R.I.P. Maggie -The Baddest Bitch on the Bus

February 15, 2014 — 29 Comments

My slam poetry mentor.

The baddest bitch on the Lolla bus.

This is for ME. And for her.
I can’t believe there’s barely anything on WordPress.

RIP, girl.

Love, S.

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Gen-X Icon, Poet and Novelist Maggie Estep Dead at 50

In the early Nineties, she performed spoken word alongside Henry Rollins and appeared at Lollapalooza and Woodstock ’94

February 13, 2014 11:05 AM ET

Maggie Estep, a poet and novelist who helped popularize slam poetry and had a heavy presence on MTV in the early Nineties, died Wednesday in Albany, New York. Two days earlier, she had suffered a heart attack, according to The New York Times.

In the early Nineties, Estep was a regular on MTV, which gave her a platform for her wry poetry and forked-tongue observations. The channel cast her, alongside Henry Rollins and other spoken-word artists, on a spoken-word-focused episode of Unplugged. And it included her video for “Hey Baby,” which showed off her penchant for black humor and curl-lipped reaction to pickup lines, on an episode of Beavis and Butt-head. She also appeared on the HBO program Russell Simmons’s Def Poetry Jam.

Offscreen, Estep appeared onstage with Rollins, Jim Carroll and John S. Hall and took part in the Free Your Mind spoken-word tour and made appearances at Lollapalooza ’94 and Woodstock ’94. She also released an album, No More Mr. Nice Girl, in 1994, and a follow-up, Love Is a Dog From Hell, three years later. She released several novels, beginning with Diary of an Emotional Idiot, in 1997, and her work was anthologized in several books, including The Best American Erotica and Brooklyn Noir 2. She was working on a book titled The Story of Giants at the time of her death.

She was born Margaret Ann Estep in 1963 in Summit, New Jersey, to racehorse-trainer parents, and she grew up in Canada, France, Colorado and Georgia. She moved to New York City as a teenager after dropping out of high school.

In New York, she worked briefly as a go-go dancer and picked up a heroin addiction. She began writing fiction while in rehab. In 1986, Estep took a class taught by beat author William S. Burroughs at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, and eventually received a bachelor’s degree in literature. In recent years, she kept a blog, and she published her most recent post, “Strippers, Sluts and Umlauts,” last Friday.

Estep got her start performing after a friend dragged her to an open-mic night, according to the Los Angeles Times. She later read her works at New York’s slam-poetry hub the Nuyorican Poets Café. Recounting her first time doing spoken word, she told the L.A. Times in 1994, “I read and did really well. I seemed to have an immediate affinity to do it. . . . I got so nervous, I’d just rush through things and just pace. It evolved into my signature.”

The New York Times reports that she is survived by her mother, Nancy Murray, two half-brothers, Jon and Chris Murray, and a half-sister, Ellen Murray.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/gen-x-icon-poet-and-novelist-maggie-estep-dead-at-50-20140213#ixzz2tLsQZOxY

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29 responses to R.I.P. Maggie -The Baddest Bitch on the Bus

  1. 

    OMG, I didn’t know. Damn.

    • 

      I’m so sad.

      Her funeral is today. I can’t even get there.

      Thank you for knowing who she was.

      • 

        I was obsessed with Henry Rollins (ok, fine, still am). I remember following her way back when through my friend Amy.

        ((Hugs)) to you today.

      • 

        thanks.
        i want to talk about henry rollins but
        not much energy to comment

      • 

        No worries, plenty of time later. I get it. Try to take it easy today.

      • 

        I respect Henry Rollins a lot– not just for his music, for his commitment to bodybuilding, but also for his dignity and respect on political issues. I watched a video of him walking around SLC and for him to ask engaging but respectful questions to politicians that happen to be of my faith… well, that’s just awesome. To see the real wisdom and intelligence he’s got when it could be all too easy to be confrontational– that’s high class in my book.

  2. 

    50 years old? Wow… This too will pass.

  3. 

    Oh, shit. Shit. She was my female Jim Carroll. R.I.P. lovely Maggie.

  4. 

    I am actually learning stuff… nobody warned me about that…

  5. 

    I saw her in Saugerties at Woodstock 94, Samara. RIP, sorry for your loss.

  6. 

    Any one
    ever
    said
    better
    than Estep

    None
    Not one,
    Word
    Leaf-slipped
    & shod
    To talk
    Worldwide wise

    So sad

  7. 

    Though I knew her not, I am sad with you for the vacuum now left in your heart…

  8. 

    I have to admit complete lameness on this one and say that I hadn’t heard of Maggie Estep, and I am certainly of Gen X, but I can certainly see the allure and the draw of her work. I am so very sorry to hear about this, and to see how much this affects you and how you will miss her. There are many writers / musicians that have affected me in their own deaths and I fully understand.

    Be well, my friend.

    • 

      You’re not the only one– this is also where my cool points run out, well, points that I usually stumble on quite accidentally. I am quite solidly Gen X too, and rather wish I had some idea, because I get her appeal as well.

      • 

        We get cool points!? That’s groovy – I must have lost them the moment I started going to Walmart or buying socks in bulk or something. If I knew I would have saved them for some limited edition box set from ______ (insert cool band name – I am lost now) and then called it a day 🙂

        Glad to see I wasn’t alone in this…but I have learned something now and maybe gain a few points back for a rainy day!

  9. 

    For what it’s worth, I’m so sorry for you that she’s gone.

  10. 

    Sucks ass. And so young, too. Terrible loss.

  11. 

    I’m sure she’s rockin’ the pillars of Heaven right now.

  12. 

    I clicked over to her blog. When I read her, I hear you, and vice versa. That means something.

    • 

      She was who I wanted to be, if I was 10 times more talented and bad ass and got famous and made spoken word albums and had tracks played on MTV and hung out with rock stars-

      I walked in the Nuyorican Cafe and said – I want to be HER.
      She was my inspiration.
      And getting to be on tour with her – well, that was the sweetest thing that ever could be.

      I hadn’t seen her in 20 years. But I wept like a baby when I heard she’d died.

      And I was so happy to find out that she’d been successfully writing books all these years.

      Today, I can answer your comment. Yesterday, I couldn’t think. About this.

  13. 

    She sounds like life – a beautiful, sorrowful, bad bitch. I’m sorry your mentor has passed on.

  14. 

    😦
    That’s all I’ve got. In situations like this, my words fail me.
    I hope the hurt doesn’t last very long.

  15. 

    I ALWAYS wanted to see her but never got the chance even though I was at the Nuyorican often in the 90’s. I bought Love is a Dog From Hell; listened to it incessantly and read Emotional Idiot twice it was THAT GOOD. I, too, was disappointed that there was NOT way more press about her passing. My mom, a nurse, said that had her heart attack happened when she was older she might have survived. Too young. She was the best – I always remember her reading of “Happy”; so INYOURFACE! RIP

    • 

      She was a force to be reckoned with.

      I saw her at the Nuyorican and said – that! HER! I want to do what she does!

      That’s how I started doing Spoken Word. She was totally my inspiration.

      I thought it would be all over WordPress. But I guess she was a New York 90’s phenomenon? But her videos were all over MTV. I thought she’d gotten more famous.

      I was so happy that she’d had a good career as a successful writer. I just can’t understand how she died so young. I was completely broken up by her death.

      She left her mark on the world. More than most, that’s for sure. She was the first fierce woman spoken word artist, the best, and the only one who ever crossed over into mainstream and made it onto MTV.

    • 

      And by the way, thank you for taking the time to read, and to comment.

      I appreciate it more than you know.

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  1. Maggie Estep Dies At 50 - March 4, 2014

    […] R.I.P. Maggie -The Baddest Bitch on the Bus […]

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