A great poet in a society "too busy" for poetry, Philip Lamantia is not a household name. Far from MTV and the talk shows, however, his reputation is assured and growing. At least to the "happy few" he is well known as the first major surrealist poet in the United States. He was in fact recognized as such at the age of fifteen, in a 1943 letter from André Breton, surrealism's principal founder, who went on to publish several of Lamantia's poems in the New York journal VVV (called Triple-V) the following year.1