Lamantia began writing poetry in grade school and was expelled from junior high for "intellectual delinquency" when he immersed himself in the work of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. At age sixteen, after being introduced to surrealism by the Miro and Dali retrospectives at the San Francisco Museum of Art, he began to write surrealist poetry. Shortly afterward, Lamantia left home to join the Surrealists in New York City and was welcomed by Andre Breton as "a voice that rises once a hundred years." In 1955, he was the first poet who read at the famous Six Gallery reading where his friend Allen Ginsberg first read Howl.
This page contains links to many informative essays and articles. Here is a splendid portrait of the poet by Harry Redl.