With candles burning in devotional space and stairs leading to inked occult openings, Several Gravities brilliantly documents the “potential random” so generative to Keith Waldrop’s wizardry as visual artist, prose stylist, and master poet. Whatever he compels—or compels him—is living, shining, astonishing.
This juxtaposition of prose commentary, verse and collage is a fascinating and illuminating work in itself. Several Gravities also serves as a bright window onto the landscape of Keith Waldrop’s poetics and creative life. It is suffused with his ineffable mix of gentle irony, humor and incisiveness, a tonal palette I have much admired across the decades of his deeply imaginative engagement with poetry, prose, drama and the visual arts.
For nearly four decades, Keith Waldrop has been creating a lyrical body of visual art that mirrors his extraordinary oeuvre of poetry, fiction, and translation. Like his collage poems, Waldrop’s visual works are enveloped in quiet tensions and ghosted impressions. They construct densities of atmosphere and architecture, drift and dream. Rich in textual and visual play, romantic and contradictory in their shapings, his collages use traces of memory to gesture toward the absent and the invisible.
Edited and with an essay by Robert Seydel, Several Gravities features a substantial selection of these radiant collages in a full color, hardcover edition, and includes a previously unpublished serial poem as well as an essay by Waldrop that enunciates the relationship between this author’s distinctive visual and poetic practices.
KEITH WALDROP (b. 1932, Emporia, Kansas) is the author of over two dozen works of poetry and prose, an eminent translator, and with wife Rosmarie Waldrop, founding editor of the influential and innovative Burning Deck Press. His trilogy of collage poems Transcendental Studies (UC Press, 2009) received the National Book Award for Poetry, for which he was also nominated for his first book A Windmill Near Calvary. For his lifetime contribution to French literature, Waldrop received the rank of Chevalier des arts et des lettres from the French government. Publishers Weekly has written that Waldrop is “one of the most important writers, translators, and publishers of avant-garde literature in our time.” He is currently the Brooke Russell Astor Professor of the Humanities at Brown University.