Philip Lamantia was born to Sicilian immigrants in San Francisco in 1927. His father was a produce broker in the old Embarcadero. He began writing poetry in elementary school and was later inspired by the paintings of Miro and Dali at the San Francisco Museum of Art. After being expelled for “intellectual delinquency” at age sixteen, he dropped out of high school and moved to New York City, where he lived for several years and where he was associated with Andre Breton and other exiled European artists such as Max Ernst and Yves Tanguy. During these years he worked as an assistant editor of View magazine and his poems were published in View as well as in publications like Hemispheres, which was being published by another French ex-patriot Yvan Goll.
In 1943, when Lamantia was only fifteen years old, Breton heralded him as being “a voice that rises once in a hundred years.” In 1946, at the age of nineteen, his first book of poems Erotic Poems was published by Bern Porter Books in Berkeley, California, followed by two collections (Narcotica and Ekstasis) published in 1959 by Auerhahn Press. A literary prodigy whose poems delved into the worlds of the subconscious and dreams, his love of Surrealism had a major influence on the Beats and other American poets. On March 7, 2005 he died of heart failure in his North Beach, San Francisco apartment at age seventy-seven.
–Thomas Rain Crowe
Section A: Books and Broadsides
1. Lamantia, Philip. EROTIC POEMS
(Berkeley): Bern Porter, 1946
First edition, hardcover issued without dust jacket, 42 pages.
2. Lamantia, Philip. EKSTASIS
San Francisco: Auerhahn Press, 1959
First edition, perfect-bound wrappers, 5.75? x 7?48 pages, (circa 950 copies). Titling by Robert La Vigne. Printed announcement issued.
3. Lamantia, Philip. NARCOTICA
San Francisco: Auerhahn Press, 1959
First edition, saddle-stapled illustrated wrappers, 6.25? x 8.5?, 16 pages, (750 copies). Cover photographs by Wallace Berman. Published as Auerhahn Pamphlet No. 1. Printed announcement issued.
4. Lamantia, Philip. DESTROYED WORKS
San Francisco: Auerhahn Press, 1962
A. First edition, perfect-bound illustrated wrappers, 7? x 8.75?, 48 pages, 1250 copies. (pictured)
B. First edition, hardcover, 7? x 8.75?, 48 pages, 50 numbered and signed copies, bound by the Schuberth Bindery.
5. Lamantia, Philip. TOUCH OF THE MARVELOUS
(Berkeley): Oyez, 1966
a. First edition, hardcover, 65 pages, 50 copies on handmade Tovil paper, numbered, signed by the author, bound by Dorothy Hawley.
b. First edition, sewn and glued into wrappers, 65 pages, 1450 copies.
6. Lamantia, Philip. SELCETED POEMS 1943-1966
(San Francisco): City Lights Books, (1967)
First edition, wrappers, 100 pages, published as Pocket Poets Series Number 20. (Cook 61)
7. Lamantia, Philip. THE BLOOD OF THE AIR
San Francisco: Four Seasons Foundation, 1970
a. First edition, hardcover , 45 pages, 50 copies, numbered, signed by the author, published as Writing 25. (pictured)
b. First edition, wrappers, 45 pages, published as Writing 25.
8. Lamantia, Philip. TOUCH OF THE MARVELOUS
Bolinas: Four Seasons Foundation, 1974
Second, expanded edition, wrappers, 47 pages, includes three poems not in the original edition: “Celestial Estrangement”, “Submarine Languor”, and “To You Henry Miller”.
9. Lamantia, Philip. BECOMING VISIBLE
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1981
a. First edition, hardcover, 96 pages, published as Pocket Poet Series No. 39.
b. First edition, wrappers, 96 pages, published as Pocket Poet Series No. 39.
10. Lamantia, Philip. MEADOWLARK WEST
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1986
First edition, wrappers, 73 pages. (Cook 171)
11. Lamantia, Philip. BED OF SPHINXES: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, 1943-1993
San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1997
First edition, wrappers, 141 pages.
12. Lamantia, Philip. WHAT IS NOT STRANGE?
San Francisco: City Lights, 2005
First edition, broadside.
Section B: Contributions to Books and Anthologies, Selected
sequence within years is alphabetical
BEATITUDE ANTHOLOGY. San Francisco: City Lights, 1960
THE BEATS, edited by Seymour Krim. Greenwich: Gold Medal, 1960
THE BEAT SCENE, edited by Elias Wilentz, photographs by Fred McDarrah. New York: Corinth Books, 1960
THE NEW ORLANDO POETRY ANTHOLOGY. New York: New Orlando Publication, 1963
PENGUIN MODERN POETS, 13. London: Penguin, 1969
AERO INTO THE AETHER. Philip Lamantia, Clark Ashton Smith. Black Swan Press, 1980
FREE SPRITS: ANNALS OF THE INSURGENT IMAGINATION. San Francisco: City Lights, 1980. First edition, wrappers, 223 pages
WHITMAN’S WILD CHILDREN, edited by Neeli Cherkovski. Venice: Lapis Press, 1988
TAU & JOURNEY TO THE END. Philip Lamantia, John Hoffman. San Francisco: City Lights, 2008
CITY LIGHTS POCKET POETS ANTHOLOGY, edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. San Francisco: City Lights, 2009
Section C: Contributions to Periodicals, Selected
sequence within years is alphabetical
VIEW, Series III, Number 2. New York, June 1943
VIEW, Series III, Number 3. New York, 1943
VIEW, Series IV, Number 2. New York, Summer 1944
VVV, Number 4. New York, 1944
HEMISPHERES, Number 5. New York, 1945
VIEW, Series V, Number 2. New York, 1945
NEW DIRECTIONS, Number 9. New York, 1946
CONTOUR QUARTERLY, Volume 1, Number 1. Berkeley, 1947
NOW, Number 7. London, February-March 1947
CITY LIGHTS, Number 4. San Francisco, Fall 1953
NEW DIRECTIONS, Number 14. New York, 1953
BEATITUDE, Number 9. San Francisco, September 1959
SEMINA, Number 4. San Francisco, 1959
SEMINA, Number 5. San Francisco, 1959
EVERGREEN REVIEW, Volume 4, Number 11. New York, January-February 1960
THE GALLEY SAIL REVIEW, Number 5. San Francisco, Winter 1960
YUGEN, 6. New York, 1960
DAMASCUS ROAD, Number 1. Allentown, 1961
POEMS FROM THE FLOATING WORLD, Volume 3. New York, 1961
MEASURE, Number 3. Milton, Summer 1962
THE OUTSIDER, Number 2. New Orleans, Summer 1962
TOBAR, Number 4. New York, 1962
EL CORNO EMPLUMADO, Number 9. Mexico City, 1964
FUCK YOU: A MAGAZINE OF THE ARTS, Volume 5, Number 7. New York, September 1964
DAMASCUS ROAD, Number 2. Allentown, 1965
RESIDU, Volume 1, Number 1. Athens, Spring 1965
THE PARIS REVIEW, Number 36. Paris, 1966
THE FLOATING BEAR, Number 33. New York, February 1967
THE FLOATING BEAR, Number 34. New York, 1967
THE FLOATING BEAR, Number 35. New York, April 1968
CATERPILLAR, 10. New York, January 1969
CATERPILLAR, 17. Sherman Oaks, October 1971
INTREPID, Number 20. Buffalo, 1971
ANTAEUS, 6. Tangier, Summer 1972
THE LAMP IN THE SPINE, Number 4. Iowa City, Spring 1972
THE SEVENTIES, Number 1. Madison, Spring 1972
ARSENAL, Number 2. Chicago, Summer 1973
CULTURAL CORRESPONDENCE, Number 12-14. Providence, Summer 1981
ZYZZYVA, Volume 1, Number 4. San Francisco, Winter 1985
CITY LIGHTS REVIEW, 1. San Francisco, 1987
CALIBAN, 7. Ann Arbor, 1989
CITY LIGHTS REVIEW, 4. San Francisco, 1990
Section D: Ephemera
THE AUERHAHN PRESS CATALOG, 1962
San Francisco: Auerhahn Press, 1962. First edition, wrappers
A KIND OF BEATNESS: PHOTOGRAPHS OF A NORTH BEACH ERA 1950-1965
San Francisco: Focus Gallery, 1975. First edition, wrappers
Bohn, Dave. OYEZ: THE AUTHORIZED CHECKLIST
Berkeley: n.p., 1997
Cook, Ralph T. CITY LIGHTS: A DESCRIPTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY
Metuchen: The Scarecrow Press, 1992
Duncan, Michael and Kristine McKenna. SEMINA CULTURE: WALLACE BERMAN & HIS CIRCLE
New York: Distributed Art Publishers, 2005
Harter, Christopher. AN AUTHOR INDEX TO LITTLE MAGAZINES OF THE MIMEOGRAPH REVOLUTION
Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2008
Johnston, Alastair. A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE AUERHAHN PRESS & ITS SUCCESSOR DAVE HASELWOOD BOOKS
Berkeley: Poltroon Press, 1976
Lepper, Gary M. A BIBLIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION TO SEVENTY-FIVE MODERN AMERICAN AUTHORS
Berkeley: Serendipity Books, 1976
Marx, Jake. “Index to Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts” in THE SERIF: QUARTERLY OF THE KENT STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES, Volume VIII, Number 3
Kent: The Kent State University Libraries, September 1971