Ring of Bone: Collected Poems (Paperback)

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Ring of Bone: Collected Poems Cover Image
By Lew Welch, Gary Snyder (Afterword by)
$17.95
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Staff Reviews


The world of one Beat poet is opened up in this collection. Written from around 1950 to around his presumed death in 1971, each shows you what is important to him and many of his generation. Explore the familiar (a walk across a make-shift bridge), the constraints of the time (a man “should” have his hair short) to thoughts on his own mortality (his beard turning white when he is only 40) in haunting detail, depth and even, simplicity of wording. Comments by Gary Snyder and Welch’s own words about his work connect everything together. — Jeanette

Description


A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2012

Lew Welch was a brilliant and troubled poet, legendary among his Beat peers. Ring of Bone collects poems, songs and even a few drawings, documenting the full sweep of his creative output, from his early years until just before his death. This new edition includes a biographic timeline and a statement of poetics gleaned from Welch's own writing.

Welch entered Reed College in 1948, and the following year moved into a house with Gary Snyder; they were soon joined by Philip Whalen. With the emergence of the Beat movement, Welch's friends began receiving national attention and his desire to devote himself completely to his poetry was galvanized. He soon became a part of the San Francisco poetry scene.

Legendary editor Donald Allen included Welch's poetry in The New American Poetry--the seminal anthology published in 1960. That same year Welch's first book, Wobbly Rock, was released. He continued to write extensively, and in 1965 published three books. Despite his burgeoning success, Welch suffered from bouts with depression, and on May 23, 1971, Gary Snyder went up to Welch's campsite in the Sierra Nevada mountains and found a suicide note. Despite an extensive search, Welch's body was never recovered.

"Lew Welch writes lyrical poems of clarity, humor, and dark probings . . . jazz musical phrasings of American speech is one of Welch's clearest contributions."--Gary Snyder

" . . . Music permeates his poems, which range from scored lyrics to epistolary correspondence to formal villanelles... It's fascinating to trace the evolution of this artist, from his early, lax, exultant style to his later, less jubilant work, characterized by benedictions, invocations, and requests. This is a necessary read for anyone interested in the greater Beat movement and its progenitors."--Booklist

"His luminous poems feel as vibrant today as when they first burst from the wellsprings of creativity in his own head. . . . A postmodern Walt Whitman . . . "--San Francisco Chronicle

"In the poet's own words, Ring of Bone] is a spiritual autobiography . . . no better description of him exists than that which came in his own vision, deep in the wilds of the Klamath Mountains, the poem after which the collection is titled. . . . These 40 years later, Lew, you are missed."--The Rumpus

"Ring of Bone: Collected Poems is Welch's major work. Exuberant, funny, dark, hypnotic, Welch's poems are as infused with nature as Gary] Snyder's and as spiritually alive as Philip] Whalen's. They're technically brilliant, grounded in form and wildly experimental. . . . "--The Oregonion

About the Author


Lew Welch was born August 16, 1926 in Phoenix, Arizona. He entered Reed College in 1948, and the following year moved into a house with Gary Snyder; the following year they were joined by Philip Whalen. By the fall of 1949 Welch was co-editor of the school's literary magazine and was writing constantly. He wrote his senior thesis on Gertrude Stein and graduated in 1950.For a number of years Welch showed his poetry only to close friends. With the emergence of the Beat movement, however, Welch's friends Philip Whalen and Gary Snyder began receiving national attention. Welch's desire to devote himself completely to his poetry was revived, and he soon became a part of the San Francisco poetry scene.Donald Allen included one of Welch's poems in The New American Poetry--the important anthology published in 1960. That same year Welch's first book, Wobbly Rock, was published. He was drinking heavily during this time, but he continued to write extensively, and in 1965 published three books.Despite his burgeoning success, Welch's bouts with depression and heavy drinking continued. On May 23, 1971, Gary Snyder went up to Welch's campsite in the Sierra Nevada mountains and found a suicide note in Welch's truck. Despite an extensive search, Welch's body was never recovered.Donald Allen published much of Welch's work posthumously via Grey Fox Press, now an imprint of City Lights Books.Gary Snyder is an American poet (often associated with the Beat Generation and the San Francisco Renaissance), as well as an essayist, lecturer and environmental activist (frequently described as the "poet laureate of Deep Ecology"). Snyder is a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His work, in his various roles, reflects an immersion in both Buddhist spirituality and nature. Snyder has translated literature into English from ancient Chinese and modern Japanese. For many years, Snyder served as a faculty member at the University of California, Davis, and he also served for a time on the California Arts Council.

Praise For…


"Ring of Bone offers something for nearly every Bay Area poetry lover, including iconic geographical places from Mount Tamalpais to Market Street, plus beloved Bay Area redwoods, eucalyptus and pine. But Ring of Bone offers much more than landscapes for locals. Welch maps monstrous American cities and alienated American spaces. . . ."San Francisco Chronicle

"In the poet's own words, [Ring of Bone] is a spiritual autobiography . . . no better description of him exists than that which came in his own vision, deep in the wilds of the Klamath Mountains, the poem after which the collection is titled. . . . These 40 years later, Lew, you are missed."The Rumpus

"Ring of Bone: Collected Poems is Welch's major work. Exuberant, funny, dark, hypnotic, Welch's poems are as infused with nature as [Gary] Snyder's and as spiritually alive as [Philip] Whalen's. They're technically brilliant, grounded in form and wildly experimental. . . ."The Oregonion

"It's fascinating to trace the evolution of this artist, from his early, lax, exultant style to his later, less jubilant work, characterized by benedictions, invocations, and requests. This is a necessary read for anyone interested in the greater Beat movement and its progenitors.""Booklist

"By nature of their visionary quality, these poems form a world of dreams and nightmares so convincingly that strict organization proves ultimately unnecessary. Instead, the poems speak to each other across time through their musical tonalities and recurring thematic tensions, thus constructing one of many "rings" invoked by the book’s title. . . ."HTML Giant

"Ring of Bone serves as an incisive and in-depth summary of Lew Welch's work and spirit. It remains required reading for both fans and scholars of the Beat Generation."The Electric Review

"Welch's poems ring true to our own experiences with a rare clarity amidst their jazz phrasings and spontaneous feel. . . I give Ring of Bone my strongest recommendation."The Daily Beat



Product Details
ISBN: 9780872865792
ISBN-10: 0872865797
Publisher: City Lights Publishers - City Lights Publishe
Publication Date: June 19th, 2012
Pages: 262
Language: English
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