While famous for his celebrated novel, Under the Volcano, Malcolm Lowry always considered himself a poet. First published in 1962 and long out of print, Selected Poems of Malcolm Lowry is the only comprehensive selection of his poetry to be published, and it remains the perfect introduction to his extensive poetic canon. Edited by Lowry’s good friend, renowned Canadian poet Earle Birney, with the assistance of his widow, Margerie Lowry, the selection includes extraordinary poems written during Lowry’s stay in Mexico, many of which are closely related to his novel. This new edition includes a “Publisher’s Note” from Lawrence Ferlinghetti. “These poems would be worth keeping in print, if for no other reason, for their illuminations of Under the Volcano: ‘See mind’s petal / torn from a good tree, but where shall it settle / But in the last darkness and at the end?’ Sometimes, as the images of “For Under the Volcano,” they become ‘palm-of-the-hand’ versions of that masterpiece. Lowry is a poet of struggle–with life, and with the creative process.
Here are his struggle’s fruits: guilt, alcoholism, hopeless, self-deriding quest for salvation, which seems to be love, and, above all, self-destruction–but always accomplished with self-knowledge, enriched (in order to further torment itself) with compassion for all the beings that the poet, and us with him, are failing. His words are always sad and often beautiful.”-William T. Vollman