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 Andre 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but also an extensive selection of unpublished or uncollected work;
the editors have also provided a biographical introduction.
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