1960s; he also wrote some plays.

In 1960 he began work on his first novel Been Down So Long It Looks Like up to Me , which was published in 1966 and which is now considered a classic of beat literature. This picaresque novel tells the story of the hippie Gnossos Pappadopoulis, who takes part in student protests and the Cuban revolution, among other things. In 1983 Pynchon wrote a personal introduction to the novel.

A collection of his previously unpublished writings appeared in 1969 under the title Long Time Coming and a Long Time Gone .


  • Been Down So Long It Looks Like up to Me . New York: Random House, 1966
    • Been down so long it looks like up to me . Introduction by Thomas Pynchon. Translation of Dirk van Gunsteren . Göttingen: Steidl, 2018
  • Long Time Coming and a Long Time Gone . New York: Random House, 1969


  • David Hajdu: Positively 4th Street - The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña and Richard Fariña . Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York, 2001 ( review )

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