Keith Waldrop is the author of many books, including Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy, which won a 2009 National Book Award in Poetry. He has also translated many works by writers such as Claude Royet-Journoud, Anne-Marie Albiach, and Charles Baudelaire. He taught at Brown University from 1968 until his retirement and is the recipient of many awards and fellowships from institutions such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fund for Poetry. Together, with Rosmarie Waldrop, he is a cofounder and coeditor of Burning Deck Press, which operated for fifty-six years, from 1961 to 2017.
(Author photo by Renate von Mangoldt)
His poems explore the desire for something beyond the visible, and confront the nothing that is there. But that’s not just a journey of despair; it’s also a recovery of wonder before the actual world—each grain of sand, and the relations between grains.
—Ben Lerner, Paris Review
More than any impulse toward beauty or craft, though, the desire to reach toward resolution feels like the engine of Waldrop's poetry. Rational, evidentiary, essayistic philosophical arguments so strongly underpin the work at every turn that the very existence of these poems seems to critique the limits of logical discourse. . . . Waldrop yearns . . . for "a phenomenology of ignorance" and "a fine irrational intelligence," searching for qualities that might allow us fallen creatures to transcend "the broken / symmetry we wander through.”
—Daniel E. Pritchard, Medium
From the beginning, his poetry is interested in the unknown and unknowable, an active seeking that nonetheless preserves elusion. The only thing that is certain for Waldrop is that things won’t stay the same.
—Sean Pears, Colorado Review
Waldrop’s poetry is grounded against the constantly shifting geometries of an oblique world by quiet traces of memory, ghosts, and a sensitive consciousness. Deploying a great range of formal devices and rhetorical tactics that reflect his work as a translator, teacher, and publisher, Waldrop . . . has established his own brand of semitranscendental, ecologically and psychologically astute poetics while displaying a perspective, sense of humor, phrasing, persona, and array of mannerisms that are distinctly American.
Reviews of Books by Keith Waldrop
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