Keith Waldrop

Keith Waldrop

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Keith Waldrop, born Emporia, Kansas, 1932, his father Arthur Waldrop, worker for the Santa Fe railroad, his mother Opal née Mohler, in later life piano teacher and practical nurse. After grade school and junior high in Kansas, went to high school at a fundamentalist (holiness) school in South Carolina. Pre-med program at Kansas State Teachers College interrupted by draft in 1953. Sent as army engineer (in water purification) to Germany. Ph.D. in comparative literature from University of Michigan, 1964. While in Ann Arbor (1957-64) married Rosmarie Sebald; founded, with X.J. Kennedy, James Camp, Dallas Wiebe, and others, Wolgamot Society; directed and acted in plays by Jarry, Grabbe, Paul Goodman, etc.; edited (with James Camp and D.C. Hope) the magazine Burning Deck. Moved to Connecticut, 1964, then to Providence in 1968 to teach at Brown. Participated in Wastepaper Theatre, 1972-92.

Burning Deck Press, which he co-edits with Rosmarie Waldrop, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011.

His first book of poems, A Windmill Near Calvary, was nominated for the National Book Award in 1968. In 2009, Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy won the National Book Award. Between those two mileposts, his work has included poetry (The Garden of Effort, Analogies of Escape, Haunt), short fiction (Hegel's Family), a fictional memoir (Light While There Is Light), and a trilogy of mixed verse and prose (The Silhouette of the Bridge [recipient of the America Award for poetry], The Locality Principle, and Semiramis If I Remember).

He has translated French poets-including Claude Royet-Journoud, Anne-Marie Albiach, Paol Keineg, Jean Grosjean, and Dominique Fourcade-and, in collaboration-the Chinese poet Xue Di.

Received an NEA translation fellowship and stipends from the DAAD Berlin Artists' Program and the Fund for Poetry. The French government has given him the rank of "Chevalier des arts et des lettres."

Translations of his books have been published in French, German, and Danish.

See also:

"Interview with Keith Waldrop" [Part 1] by Peter Gizzi. The Germ 4 (Spring 2000), pp. 275-305.
"Peter Gizzi Interviews Keith Waldrop, part II." The Germ 5 (Summer, 2001), pp. 270-319.
"Books as a Way of Life: Rosmarie & Keith Waldrop" by Johanna Drucker in The Journal of Artists' Books 9 (Spring 1998), pp. 15-20
Ceci n'est pas Keith-Ceci n'est pas Rosmarie by Keith & Rosmarie Waldrop (Burning Deck, 2002.)