Embarrassment of Survival:
Selected Poems, 1970-2000

Paul Vangelisti
Edited and Introduced by Standard Schaefer

Pub date 1/1/2001
Paperback 312 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-568-86101-2
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Following in the international avant-garde traditions, Paul Vangelisti’s remarkable formal experiments on the long poem have had a significant influence on the writers and poets of the West Coast avant-garde.

This volume brings together several important experiments in comic delirium to reveal the singularity of Vangelisti’s particular inquiries into dislocation, exile, corruption and the illusions of the inner life. Employing such forms as the novel-in-verse, collage, visual poetry, and Oulipean alphabet poems, Vangelisti’s work represents one of the most rigorous inquiries by an American into the essential poetic question: Is poetry nothing more than the language of failure? Always sensitive to struggle and loss, his response echoes that of all people for whom there has been nothing to lose but life itself. Arranged chronologically, this selection marks the progression of his humorous and acute investigation into what can be done.

Paul Vangelisti was born in San Francisco in 1945 and has lived in Los Angeles since 1968, where he has worked as a journalist, teacher and translator. He is the author of many books of poetry and has served as editor for the journals Invisible City and Ribot. Vangelisti edited (with Evan Calbi) the acclaimed anthology L.A. Exile: a Guide to Los Angeles Writing, 1932-1998 (Marsilio Publishers, 1999), and currently teaches at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.