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Collected Poems of Bob Kaufman

Regular price $ 20.00

by Bob Kaufman, edited by Neeli Cherkovski, Raymond Foye, Tate Swindell, foreword by devorah major

City Lights Books

11/12/2019, paperback

SKU: 9780872867697

 

This volume brings together every known surviving poem by this major African-American surrealist, including the three books published in his lifetime, Solitudes Crowded with Loneliness, Golden Sardine, and The Ancient Rain.

Reviews:

"The Collected Poems of Bob Kaufman is the most comprehensive selection of his verse to date, a volume that contains a lot of previously uncollected work. ... this book makes a case for him as a perceptive and eccentric American original, a man who seems to have fallen out of the sky like a meteor."--The New York Times

"The body of work is small but voluminous in intensity, spirit and soul, with a lineage that runs from Charles Baudelaire to Charles Mingus. Kaufman--with his commitment to the art, his surreal eye on the urban experience and beyond it, and his jazz timing--brings San Francisco to life."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Twentieth-century American poetry cannot be fully comprehended without Bob Kaufman. City Lights and the editors do a grand service to literature by publishing Kaufman's poetry in one collection. ... This is a necessary gift for poets and poetry readers."--Booklist

"Bob Kaufman is one of our most vulnerable, mysterious, and beautiful poets, a nomadic maudit, surrealist saint of the streets, votary of silence, the consummate Outrider with trickster imagination and visionary power. What does it take to be such a poet-man, veils/layers of existence laced with hardship, suffering? Not many like this anymore. The Black American Rimbaud, as he was christened in France. His poems make me weep and bow with humility and wonder. I last saw him, shape-shifting shaman on Ken Kesey's stage in Oregon, swirling in a torque of rage, enlightenment, and prescience. Pure product of America's madness: fury and tenderness. The writing is complex and lays its soul-baring down on jazz-inflected syllables and riffs for all to read and tremble within. No serious canon is complete without this insistent rhythm, poetic acuity, and a body's last resort to sing."--Anne Waldman, author of Trickster Feminism

Author:

Bob Kaufman was born in New Orleans in 1925 and spent the 1940s in the Merchant Marine. After a brief period as a labor organizer, he lived a peripatetic existence before settling in San Francisco in the late '50s, where he published three broadsides with City Lights Books. In 1959, he co-founded Beatitude magazine and maintained a decade-long vow of silence after the assassination of President Kennedy. He published two books during the 1960s, Solitudes Crowded with Loneliness and Golden Sardine, and a third book, The Ancient Rain, in 1981. He died in San Francisco in 1986. He is considered by many to be the finest jazz poet of his generation.

Neeli Cherkovski was born in Los Angeles. He is the author of many books of poetry, including Animal (1996), From the Canyon Outward (2009), The Crow and I (2015), and Elegy for My Beat Generation (2018). He is the coeditor of Anthology of L.A. Poets (with Charles Bukowski) and Cross-Strokes: Poetry Between Los Angeles and San Francisco (with Bill Mohr). He has also published editions of his poems in Austria, Mexico, Italy, Germany, and Turkey.

Raymond Foye is a writer, curator, and editor based in New York City. He is the executor for the poets John Wieners, James Schuyler, and Rene Ricard, and has edited numerous editions of their works. Currently he is preparing an edition of the final unpublished poems of Gregory Corso from the years 1980-2000. He is also the publisher of Raymond Foye Books.

Tate Swindell is the founder of Unrequited Records, which specializes in poetry records released in vinyl format. His collections of writing include Palpitations, Tearing Down Walls of Cellars and Basements, and The Creation of Deadlines. Tate, and his brother Todd, worked extensively on the Harold Norse archives, which were donated to the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. He is currently working on an album of rare Gregory Corso readings from the late 1970s and early 80s that includes previously unpublished poems.

devorah major served as San Francisco's Third Poet Laureate (2002-2006). She has published two novels, four poetry books, and four poetry chapbooks, along with two young adult titles, and a host of short stories, essays, and individual poems published in anthologies and periodicals. Among her awards is a First Novelist award from the Black Caucus of the ALA and a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award. She is a Senior Adjunct Professor at California College of the Arts.