Lewis MacAdams

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MacAdams speaking at the opening of Marsh Street Nature Park in 2014

Lewis MacAdams (born October 12, 1944)[1] is an American poet, journalist, political activist, and filmmaker who lives in Los Angeles, California.

Life and work[edit]

MacAdams was born in San Angelo, Texas,[2] but grew up in Dallas, where he graduated from St. Mark's School of Texas in 1962.[3] He then graduated from Princeton University in 1966. He is the author of a dozen books and tapes of poetry, and his poems have appeared in many anthologies. In 2001, he published his Birth of The Cool, a cultural history of the idea of cool. As a journalist, MacAdams has been a contributing editor of the L.A. Weekly and has written regularly on culture and ecology for Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Los Angeles magazine.[4]

As a political activist, MacAdams is a cofounder of Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) established in 1985 (and has served as chair on their board of directors). FoLAR has been characterized by MacAdams as a "40 year art work" to bring the Los Angeles River back to life. In the years since, he has become the river’s most important and influential advocate. Among FoLAR’s many projects are an annual river clean-up, the "Gran Limpieza," which brings 2500 people down to the river every spring to clean up; and an ongoing series of conferences and planning workshops dealing with every aspect of the river. Two of its current major goals are to create a Los Angeles River Conservancy to oversee restoration of the river, and a River Watch program to improve the River’s water quality and target polluters[5]

In 1991, MacAdams received the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society’s annual Conservation Award.[6]The River: Books One, Two & Three, takes the Los Angeles River as its metaphor, weaving the story and song of the poet, activist and journalist as these three roles form the confluence which is the man.[7]

Selected publications[edit]


  • City Money: Poems. Burning Water (1966)
  • City Room
  • The Poetry Room. New York: Harper & Row; First Edition (January 1, 1970)
  • A Bolinas Report
  • Tilth
  • Dance, pamphlet. Canton: The Institute of Further Studies; first edition (January 1, 1972)
  • News From Niman Farm, Tombouctou Books, 1976; first edition (November 1976)
  • Live At The Church. Kulchur Foundation (1977)
  • Blind Date, pamphlet. Am Here Books/Immediate Editions; first edition (January 1, 1981)
  • The Angel (with Rita Degli Esposti & Gianantonio Pozzi)
  • Africa and The Marriage of Walt Whitman and Marilyn Monroe. Little Caesar Press (1982)
  • The River, Books One & Two. Palo Alto, CA: Blue Press, 1998
  • Birth of the Cool: Beat, Bebop, and the American Avant-Garde. New York: The Free Press, 2001
  • The Family Trees, (illustrated by Kim Abeles). Palo Alto, CA: Blue Press, 2001
  • A Poem for the Dawn of the Terror Years. Palo Alto, CA: Blue Press, 2003
  • The River: Books One, Two, and Three. Palo Alto, CA: Blue Press, revised second edition, 2007
  • Lyrics. Palo Alto, CA: Blue Press, 2009
  • Dear Oxygen. New Orleans, LA: University of New Orleans Press, 2011


  • To The Russian Women
  • And Now The News
  • Dear Oxygen (2007)


  • “Poetry and Politics.” Talking poetics from Naropa Institute : annals of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics V. 2. Ed. Anne Waldman and Marilyn Webb, Boulder, Colo. : Shambhala, 1979
  • Remembering Jim Carroll. Los Angeles Times. 16 September 2009.[8]
  • Lewis MacAdams and Linda Wagner-Martin (Fall 1968). "Robert Creeley, The Art of Poetry No. 10". The Paris Review.


  • directed (with Richard Lerner), What Happened to Kerouac? (1986) Documentary.


External links[edit]