Paul Vangelisti was born in San Francisco in 1945 and graduated from the University of San Francisco in 1967 with a B.A. in English and philosophy. He attended Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland) for a year as a research fellow and moved to Los Angeles in 1968 to attend the University of Southern California, from which he was awarded a Master of Arts in literature in 1970. Vangelisti started a poetry magazine, Invisible City, in 1971 with John McBride, a friend in San Francisco. They also initiated the book publishing company Red Hill Press. After Invisible City ceased publication with its 26th issue in 1982, Vangelisti sucessively worked on the periodicals Boxcar, which he co-founded with Leland Hickman; Forehead, co-published by Beyond Baroque Foundation; Lowghost ; and currently Ribot . He also co-founded Littoral Books as a co-operative publishing outfit with fellow Los Angeles poets Dennis Phillips, Martha Ronk, and Jed Rasula. Vangelisti has edited a half-dozen anthologies of poetry, including one each in Italian and Polish. His anthologies of Los Angeles area poets, such as Specimin '73, were among the first such collections to begin defining the historical trajectory of post-World War II poetry in Southern California. His first such volume, Anthology of L.A. Poets, was co-edited with Charles Bukowski and Neeli Cherkovski. Most recently he edited L.A. Exiles, an anthology of displaced Los Angeles writers.
Vangelisti is the author of almost twenty collections of poetry, including Air (1973), Portfolio (1978), Another You (1980), Villa (1991), Rime (1983), and Nemo (1995). He was awarded a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1988. Vangelisti is also well-known as a translator of Italian poetry, particularly experimental poets such as Adriano Spatola and Antonio Porta.
Vangelisti has collaborated with a number of visual artists, such as William Xerra and Don Suggs, as well as dance troupes. He also produced many broadcasts of poetry readings through a long association with Pacifica radio station KPFK in Los Angeles, where he worked as a cultural affairs director between 1974 and 1982. While in that position, he initiated and directed L.A.T.E. (Los Angeles Theater of the Ear), which produced both live and recorded radio theater broadcasts of classic plays by Pirandello and Brecht, as well as contemporary playwrights. Vangelisti also worked as a print journalist for the Hollywood Reporter between 1972 and 1974.
Vangelisti is currently the chair of the MFA writing program at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.
From the guide to the Paul Vangelisti Papers, 1970-2009, (Mandeville Special Collections Library)