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Sallies, Romps, Portraits, and Send-Offs

Sallies, Romps, Portraits, and Send-Offs

Selected Prose, 2000-2016

August Kleinzahler

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


Sixteen years’ worth of incisive essays by the great poet and memoirist

“Witty, gritty poet and memoirist Kleinzahler” (Publishers Weekly) has gathered the best of sixteen years’ worth of essays, remembrances, and reviews in this scabrous and essential collection, setting down his thoughts about great poets and bad poets, about kvetching fiction writers and homicidal musicians, about eccentric critics and discerning nobodies, always with insight and humor, and never suffering fools gladly.

Here, in Sallies, Romps, Portraits, and Send-Offs, August Kleinzahler eulogizes famous friends, warts and all (Thom Gunn, Christopher Middleton, Leonard Michaels); leads the charge in carving up a few bloated reputations (E. E. Cummings, Richard Brautigan); and sings the praises of unjustly neglected masters (Lucia Berlin, Kenneth Cox). He also turns the spotlight on himself in several short, delightful memoirs, covering such subjects as his obsessive CD collecting, the eerie effects of San Francisco fog, and the terrible duty of selling of his childhood home.

Praise for Sallies, Romps, Portraits, and Send-Offs

"Aficionados of this esteemed San Francisco writer’s work know him, perhaps primarily, as a poet gifted with a lean but luxuriant language of place . . . You can’t read this writer without knowing exactly where he is and where he’s been. The pleasures and gratifications of his prose are by no means merely geographical. With his pellucid style, which seems at once expansive and tightly wrought, patiently intuitive and purposeful, Kleinzahler is exceptionally good at tracking not only his own often adamant thoughts and abundant enthusiasms . . . but at registering the felt life of the world and people around him . . ." —Steven Winn, San Francisco Chronicle

"Kleinzahler is a plain speaker who knows his way around a sentence and understands the duty of a critic. He exhibits taste and good sense, he knows the difference between judgment and opinion, and he picks just the right quotations . . . By turns wistful, sardonic, wry, and occasionally silly, this collection offers genuine pleasure." —Michael Autrey, Booklist

"Tasty literary assessments served with a dollop of gossip." —Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

August Kleinzahler

August Kleinzahler was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1949. He is the author of eleven books of poems and a memoir, Cutty, One Rock. His collection The Strange Hours Travelers Keep was awarded the 2004 Griffin Poetry Prize, and Sleeping It Off in Rapid City won the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry. That same year he received a Lannan Literary Award. He lives in San Francisco.

image of August Kleinzahlero
Mark Savage

August Kleinzahler

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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