The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees (Third Edition)
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The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees (Third Edition)

4.38 of 5 stars 4.38  ·  rating details  ·  170 ratings  ·  14 reviews
The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees showcases the dark brilliance and absorbing vision of one of America’s most fascinating artistic and literary figures, Weldon Kees (1914–55).
Paperback, 180 pages
Published December 1st 2003 by Bison Books (first published December 1st 1975)
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To be honest I picked up this book up because of the photograph on the front cover. i thought ' what a stylish man.' i also liked the image in the back of him - which looked like an announcement for a painting show. He was also a painter among other things. But it is a poet that we are here now.

I imagine if Cornell Woolrich wrote poetry and he was fascinated with the downfall of life in general -you would have the poetry of Kees. What is remarkable about his work is that he's like a master surge...more
Jim Coughenour
Like many others, I found my way to Weldon Kees (1914 - 1955) via Donald Justice, who almost single-handedly rescued Kees from obscurity. Don Paterson (in his anthology, 101 Sonnets) called Kees one of the "most unremittingly bleak poets ever to wield the pen." Or in the image of Justice, "The wall cracks; the stain spreads; he does not budge from his chair."

Kees was a man of many talents — not only as a poet, but as an abstract expressionist painter, an art critic, a jazz musician, an organizer...more
Unlike most others, I came upon Weldon Kees, not through the usual Donald Justice way, but, in the book drop of the Berkeley Public library when I was still working there. I picked up the tattered paperback and loved it on the spot. Weldon Kees is a much under-appreciated poet/renaissance man. True, he's as gloomy as T. S. Eliot and Auden, but what an original voice. You should really check him out, especially those of us who have a more pessimistic/realistic sensibility.

Here's my poem from my...more
Oct 31, 2008 Andrew rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of The Bridge, both the poem and the documentary
Do you wear a web over your wasted worth?
I wear a web.

Do you fear the keyhole's splintered eye?
I fear the eye.

Can you hear the worthless morning's mirth?
I hear it.

The broken braying from whitening skies?
Yes I hear it yes.

To spend the end and feed the fire
Is day's insistence, night's demand:
To pay the unrequested fare
And wave the wavering wand.

The streets are full of broken glass,
Sparkling in this frenzied noon.
With naked feet and banaged eyes
You'll walk them - not just now, but soon.
I haven't read any Kees in a couple of years but remember loving it.
so carefully written. delicate. and bleak. damned bleak.
Donald Justice saved this poet from obscurity. Kees remains an enigma. The man simply disappeared. His car was found near the Golden Gate. Many assume suicide. I loved his collected poems. Mr. Justice did the world a service worthy of his surname by giving this volume the attention it deserves.
Oleg Kagan
An excellent poet with a mysterious death.

There are Villanelles in this book and other verse forms as well as free verse. Various subjects. Occasionally moody. Actually, quite depressive. Will surely have to return to Weldon Kees sometime soon.
Ross Cohen
If Eliot wrote short poems with the form and focus of Elizabeth Bishop and the thematic tendencies of Elmore Leonard, he'd be something like Weldon Kees (But probably not as cool).
This is one of my favourite little collections of modern American poetry. He's just a little outside of it all, at every moment. I love to read this every couple of years.
R L Swihart
Earlier poems are echoes of Eliot. Not all of the poems are great, but there are certainly enough gems to keep you reading (and wanting more).
Read bits and pieces of this--odd that he's not really read very widely anymore, I think he could really jive with contemporary poets.
"...all covering his sad and usual heart, dry as a winter leaf."
Brendan Ford
My favorite poet.
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Weldon Kees was born in Beatrice, Nebraska, on February 24, 1914. His father, John Kees, owned a hardware store. As a boy, Kees had an interest in music, art, and writing. He also published his own movie magazine. In 1935, he graduated from the University of Nebraska with a B.A. degree. While still in college, Kees began to publish fiction in many mid-western literary magazines.

Kees began to write...more
More about Weldon Kees...
Selected Short Stories Weldon Kees and the Midcentury Generation: Letters, 1935-1955 Fall Quarter The Ceremony & Other Stories Reviews and Essays, 1936-55

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“What other hope does life hold out
But the miraculous, the skilled and patient
Execution, the teamwork, all the pain and worry every miracle involves?”
“But the room is cold, the words in the books are cold;
And the question of whether we get what we ask for
Is absurd, unanswered by the sound of an unlatched door
Rattling in wind, or the sound of snow on roofs, or glare
Of the winter sun. What we have learned is not what we were told.
I watch the snow, feel for the heartbeat that is not there.”
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