Biography of August Kleinzahler
August Kleinzahler (born December 10, 1949 in Jersey City, New Jersey) is an American poet.
Until he was 11, he went to school in Fort Lee, New Jersey, where he grew up. He then commuted to the Horace Mann School in the Bronx, graduating in 1967. He wrote poetry from this time, inspired by Keats and Kenneth Rexroth translations, among other works. He started college at the University of Wisconsin–Madison but dropped out and after taking a year out of school, he ended up, 1971, at the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Drawn to the New York poets, including Frank O’Hara, Kleinzahler then discovered the work of Basil Bunting, who had a major influence on Kleinzahler's search for his own voice in poetry. He described Bunting's 1966 long poem Briggflatts (which its author described as "an autobiography, but not a statement of fact") as "everything I wanted in poetry.” Bunting taught a creative writing course at Victoria: "He began with some poems by Hardy and Hopkins, The Wreck of the Deutschland, and went up to Yeats and Pound, then David Jones, Williams, the poets who were important to Bunting, Hugh MacDiarmid, Lorine Niedecker, and H.D. All he did was smoke unfiltered Player’s and read to us". The Anglo-American poet Thom Gunn (1929–2004) was also a major influence: "the honest treatment of the poetic material at hand, not slipping into rhetorical or poetic postures, inflating subject matter or dodging difficulty," Kleinzahler explained in an interview in The Paris Review in the fall of 2007. Gunn would become a close friend. William Carlos Williams was also an important source of inspiration.
August Kleinzahler Poems
Weasel and the Ponce were having a confab under the chinaberry tree, in the shade of the dusty old tree— pious Weasel, indefatigable Ponce.
How much meat moves Into the city each night The decks of its bridges tremble In the liquefaction of sodium light And the moon a chemical orange
The Strange Hours Travelers Keep
The markets never rest Always they are somewhere in agitation Pork bellies, titanium, winter wheat Electromagnetic ether peppered with photons
As You Never Bothered to Return My Call
What I had wanted was to be chaste, sober and uncomfortable for a sprawling episode on a beach somewhere dirty, perennially out of fashion;
The Tartar Swept
The Tartar swept across the plain In their furs and silk panties Snub-nose monkey men with cinders for eyes
East of the Library, Across from the Odd...
That bummy smell you meet off the escalator at Civic Center, right before you turn onto McAllister, seems to dwell there, disembodied,
Before Dawn on Bluff Road
The crow's raw hectoring cry scoops clean an oval divot of sky, its fading echo among the oaks and poplars swallowed
A faint smell of urine embroidering that bouquet of mold the big cushions give off days the fog won't lift,
The Dog Stoltz
The dog Stoltz pushed his paw pads into my neck, the warm, beaten leather deep under my chin, and let slip the one paw to up near my mouth
Green Sees Things In Waves
Green first thing each day sees waves— the chair, armoire, overhead fixtures, you name it, waves—which, you might say, things really are,
How much meat moves
Into the city each night
The decks of its bridges tremble
In the liquefaction of sodium light
And the moon a chemical orange
Semitrailers strain their axles
Shivering as they take the long curve
Over warehouses and lofts