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Sleeping It Off in Rapid City Paperback – February 1, 2011
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Praise for August Kleinzahler: "[Kleinzahler's] scope is large, his diction wildly exact, his line inventive, his means varied, and he never condescends." --Maureen N. McLane, "The New York Times Book Review""" "Erudite, restless, intellectually curious, alert to what goes on around him from the moment he opens his eyes in the morning, [Kleinzahler] brings to mind Frank O'Hara . . . Wonderful." --Charles Simic, "The New York Review of Books""" "Kleinzahler mixes the pungent and the delicate, the literary and the colloquial, to create a fine, technicolor-like excess." --John Palattella, "The Los Angeles Times""Kleinzahler is perhaps America's most linguistically gifted poet . . . Exquisitely fresh." --John Freeman, "San Francisco Chronicle""[Kleinzahler] is, first and last, a craftsman, a maker of lines . . . He never says more than he should . . . and keeps his focus not on the man who speaks the poems . . . but on what that man sees and on what he can hear."--Stephen Burt, "The New
About the Author
August Kleinzahler was born in Jersey City in 1949. He is the author of many books of poems and a prose memoir, Cutty, One Rock. The Strange Hours Travelers Keep won the International Griffin Poetry Prize (2004), Sleeping It Off in Rapid City the National Book Critics Circle Award. He lives in San Francisco.
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Take the genius of "I went to see McCarthy," in which the narrator lifts off by plane from a sere mid-west America to revisit "old arguments" in Ireland. He leaves behind "a parched bare land of yellow ochre" and enters Ireland ("swaddled in cloud, all grey and green"). The poem reveals McCarthy's town and his country in the way one might buff a brass image--going over the same area until its shape is gradually made bare and deeply shining. Through echoed images and repeated phrases, still trailing bits of the flat and dry Midwest behind us, we gradually enter the green land, its past and its way of telling stories--gradually enter until we are totally immersed in green. In green and green--learning as we go about the heroic battles that are required to come up with a good pat of Skibbereen butter, and that if something sounds good when you say it once, you might as well say it twice.
So I will: Kleinzahler writes fine poems.
This is poetry to be relished, read aloud, read to people you love. Such a joy to read him. Believe it or not, there are poets who have an ear, understand how words can sing, and actually can count syllables, can rhyme, and have read poetry that is more than 10 years old.