Synopses & Reviews
This is the first volume of North Atlantic Books hardcover edition of Dale Pendell's Pharmako
trilogy, an encyclopedic study of the history and uses of psychoactive plants and related synthetics first published between 1995 and 2005. The books form an interrelated suite of works that provide the reader with a unique, reliable, and often personal immersion in this medically, culturally, and spiritually fascinating subject. All three books are beautifully designed and illustrated, and are written with unparalleled authority, erudition, playfulness, and range.
Pharmako/Poeia: Plant Powers, Poisons, and Herbcraft focuses on familiar psychoactive plant-derived substances and related synthetics, ranging from the licit (tobacco, alcohol) to the illicit (cannabis, opium) and the exotic (absinthe, salvia divinorum, nitrous oxide). Each substance is explored in detail, not only with information on its history, pharmacology, preparation, and cultural and esoteric correspondences, but also the subtleties of each plant's effect on consciousness in a way that only poets can do. The whole concoction is sprinkled with abundant quotations from famous writers, creating a literary brew as intoxicating as its subject.
The Pharmako series is continued in Pharmako/Dynamis (focusing on stimulants and empathogens) and Pharmako/Gnosis (which addresses psychedelics and shamanic plants).
About the Author
Plant student Dale Pendell established himself as one of the foremost popular exponents of shamanic ethnobotany with his unprecedented Pharmako
trilogy. A noted poet, he was the founding editor of the avant-garde magazine Kuksu
and a co-founder of the Primitive Arts Institute and has led workshops on ethnobotany and ethnopoetics for the Naropa Institute and the Omega Institute. Pendell was part of the Oracular Madness theme camp at Burning Man for a number of years (his book Inspired Madness: The Gifts of Burning Man
was published by Frog Books in 2006). Also an experienced computer scientist, he lives in California's Sierra foothills.
Foreword author Gary Snyder is well known as a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Beat-era associate of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg and as a pioneering environmental thinker and activist.