Link Martin (born Luther Thomas Cupp) was a playwright and a member of The Cockettes.
Link Martin was of mixed Cherokee Indian and Eskimo heritage. Deserted by his father and abandoned to a reformatory by his mother when he was 12, Link was completely self-taught. He was a voracious reader, a European history buff, and had a unique sense of personal style.
Teenage years and Cow
In the 1998 book 'Poet Be Like God; Jack Spicer and the San Francisco Renaissance' Link gets several mentions:
"Hunce Voelker's boyfriend was a teenager of American Indian extraction whose name was Luther T. Cupp. Like Tony Aste, Cupp had survived a terrible childhood, in and out of mental hospitals and orphanahes, a deserting soldier for a father, a mother and grandmother who beat him and locked him in a closet, but he'd emerged from the closet in a big way.
Cupp's schooling was understandably spotty, and he was a wild child, but stunning, with long black hair and a nice body - "grungily handsome," according to one friend, and flirtatious and attentive to poets. In another of his half-affectionate, hald sardonic gestures, Spicer nicknamed him "Link," and afterward Cupp went by the name "Link Martin." Link enjoyed local fame in these years as actor and writer as well as participant in many adventures, sexual and emotional, involving members of the Spicer-generated community. With Open Space fresh in his mind, Link made plans for his own magazine, called Cow, and he asked Spicer for advice on everything.
How old was he when he became involved with Spicer: fifteen, sixteen, seventeen? Estimates vary; no one knows, for Link himself was not sure of his own age. He was Spicer's final Rimbaud, but a Rimbaud marked by an inexhaustible need for love and reassurance. He was simple and affectionate, in the nude he was spectacular, "his equipment just like frightening," and he came in like gangbusters. According to Hunce Voelker, and another witness who knew Link well, the writer Samuel R. Delany, Link presently became Jack's lover. As with Fran Herndon, Spicer was attracted to Link partly because of his Indian blood; he found a Lawrencian comfort in communion with another of his "tribe," for he still claimed to be part Blackfoot himself.
Plans for Cow moved forward, and the first issue was scheduled to appear before Spicer's departure from San Francisco, late in the summer. (When it did appear, it was laden with noticed of Spicer's death.) A later friend of Link's the poet Paul Mariah, reported that Link came to rue being known as the "boy who killed Spicer." A cruel piece of gossip reached Link's ears, that someone had called him Spicer's own "Death Car Girl" - a reference to Frand O'Hara's tag for Ruth Kligman, the painter who had been a passenger when Jackson Pollock's convertible crashed in the Hamptons, causing his death. Link was "pissed off," reported Mariah, who then reflected, "But you know, he kind of gloried in it too."
Link Martin went on to edit at least three issues of Cow, with contributions from Jack Spicer, Harold Dull, Ronnie Primack, Joanne Kyger, Stan Persky, and Robin Blaser. The known issues are:
- Cow Soup Issue, 1965
- Un-escalation Issue , 1965
- Pregnant Cow Issue, 1966calation Issue
Link also hooked up with sci-fi writer Samuel Delany and his wife Marilyn Hacker. Chip Delaney wrote some sexually explicit poetry to Link and in his renowned apocalyptic tale "Dhalgren" depicted some rather graphic sex scenes in a thinly veiled chronicle of the torrid three-way relationship that Link had with the bisexual Delaney and his wife.
Martin joined The Cockettes and wrote the play Pearls Over Shanghai for them.
Marilyn Hacker wrote the poem "Geographer: For Link(Luther Thomas Cupp) 1947-1974" in Link Martin's memory.
Books featuring mentions of Link Martin Edit
- 1971 - Official Cockettes Paper Doll Book - Link is one of the dolls
- 1998 - Poet Be Like God: Jack Spicer and the San Francisco Renaissance - information about Jack Spicer's relationship with Martin
- 2004 - Midnight at the Palace: My Life as a Fabulous Cockette by Pam Tent - features detailed biographical information on Martin, who was the author's close friend