From the introduction: “… Lamantia would traverse the ecstatic space between writing poetry and religious mysticism, at times rejecting both, then discovering aspects of one within the other—until finally, in the last decade of his life, arriving at a synthesis of scholarly erudition and spiritual discernment. Lamantia’s high aspiration as a poet is evident in his desire…to achieve a ‘miracle in words.’”
The Collected Poems of Philip Lamantia represents the lifework of the most visionary poet of the American postwar generation. Philip Lamantia (1927-2005) played a major role in shaping the poetics of both the Beat and the Surrealist movements in the United States. First mentored by the San Francisco poet Kenneth Rexroth, the teenage Lamantia also came to the attention of the French Surrealist leader André Breton, who, after reading Lamantia’s youthful work, hailed him as a “voice that rises once in a hundred years.” Later, Lamantia went “on the road” with Jack Kerouac and shared the stage with Allen Ginsberg at the famous Six Gallery reading in San Francisco, where Ginsburg first read “Howl.”
Throughout his life, Lamantia sought to extend and renew the visionary tradition of Romanticism in a distinctly American vernacular, drawing on mystical lore and drug experience in the process. The Collected Poems gathers not only his published work but also an extensive selection of unpublished or uncollected work.
Andrew Joron was raised in Stuttgart, Germany, Lowell, MA, and Missoula, MT. He studied under anarchist philosopher Paul Feyerabend at UC Berkeley, obtaining a BA in philosophy of science. Joron began writing science-fiction poetry before turning to surrealist-influenced lyric, reflecting his association with Philip Lamantia. His translations from German include philosopher Ernst Bloch’s Literary Essays. His recent books of poetry and essays include Trance Archive (City Lights) and The Cry at Zero (Counterpath).
Garrett Caples is a poet who lives in Oakland, CA. He’s published two full-length collections, The Garrett Caples Reader (Black Square Editions, 1999) and Complications (Meritage Press, 2007). His latest chapbook is Avid Diva (Lew Gallery/Auguste). Besides poetry, he has written essays, reviews, fiction, interviews, and features for various publications, including Rain Taxi, The Brooklyn Rail, and Chicago Review. He’s also a contributing writer to the San Francisco Bay Guardian focusing on art, literature, and most frequently hip-hop. A member of the editorial board at City Lights Books, he curates the new American poetry series, City Lights Spotlight.