Before he vanished in the fog of San Francisco, Weldon Kees (1914–55) was a poet, storyteller, critic, painter, musician, and filmmaker. What remains is a body of work and a large collection of letters that shed light on Kees’s complex personality. Robert E. Knoll traces the odyssey of a Nebraska boy who made his way in a fiercely competitive national scene, befriending the movers and shakers of the art worlds on both coasts. Kees’s letters—satirical, witty, poetic, gossipy, intensely individual—provide the feel of lives being lived, of a career going forth, and finally, of the darkness that engulfed him when, in Knoll's phrase, he was "ten minutes from triumph."
Robert E. Knoll is D. B. and Paula Varner Professor of English Emeritus at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He is the author of Conversations with Wright Morris: Critical Views and Responses (Nebraska 1977).