The New York Times Book Review
Sleeping It Off in Rapid Cityby August Kleinzahler
The first broad retrospective of August Kleinzahler's career, Sleeping It Ofƒ in Rapid City gathers poems from his major works along with a rich portion of new poems that visit different voice registers, experiment with form and length, and confirm Kleinzahler as among the most inventive and brilliant poets of our time. Travelactual and imaginary&/i>
The first broad retrospective of August Kleinzahler's career, Sleeping It Ofƒ in Rapid City gathers poems from his major works along with a rich portion of new poems that visit different voice registers, experiment with form and length, and confirm Kleinzahler as among the most inventive and brilliant poets of our time. Travelactual and imaginaryremains a passion and inspiration, and in these pages the poet also finds "This sanctified ground / Here, yes, here / The dead solid center of the universe / At the heartof the heart of America."
The New York Times Book Review
The New York Times
The witty, gritty poet and memoirist Kleinzahler (The Strange Hours Travellers Keep) has produced chiseled, sometimes curt and finely observed free verse for decades. Kleinzahler has lived in Montreal, San Francisco, Vancouver, Portugal and Berlin; his sketches of characters and places from at least four continents include affectionately cynical portraits of hoodlums, odes to the autumn failures of baseball teams and swiftly cinematic depictions of Tartar hordes in medieval Europe, "ripping the ears off hussars." Hackensack, N.J.; the foggy Bay Area with its foggier ex-hippies; and northern European lakes and mountains all receive their due in a poetry that aspires to the feel of bebop and the delight of travel writing, that never bores and rarely repeats itself. New poems add to, rather than swerve away from, Kleinzahler's strengths in close observation and all-over-the-map diction, from slang to technical terms. Overheard speech in "Above Gower Street," a poem about the loneliness of international travel, ranges from an answering machine's anodyne messages to an explicit sexual come-on; in "Vancouver," "the neon mermaid over the fish place/ looks best that way, in the rain." This ninth book of poems and first trade press new-and-selected should bring this master of free verse lines even more admirers. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kleinzahler's tone might be world-weary, his characters slightly frayed, but each poem in this retrospective collection is perfectly, breathtakingly balanced to deliver its own precise world-as it plunges, deceptively, into the deep heart of things. After decades, Kleinzahler got some deserved recognition with his NBCC win. (LJ5/15/08)
“Offbeat, off hand, subtle, and unsettling . . . Longer acquaintance with Kleinzahler's verse brings greater admiration.” The Voice Literary Supplement
- Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- First Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 8.50(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.94(d)
Meet the Author
August Kleinzahler was born in Jersey City in 1949. He is the author of ten books of poems and a memoir, Cutty, One Rock. His most recent book of poetry, The Strange Hours Travelers Keep, was awarded the 2004 Griffin Poetry Prize. He lives in San Francisco.
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