It's a shame, the re-issue of this anthology is almost batting .1000 —
it has a lush cover photograph of the poet Bobbie Louise Hawkins
by Gerard Malanga, who not only captures the time element of the late 1960s,
but Malanga has always had an affectionate eye for cats.
This anthology was first published by City Lights in 1971
and this expanded edition draws in an aura of American poetry
including Black Mountain poets, San Francisco Renaissance, Beat,
and the NewYork School of poets, and for a change digs into
the ground and finds at least one half of Coyote's Journal poetry (Bill Brown)
but badly misses James Koller — a close friend with many in this
anthology and a sure hand of the California poem.
As they say in that funny world: it's the only reason why I
can't give this book 5 Stars.
A thorough biographical index of each poet would have
also been a treat and finished off a sterling package.
Nonetheless, the new anthology is beautifully edited —
you can sense certain poets touching certain poets —
for instance Joanne Kyger touching Tom Clark
touching Jim Carroll touching Bill Berkson.
The Song Cave makes terrific books, each title comes off the block
similar but unique, much as New Directions used to make them and
how we used to go hunting for them. Black spine, same square size,
cool and fashionable, neat typeface, and an exciting range
of poets. You absolutely can't go wrong.
Just not perfect, yet.
[ BA ]