The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees


The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees

Third Edition

Weldon Kees
Edited by Donald Justice
With a new introduction by David Wojahn

180 pages


December 2003


$18.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

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).

Author Bio

Donald Justice is a preeminent American poet whose books include Oblivion: On Writers and Writing and New and Selected Poems. Distinguished poet David Wojahn is a professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University. His collections of poetry include Spirit Cabinet and Strange Good Fortune: Essays on Contemporary Poetry.


“Kees was both a gifted lyric poet and a restless experimenter, whose diverse background as an abstract expressionist painter, a jazz pianist and composer, and a filmmaker enriched his sense of formal possibilities.”—Poetry Magazine

“The true impulse of [Kees’s] work shows in its constantly surprising inventiveness and in the certainty and naturalness of its speech.”—Hudson Review

“Not many poets can do better than this; not many ever have. . . . This is poetry to read over and over again.”—The Village Voice

“[The] narrator-hero . . . is Robinson Crusoe, utterly alone on Madison Avenue, a stranger and afraid in the world of high-paying news weeklies, fashionable galleries, jazz concerts, highbrow movies, sophisticated reviews – the world in which Weldon Kees was eminently successful. When he said, in these gripping poems, that it filled him with absolute horror, he meant it. On July 18, 1955, his car was found on the approach to Golden Gate Bridge. He has never been seen since.”—New York Times Book Review

“The fellow-feeling here is too bitter for comfort, and the sole alleviation we can offer, fifty years since Kees made his exit, is to recognize the quality of his own struggle. It was fitful but never fraudulent; it bore the imprint, in the verse, of a skill and patience that he was seldom able to wield in his private distress; and toward the end, it glimmered with enticing rumors of tranquility.”—Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

“Donald Justice…is cited as noting in 1960 that Kees is the sort of master readers discover for themselves, by accident.”—Matt Smith, SF Weekly

“Kees is back in print now, thanks to the scholarship and proselytizing of poets like Armitage, Donald Justice, Hugo Williams, David Wojahn and Dana Gioia, and to splendid publishing on the part of the University of Nebraska Press, which issues, not only the key text.”—Richard Rayner, Los Angeles Times

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