Like his college roommate Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen took both poetry and Zen seriously. He became friends with Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Michael McClure, and played a key role in the explosive poetic revolution of the '50s and '60s. Celebrated for his wisdom and good humor, Whalen transformed the poem for a generation. His writing, taken as a whole, forms a monumental stream of consciousness (or, as Whalen calls it, "continuous nerve movie") of a wild, deeply read, and fiercely independent Americanone who refuses to belong, who celebrates and glorifies the small beauties to be found everywhere he looks. This long-awaited Selected Poems is a welcome opportunity to hear his influential voice again."
Philip Whalen spent fifteen years of formal Zen training in Santa Fe and San Francisco. He is currently the Abbot of Hartford Street Zen Center in San Francisco.