RIP Rose “Rosebud” Feliu-Pettet – Harry Smith’s “Spiritual Wife”

“Rose “Rosebud” Feliu-Pettet, muse of the Beats and avant-garde, fxture of downtown Bohemia, and a gifted memoirist, died this past Monday [June 15, 2015] in New York, at the VSNY Haven Specialty Care Unit, Bellevue Hospital, from inoperable bile duct cancer. She was 69. Married three times (to petty criminal,Tex Flanagan, to a Danish harbor worker, Karsten Holm, and to the English-born New York City poet, Simon Pettet) – she lived variously, in San Francisco, New York City (and State), Denmark, Morocco and, for a short while, in England. But, born in the city ( a rare breed, the native New Yorker), growing up on the streets of Yorktown, no matter how far she wandered, New York remained consistently, and sentimentally, her primary focus and her home.

“Her close friendship with the poet Allen Ginsberg, dating back to 1964, resulted in her being there at his deathbed and writing the defnitive account of his passing. For several years prior to that, she had been his neighbor and lived with him (her younger sister Denise had been, Allen’s lover, Peter Orlovsky’s girlfriend). She also struck up important friendships with the satirist and entertainer Lenny Bruce (as a young girl she would sit on Lenny’s knee, listening to the complaints of “Uncle Lenny”), and with the flmmaker-occultistanthropologist-ethnomusicologist, Harry Smith (though unmarried, Smith looked upon her as his “spiritual wife”). She was his “Jenny” in his magnum opus, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (flmed between 1970 and 1972, but not completed till 1980, shaped after Brecht and Weil). She also appeared in several other notable “underground” movies (notably Piero Heliczer’s Dirt (1965)).

“She also spent time with Ed Sanders and The Fugs, with Gerard Malanga and the Andy Warhol Factory (She famously sat for Andy Warhol for one of his Screen Tests). Runaway hippie, godmother to the punks, later seasoned survivor in Hell’s Kitchen, and a believer to the end in the old values – of love, human kindness, human compassion, simple decency.    She is survived by her two sisters, Jean Feliu and Denise Mercedes, and by her son, musician and black-belt martial arts instructor, Cro Mags guitarist, Harley Flanagan, and by her two grandchildren, his two sons. born May 25 1946, died June 15 2015”

This obituary was composed by Simon Pettet, posted Tom Raworth:

Her final days and passing were reported by her son Harley on his FB feed:


It has been anecdotally reported that she had been the keeper of Harry Smith’s ashes.

Rosebud and Harry

Frater Lux Ad Mundi


  1. “Unto them from whose eyes the veil of life hath fallen may there be granted the accomplishment of their true Wills; whether they will absorption in the Infinite, or to be united with their chosen and preferred, or to be in contemplation, or to be at peace, or to achieve the labour and heroism of incarnation on this planet or another, or in any Star, or aught else, unto them may there be granted the accomplishment of their wills; yea, the accomplishment of their wills.”

    • THANKS for the update! I’ve updated the post! Your correction is MUCH appreciated.

  2. I only knew Rose for the past 15 years as a fellow neighbor in Hell’s Kitchen, but she was an amazing character (and I use that word in an admiring and respectful way). Her loss is a loss to the spirit of New York. So sad…

  3. Rosemarie and I were in elementary school together. She was a brilliant student. As a third grader, her artwork and original English compositions were presented to the 7th and 8th graders as examples of what they should be accomplishing. I’m glad to learn that she had an exciting and most interesting life.

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