Born in Pittsburgh, Jack Gilbert (1925-2012) dropped out of high school and worked as an exterminator and door-to-door salesman before turning to poetry. He was active in the San Francisco Renaissance, which saw that city become a hub of avant-garde poetry. Though he participated in Jack Spicer's famous “Poetry as Magic” workshop in 1957 and was surrounded by Beat poets, Gilbert was more influenced by Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. His first collection, Views of Jeopardy (1962), was nominated for Pullizter Prize, as was his second collection, Monolithos, which appeared twenty years later after stints in Greece, England, and Japan. Gilbert wrote often of his romantic partners, including sculptor Michiko Nogami.

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