Hollyhocks in the Fog / Before Dawn on Bluff Road

Hollyhocks in the Fog / Before Dawn on Bluff Road

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Author: August Kleinzahler

Publisher: Faber & Faber


Ant says:

In his essay “East/West Variations” August Kleinzahler describes the residual feeling of travel: ‘After you’ve landed and into the next day, perhaps the evening–then you begin to lose it. It goes very quickly, decaying like a tone in the air.’

One can imagine that Kleinzahler finds the fuel to write in this window, it’s where he observes a figure in the park as a ‘broken off piece of Chinese ideogram moving across the page’, the shift of the seasons in ‘the cicadas gathering rush and ebb’, New Jersey’s streets as ‘avenues of brick... somber as the crimes of old mayors’ or San Francisco where foghorns are ‘lowing like outsize beasts shackled to cliffs at the end of the bay’.

One to keep alongside your Thom Gunn, Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. Highly recommended! Three copies arriving next week 


When August Kleinzahler won the 2004 Griffin Poetry Prize for his collection The Strange Hours Travelers Keep, the judges’ citation referred to his work as 'ferociously on the move, between locations, between forms, between registers'. They might also have added 'between New Jersey and San Francisco', the places Kleinzahler has spent his life travelling between, both on the road and on the page. This collection assembles the best of his New Jersey and San Francisco poems for the first time, organised according to place.

Providing readers with a gorgeous guide to Kleinzahler’s interior geography, Before Dawn on Bluff Road (New Jersey) and Hollyhocks in the Fog (San Francisco) function as both word-maps and word-anatomies of one of our greatest poet’s lifelong passions and preoccupations.