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A Baroque Scot’s Excess

August Kleinzahler, 25 October 2012

... Sesquipedalian Thomas, aureate Urquhart, Sir Thomas of Cromarty, author of THE TRISSOTETRAS: OR A MOST EXQUISITE TABLE FOR RESOLVING ALL MANNER OF TRIANGLES, and the most commendable LOGOPANDECTEISION, OR AN INTRODUCTION TO THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE, dedicated to Nobody, and, not least, his PANTOCHRONOCHANON: or, A PECULIAR PROMPTUARY OF TIME which, with rare exactitude, traces the URQUHART line from the Creation of the World and Adam, ‘surnamed the Protoplast’, ‘unto 1652: these including Esormon, Prince of Achaia (2139 BC) and Pamprosodos Urquhart, who married Termuth, the Pharaoh’s daughter who found Moses among the bulrushes ...

A History of Western Music

August Kleinzahler, 3 October 2002

... April of that year in the one country was unusually clear and with brisk northeasterlies ‘straight from the Urals’. Their ancient regent at long last succumbed and laid to rest after much ceremony. Sinatra was everywhere that spring, in the hotel lobbies, toilets, shops – ‘Fly Me to the Moon’, ‘You Make Me Feel So Young’, name it. On TV a computer-generated Weimaraner sang ‘I Did It My Way’ in a gravelly bar-room baritone ...

Chauncey Hare

August Kleinzahler, 25 January 2018

... It was just a block or two off Palisade Ave, a sprawling, second-floor living room, faux wood-panelled, stuffed chairs, big sofa, cheap ceramic Disney figurines on the coffee table, but with a wall-sized picture window facing east, the midtown ‘moody, water-loving giants of Manhattan’ nearly in our laps, a 3-D mirage, a Fata Morgana of the sort you see sometimes on Rt ...

A History of Western Music: Chapter 99

August Kleinzahler, 29 July 2021

... Like the faint sound of thunder, rumbling in the distance, then gathering in volumeuntil, with a great roar, it all comes crashing down, an avalanche of Europe’s concert halls,like the 7.4 cubic kilometre chunk of the Jakobshavn glacier, calving into the sea below:the red and Alaska yellow cedar stages and smoked birch parquet floors, a reverberating crack,splintering on the rocks below, seals clapping, barking CHUM CHUM, CHUM CHUM:the balconies and loggias, walls panelled in vertical grain, plaster and gypsum board,cherry wood acoustic panels, the Cologne Gürzenich, the Festspielhaus and Mozarteum,the Teatro della Pergola, the Graf-Zeppelin-Haus, the Grosser Musikvereinssaal,crashing and splintering on the rocks below, then sliding into the sea;the gilt of the Palais Garnier with its Chagall ceiling, the staircases of the Staatsoper,the neo-classical façades and baroque rotundas, the Mariinsky, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceusplintering on the rocks below and crashing into the sea ...

Two Poems

August Kleinzahler, 19 August 1999

... Christmastime in Coronado The attack jets comes in low over the ocean past the tennis courts and the Duchess’s cottage, in tandem low over the Navy golf-course headed for the North Island airstrip then wheel to the left out over the water again, the afternoon’s last light making a movie set of the offshore islands around and back once more past the grand old wooden hotel and its cupolas with a series of watery, high-pitched whups as they cut back their engines and disappear over the ridge ...
... The overtones drift out over the lake from the direction of the east-facing pavilion, gathering themselves into a tree of tiny mirrors, mirrors and gold foil, suspended above the water’s surface – late sun through heavy foliage, the clangorous exhalations dissolving into the low sounds of wind on water, on nearby lalang grass. Frangipani and incense – the gods have been summoned: Sea of Honey, Some False Silver, Monkey Looks at Himself in the Water ...


August Kleinzahler, 14 April 2011

... I The room darkens, then darkens further with the approach of yet another storm cell from the west with its columns and plaits, the tall, ghostly chambers of space between – une fraction intense du météore pur … willow, sage, Sung green, a hint, perhaps, of veronese; now darkening further still until sufficiently dark, as if at the beginning of a show, and with the sound of it the only sound ...

Two Poems

August Kleinzahler, 24 May 2001

... Montreal A shriek hits the membrane that canopies the street, falls, and the trough gets it. Sediment thickens with it, the dust of voices, the smoky penumbra around street lamps, finally settling to the ground. A monster stirs, under this midden we love on, chafing himself against the crust, too miserable to rage. Oat jism, perfume – the radio horn man blows a hole through, again blows, again with spite, again, until no more horn, none ...

The Tartar Swept

August Kleinzahler, 9 May 2002

... The Tartar swept across the plain In their furs and silk panties Snub-nosed monkeymen with cinders for eyes Attached to their ponies like centaurs Forcing the snowy passes of the Carpathians Streaming from defiles like columns of ants Arraying their host in a vasty wheel White, grey, black and chestnut steeds Ten thousand each to a quadrant Turning ...


August Kleinzahler, 27 July 2017

... She was eating an onion as if it were an apple, keeping her distance from the rest of us gathered there on the shore of the vast and famous volcano lake. It was an interlude for writers at some sort of literary affair. We had just been served a dreadful local Prosecco the event’s organisers seemed unreasonably proud of, hick culture functionaries in this distant corner of Oceania ...

Two Poems

August Kleinzahler, 2 March 2017

... La Belle Ville Passenger jets float silently across the thunderheads in the direction of Chibougamau and Matagami Lake, one after another. Who can say why: the Midsummer Meti Mosquito Festival, featuring live performances and dance workshops, handicrafts … I watch them pass overhead through the skylight as I stretch out on the yoga mat, aligning my sore bones ...

Two Poems

August Kleinzahler, 20 October 2005

... Traveller’s Tales: Chapter 18 A southerly buster off of Bass Strait was raising whitecaps in the Bay and jittering the flags out across the plaza. We were sitting under the famous bare-ass portrait of Chloe. You know the one, in the old upstairs hotel bar, posh. So _______ says to me, he says . . . Wait a moment, you knew _______? Not well, acquainted-like, a snort, or two, or three, on the way home from the Culture Fair that day ...

The Old Poet, Dying

August Kleinzahler, 6 September 2001

... He looks eerily young, what’s left of him, purged, somehow, back into boyhood. It is difficult not to watch the movie on TV at the foot of his bed, 40ll colour screen, a jailhouse dolly psychodrama: truncheons and dirty shower scenes. I recognise one of the actresses, now a famous lesbian, clearly an early B-movie role. The black nurse says ‘Oh dear’ during the beatings ...

An Englishman Abroad

August Kleinzahler: For Christopher Logue, 1 November 2001

... For Christopher Logue The talk-radio host is trying to shake the wacko with only a minute left to get in the finance and boner-pill spots before signing off, the morning news team already at the door and dairy vans streaming from the gates of WholesomeBest, fanning out across the vast plateau. Fair skies, high cumulus cloud – the birds are in full throat as dawn ignites in the east, rinsing the heavens with a coral pink ...

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