Red Sauce, Whiskey and Snow: Poems

Overview

This is a book of jazzy, edgy, adventuresome poems from the author of Earthquake Weather and Like Cities, Like Storms. Ever aware, ever vivid, ever focused, Kleinzahler's are some of the finest lyrics being produced in American poetry today. "Pieces of ordinary talk are Kleinzahler's strong suit," as Helen Vendler observed in Parnassus, "because they occur in his glancing, alert rhythms. . . . [His] jaunty skips and riffs solace the ear." Red Sauce, Whiskey and Snow presents an experimental poetry of exceptional ...

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Red Sauce, Whiskey and Snow: Poems

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Overview

This is a book of jazzy, edgy, adventuresome poems from the author of Earthquake Weather and Like Cities, Like Storms. Ever aware, ever vivid, ever focused, Kleinzahler's are some of the finest lyrics being produced in American poetry today. "Pieces of ordinary talk are Kleinzahler's strong suit," as Helen Vendler observed in Parnassus, "because they occur in his glancing, alert rhythms. . . . [His] jaunty skips and riffs solace the ear." Red Sauce, Whiskey and Snow presents an experimental poetry of exceptional wit and control.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Kleinzahler makes lyric sense of urban grit and neon. His wide-awake poems have an intimacy of attention new to American writing. Read him slowly: study the details: every phase is an event."—Guy Davenport

"Kleinzahler's poems in Red Sauce, Whiskey, and Snow twitch and jerk and snap their fingers at you all the time. High and low vocabularies hang out together. They are hectic, pulsing things, ever alive to the music of words when spoken. The atmosphere is that of some all-night emporium in which every item is on sale for one dollar. In these democratic qualities, they take us back to Walt Whitman and his inventive restlessness with words. They are expansive, energetic and, from time to time, a touch crazed: an authentically American voice."—The Economist

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kleinzahler's first major collection since Earthquake Weather (1989), which was nominated for an NBCC Award, is his first volume published by a trade press. One of the few contemporary poets clearly influenced by both the Ojectivist tradition and the more formal, academic poets, he combines a meticulous eye (``Peaches redden,/ and at day's end glow as if lit from within/ the way bronze does'') with surrealistic perception (objects moved to make room ``For the big white cloud spiring across the river''). Short lines and frequent stanza breaks make for quick movement through most of the poems, where all five senses are engaged by edgy rhythms and kinetic images: ``his pretty nerves bloom,/ a school of minnows just under the skin.'' In the estimable ``San Francisco/New York,'' the poet wanders San Francisco after a friend's departure, drawing readers into a used bookshop to smell the dried-out glue of each volume, and, outside, to see as if for the first time gabled roofs, the streetcar, the hills. Addicted to city life, Kleinzahler brings us the homeless, the alcoholic, the distraught. Although there are also enough failed poems-some mere exercises-to form a chapbook, the finest poems reward both first readings and later, closer attention. (Apr.)
Library Journal
In this high-voltage, highly readable new book of poems, Kleinzahler evokes two distinct landscapes, each with its own diction and imagery. The first is a jagged urban space inhabited by the likes of Jimmy the Lush, a place where "tributaries of Amaretto and Schlitz" meander through the broken glass, a world where "Eddie took a shiv in his gut" and old people fall apart "like vintage Studebakers." But set against this tragic cityscape of "bummy" smells and anthrax is an utterly beautiful, "insect-simple" world of nature where "the pattern discloses itself" in the form of damselflies and the "ganglia of dark branches"-a space always available "if you just slowed down." Verbally inventive, Kleinzahler approaches the level of "language poetry," as in this line on Operation Desert Storm: "Assault plasma star launch." Like all good poets, he makes what is "dormant" in the reader become "electric." Highly recommended.-Daniel L. Guillory, Millikin Univ., Decatur, Ill.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374524722
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 5/30/1996
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.26 (d)

Meet the Author

August Kleinzahler published his first book of poetry, A Calendar of Airs, in 1978. Since then, he has published seven others. In 2003, Farrar, Straus and Giroux published The Strange Hours Travelers Keep, which won the 2004 Griffin International Poetry Prize. His most recent collection of poetry, Sleeping It Off in Rapid City, won the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award. He is also the author of two books of prose, Cutty, One Rock: Low Characters and Strange Places, Gently Explained (FSG, 2004) and Music: I-LXXIV (Pressed Wafer, 2009), and the winner of the 2008 Lannan Literary Award for Poetry. A native of Fort Lee, New Jersey, Kleinzahler currently lives in San Francisco.

 

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Table of Contents

Land's End 3
The Park 5
The Wind in March 7
Bubble 9
Disclosures 11
After Catullas 12
A Glass of Claret on a Difficult Morning 14
As the World Turns 16
The Damselfly 17
The Festival 18
Poem 19
Peaches in November 21
Cat in Late Autumn 22
A Case in Point 23
Song 25
The Year of the Key 26
Winter Ball 27
Crunching Numbers 29
Dream Juice 31
East of the Library, Across from the Odd Fellows Building 32
Heebie-Jeebies 34
Jump Tune 36
Spring Trances 38
Reno 40
Reno: Hard-Boiled 41
Flynn's End 44
Visits 47
San Francisco/ New York 51
Late Winter Morning on the Palisades 53
Who Stole the Horses from the Indians? 54
Follain's Paris 56
Pageant: Rue de Rivoli 60
Poem Beginning with a Fragment from Bartleby the Scrivener 62
A Valentine 64
Going 65
The Old Schoolyard in August 67
Outside the Restaurant 68
Rooms 70
Watching Dogwood Blossoms Fall in a Parking Lot off Route 46 72
Two Canadian Landscapes 73
A Fable 75
Aubade on East 12th Street 77
Bruce Richard's Trip Down 78
Pieces of Summary 83
Sapphics in Traffic 85
Ruined Histories 86
A Small Lament 87
The Porcelain Ink-Boat 89
Red Sauce, Whiskey and Snow: A Still Life on Two Moving Panels 90
Sunday, Across the Tasman 92
Green River Cemetery: Springs 94
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