Robert Kelly

Poet and fiction writer Robert Kelly was born in 1935 in Brooklyn and educated at CCNY and Columbia, where he studied medieval literature and linguistics.  His first book, Armed Descent, was published in 1961; since then he has published over sixty more,  most recently the novel The Book from the Sky, the long poem Fire Exit, and his fifth collection of short stories, The Logic of the World.  He has been especially interested in collaborations with artists (The Garden of Distances, Shame) and other poets (Mont Blanc, Unquell the Dawn Now).  He was a founder of Chelsea and Trobar, and an editor of Caterpillar, Alcheringa, and Conjunctions.  He is the Asher B. Edelman Professor of Literature at Bard College, where  he started the writing program in the Milton Avery Graduate School.  He co-directs the Program in Written Arts.  He lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife, the translator Charlotte Mandell.

For more on Kelly, including an archive of downloadable texts, visithttp://www.rk-ology.com/

 

 

Cruise of the Pnyx, The

Robert Kelly

The Cruise of the Pnyx is an enigmatic and urbane work in prose, verse, and an original typographic marriage of the two. The author describes the work as "a narrative poem bearing in from the afterlife; being born is finding this island."

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Robert Kelly

The Cruise of the Pnyx is an enigmatic and urbane work in prose, verse, and an original typographic marriage of the two. The author describes the work as "a narrative poem bearing in from the afterlife; being born is finding this island."


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Flowers of Unceasing Coincidence, The

Returning from India in 1983, haunted by geometric relationships between economies and persons, by images of new ways of being alive that he had seen, Robert Kelly began this long poem...

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Returning from India in 1983, haunted by geometric relationships between economies and persons, by images of new ways of being alive that he had seen, Robert Kelly began this long poem. The Persian Gulf, the oil wars we inhabit, transgression and invasion, are motives as the text tries to escape the false comforts of continuity and reach the space that opens between words.


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Scorpions, The

Robert Kelly

This classic hallucinatory thriller of the 1960s, newly available, is a book charged with sexual obsession and haunted by the sense that all narrative is itself obsessive and violent...

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Robert Kelly

This classic hallucinatory thriller of the 1960s, newly available, is a book charged with sexual obsession and haunted by the sense that all narrative is itself obsessive and violent. The Scorpions is Robert Kelly’s early novel about a psychiatrist who begins to believe one of his patient’s paranoid inventions and searches for hard evidence in a funny, crazy, sometimes dark, even spooky American world that cooperates with what he wants to find in it.


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Sentence

Robert Kelly

“Sentence is not a sentence but an investigation of what a sentence might be..."

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Robert Kelly

“Sentence is not a sentence but an investigation of what a sentence might be. Explorations along the way are always of pivotal situations – each word or phrase is encouraged to be itself, that is, to present the three faces all things possess: past, present and to come. The poem pretends to arrive at a text of itself, though God knows a whole life might not suffice to speak a single genuine sentence” – Author’s Statement.


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Uncertainties

Robert Kelly

Fall 2011

Call and response.  The breathing body of poetry from the beginning. The psalms of David, the wave of them, rise and fall of plainchant, verse and response...

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Robert Kelly

Call and response. The breathing body of poetry from the beginning. The psalms of David, the wave of them, rise and fall of plainchant, verse and response. The constantly shifting pause between the half-lines of Old English poetry and the poems of the Edda, the half-lines of the Kalevala swayed out four-handed on the saga bench. So I thought towards the two-line stanza as experiments in duration, in complex syntactic and melodic demands. The melody of the first line necessitates the melody of the next. Shape shaping shape. Formally, the poem engages with one constraint: each line wants to be semantically intact—ideally, any line could stand alone, be my Last Words, my epitaph. Yet it also must link syntactically or narratively with the line that follows. And each stanza must stand in like relation with the stanzas before and after. This requirement extends to line structure something that I’ve worked with for years (usually furtively): hypersyntax, where phrases link with what comes before or after, or plausibly stand alone. Uncertainties tries to use these strategies in “mental strife,” to solicit the dissolving of certainties—in between the inbreath and the outbreath, where nothing is fixed, and freedom begins.


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