A City Full of Voices
This book gathers a wide range of commentaries — from single-phrase response to full-blown essay, personal meditation & various forms of book reviews — on Kelly’s monumental oeuvre. It covers early reception by a previous generation of poets — such as Charles Olson and Robert Creeley — welcoming Kelly among their company, mid-career assessments via an array of compañeros & compañeras for whom Kelly’s work has been sustenance and inspiration over many decades, and goes all the way to critical investigations by those younger readers & students of the work coming to Robert Kelly’s poetry today. Eminent voices among the contributors include Guy Davenport & Stan Brakhage, Paul Blackburn & Diane Wakoski,
Robert Kelly’s own voice can also be heard in a series of “Threads” (in which various interview excerpts directly, or indirectly, speak to the sections or “books” they precede or follow) that link both in form & content back to the previous volume, and in three landmark interviews with Kelly in full, that also mark three different moments in time: 1963, 1974, & 2007. Both volumes together thus offer the reader not only a “collected” & “critical” essays, but also a “Selected Interviews.”
It may seem surprising — & in fact it is — that an oeuvre of such distinction, complexity, and depth has had to wait until the poet’s 84 year to be fêted with a volume of essays. But here it is: A City Full of Voices, the first substantive multi-voiced gathering of writings about one of the absolutely opulent, lavish, generous & bountiful life-works by one of the great contemporary American poets.