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Selected Poems
Keith Waldrop

2016 • 312 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry - American

$19.95 Paperback, 978-1-63243-020-5

Selected Poems by Keith Waldrop gathers work of the quiet major poet and major poet of quiet from between 1968 and 2013. Waldrop never strives; instead, he haunts—his presence is all the more powerful for barely being there, like a ghost discovered in a familiar photograph.”—Alex Crowly, Poetry Reviews, Publishers Weekly

Selected poems 1968-2013 from the esteemed poet, translator, and artist

Keith Waldrop is a quiet major poet, a major poet of quiet. His accomplishment is difficult to describe because his work refuses, in Bartelby-like fashion, the twin traps of impassivity and affectation: “On my one hand, / stasis -- on the / other, striving for effect.” In one of his very few interviews, Waldrop says: “I think the worst fault a poem can have is striving for effect.” Waldrop never strives; instead, he haunts—his presence is all the more powerful for barely being there, like a ghost you discover in a familiar photograph.

Reviews / Endorsements

“This big selection reaches back to 1968 and stretches forward into the last few years, making a case for a poet who has penned long sequences, stand-alone lyrics, miniatures reminiscent of Robert Creeley, ambling prose, and verse-chorus-verse song lyrics in the manner of Stephen Sondheim.”—American Poet

Selected Poems is important evidence of what a long life in poetry, in which “nothing could / possibly be out of the question” (18) because the key questions concern the nature of nothingness itself, can actively bring us back from the waters where nothingness lives, thus bringing that nothingness to life.”—Zach Savich, Jacket2

“Waldrop, winner of the 2009 National Book Award for Transcendental Studies, has long been an important and celebrated figure, both as a poet and translator, in contemporary American avant-garde poetics. This retrospective volume covers a career that spans nearly a half century, running from 1968’s A Windmill Near Calvary to 2013’s The Not Forever. Whether it’s his relatively straightforward early poems (“Money/ is pure spirit. It’s what you convert/ things into so as to carry their/ value without their weight”) or his more multifaceted later work (“as I was/ reading the/ book closed like an eyelid// universe immersed/ in sleep// refined to/ amethyst”), Waldrop’s poetry is grounded against the constantly shifting geometries of an oblique world by quiet traces of memory, ghosts, and a sensitive consciousness. Deploying a great range of formal devices and rhetorical tactics that reflect his work as a translator, teacher, and publisher, Waldrop (who, with his wife, Rosemarie Waldrop, edits Burning Deck books) has established his own brand of semitranscendental ecologically and psychologically astute poetics while displaying a perspective, sense of humor, phrasing, persona, and array of mannerisms that are distinctly American. “I love these wooden houses that/ the rich built, and we live in,” he writes in “Diminished Galleries.” This collection is an excellent introduction to an essential American poet—the “words lost/ in the music” that will leave readers wanting more.”—Publishers Weekly

“This gathering of Keith Waldrop’s poems written between 1968-2013 provides point-instants of light—taut messages whose music holds flesh to the bone. In these subtle, haunted poems, even punctuation can be transcendently attended through the ear. Reading this taut work filled with wordplay and insight, I recover memory traces present in ‘a little comma or/slightest/ pause.’ This collection is a quiet splendor.”—Susan Howe, author of Spontaneous Particulars: The Telepathy of Archives

Author Photo

KEITH WALDROP (born Emporia, Kansas, 1932) retired from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he still lives and, with Rosmarie Waldrop, is editor of the small press Burning Deck. His recent poetry books are The Not Forever (Omnidawn) and Transcendental Studies (University of California Press,National Book Award 2009). Siglio has published a book of collages, Several Gravities. His novel, Light While There Is Light, has been reissued by Dalkey Archive. He has translated Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil and Paris Spleen (Wesleyan University Press).

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:27:45 -0500