Ring of Bone: Collected Poems (New & Expanded Edition)

Overview


**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 ...

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Overview


**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

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Welch puts himself firmly in his poems, alternately vulnerable and proud, but always open."—The American Book Review

"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

"It’s not all pretty Buddhist haiku-land, but often there is joy." —Galatea Resurrects

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872865792
  • Publisher: City Lights Books
  • Publication date: 6/19/2012
  • Edition description: New
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,378,468
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet 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.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Gary Snyder 13

Preface Lew Welch 17

Book I (1950-1960) On Out

This Book Is for Magda 23

Chicago Poem 24

A Round of English 26

Memo Satori 31

I Fly to Los Angeles 32

Taxi Suite 35

1 After Anacreon 35

2 Passenger Poem, the Nurse 36

3 Passenger Poem, Mrs. Angus 36

4 Passenger Poem, the Mailman 37

5 Top of the Mark 38

Leo Poems 39

Barbara/Van Gogh Poem 39

Leo, Pleased 39

Leo, in Absence of Fire 40

Song of a Self 42

Entire Sermon by the Red Monk 43

In Safeway Parking Lots, Old Men Drive Slowly. Backwards. 44

The First Warm Day of the Year 44

Apotheosis of Leo 45

Circle Poems 46

Seasons 48

Eliotica Revisited 50

Skunk Cabbage 51

Corinna's Gone A-preying 52

Atlantis Was Crete 53

A Parable of Wasps 54

You Can't Burlesque It Anymore, - 1956

55 In Answer to a Question from P.W. 56

Compleynt at 38 57

Virgin at the Bus Stop 57

Concerning the Murder of Birds 58

Goldilocks 59

The Four Stories of Apple 60

Hiking Poem / High Sierra 61

Four Studies in Perception 64

Wobbly Rock 68

Two Like Villanelles 74

Lines to an Urban Dawn 76

Notes from a Pioneer on a Speck in Space 77

[I rate my fury with the] 78

Book II (1960-1964) Hermit Poems

Preface to Hermit Poems, The Bath 81

[Not yet 40, my beard is already white.] 83

[I know a man's supposed to have his hair cut short,] 84

[Apparently wasps] 85

[I burn up the deer in my body.] 86

[Step out onto the Planet.] 87

[The Empress herself served tea to Su Tung-po,] 88

[Whenever I make a new poem,] 89

[The image, as in a Hexagram:] 90

[I saw myself] 91

Book III (1960-1964) The Way Back

He Prepares to Take Leave of His Hut 95

He asks for Guidance 96

He Writes to the Donor of His Bowl 97

He Thanks His Woodpile 98

A Song to His Secret Farm 99

Farewell to His Birds and Animals 100

He Praises His Canyons & Peaks 101

He Greets, Again, the Open Road 101

He Finally Reaches the City 103

He Locates the Live Museum 106

He Begins to Recount His Adventures 108

He Explains It Another Way 115

Book IV (1964-1968) Din Poem, Courses

Din Poem 115

Supermarket Song 116

Courses 125

Course College Credo 125

Geography 126

History 126

Aesthetics 127

Math 127

Theology 128

Psychology 128

Botany 129

Philosophy 129

The Basic Con 130

Course College Graduation Address 131

Course College Oath 131

Book V (1969-1971) the Song MT. Tamalpais Sings

The Song Mt. Tamalpais Sings 135

Olema Satori 137

Sausalito Trash Prayer 138

Prayer to a Mountain Spring 138

The Riddle of Hands 139

The Riddle of Bowing 140

The Rider Riddle 142

Redwood Haiku 143

Difficulty along the Way 143

Warning of Tamalpais 144

Springtime in the Rockies, Lichen 145

Song of the Turkey Buzzard 147

Uncollected Poems

Editor's Note 155

The Importance of Autumn 159

Monologue of One Whom the Spring Found

Unaccompanied 160

Breakfast, One Easter 161

Sweet Death 161

Anecdote of Tangerines 162

Olympia Oysters 163

Not This Gradual Intelligence 164

The Uses of Poetry 165

Utensil 166

The Epiphany of Toffy Belsky 167

David Is Dead 168

Epithalamion 169

Compleynt of His Mistress 170

Words to That Effect 170

A Matter of Organ Stops and Starts 172

Large Little Circle 173

Seventh Grade 174

For Joseph Kepecs 175

Nightclub Scene: 20/Nov/58 176

For a Kyger Known by Another Name 178

Invention Against Invention 179

[First you must love your body, in games] 186

Pawn to Queen 4 187

"Everybody Calls Me Tricky, But My Real Name's Mr. Earl": A Sermon 189

Orange Take 190

In & Out, In & Out 192

[Three Songs in Rat Flat] 193

1 Without a Rifle, on a Cloudy Day 193

2 Shasta! 193

3 Buddhist Bard Turns Rat Slayer 194

[What a thing to know!] 196

Dane Poem 196

Graffiti 197

Small Turned on Song 200

Not Ready for Me 201

Small Book to Break The Brain 202

A Very Important Letter 203

Leo's Poet-Plight 204

Leo Gives Himself Yet Another Name 206

Lewie, You're a Goddam Jewel 207

Doctor, Can You Spell Nebuchadnezzar

Without Any Z? 207

Acedia 208

Maitreya Poem 210

How to Give Yourself Away: The Sermon of Gladness 213

[Postgraduate Courses] 219

Law 219

Comportment 219

A Poem for Gerard Malanga 219

[Prepositions] 220

I Sometimes Talk to Kerouac When I Drive 221

Dear Joanne, 221

Cement 222

Our Lady of Refused Love 223

Whalen's Feet 224

Small Sentence to Drive Yourself Sane 225

Dream Poem / Mother 225

Getting Bald 226

Mustache 226

A Memorable Fancy 227

Inflation 228

Frozen Pigeons 229

The Wanderer 231

A Statement of Poetics

Language Is Speech 235

A Brief Chronology 251

Index of Titles and First Lines 255

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