Bob Kaufman – Collected Poems

The official publication date is not until the middle of next month (October  15th – [update – it’s now gloriously available!], but we can’t tell you just how thrilled we are to announce the upcoming publication of the long-awaited Collected Poems of Bob Kaufman  (with a foreward by devorah major, edited by Neeli Cherkovski, Raymond Foye, and Tate Swindell) from City Lights.

For Bob Kaufman on the Allen Ginsberg Project – see here and  here

Will Alexander – “With this magnetic new unveiling Bob Kaufman trenchantly sunders endemic retrocausal error and neglect that his casted his fate into a secondary enclave of lesser mastery. To set the story straight it was his spirit that helped sire the Ginsberg that we know and not vice versa. It was he who magically hoisted the invisible umbrella under which Kerouac and others were enabled to protractedly flourish.”

He goes on:

“Arrested 39 times for poetic brilliance via bravura he was the absolute contrary of the sterile academic scrounging for golden verbal eggs. Never concerned with immediate notoriety he passed across unerring emptiness as a poetic lahar sweeping in all directions at once. He volcanically en-veined the Beats as a mirage enveloped Surrealist; not as a formal poet, but one, like Rimbaud, who embodied butane. Following the scent of his butane on one anonymous North Beach afternoon led Philip Lamantia to audibly utter to me that Bob Kaufman as per incandescent singularity is ‘our poet.'”

Anne Waldman writes: ” “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.”

“Uplifting the voice of this under-sung literary master to future’s light is the mission of the Collected Poems of Bob Kaufman..”, writes poet-educator Kamau Daáood 
“This poet’s poet on the cliff edge of no ledge is still continuing to foster new surrealizations.”  “Read”, he insists,  “this bebopian wordsmith, his pen turned saxophone and ink notes that are black tears.”

Bob Kaufman – photo: Raymond Foye

Bob Kautman manuscript – photo: Raymond Foye

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