Item Details

The Collected Poems of Weldon Kees. Edited by Donald Justice.

Iowa City, IA: Stone Wall Press, 1960. First edition. One of only 20 copies on Rives Heavy, a French mould made paper and bound in full leather, out of a total of 200 copies printed. Berger 8. Dana Gioia has chronicled Kees's posthumous reputation, noting that "Kees's stature among poets has risen steadily since 1960 when Iowa City's fledgling Stone Wall Press posthumously published his Collected Poems in a hand-printed edition of 200 copies. The volume received an extraordinary amount of attention for a fine press book of verse, especially one by a dead Nebraskan poet of limited reputation. The Collected Poems earned substantial notices in the New York Times Book Review, The Hudson Review, Partisan Review, Poetry, The New York Herald Tribune, and Saturday Review. The book's positive reception, however, displayed two significant features that would become constants in restricting Kees's subsequent audience. First, his champions were nearly all poets. Second, the collection they praised was virtually impossible to obtain; its small print run, high price, and severely limited distribution placed it outside the normal channels for trade books." Gioia, the current head of the National Endowment for the Arts and the author of the influential collection of essays Can Poetry Matter? Essays on Poetry and American Culture (1992), finds in Kees a paradigm of the place, or displacement, of poetry in contemporary American academia and culture, observing that "it appears that as Kees's' fame among poets grows ever larger his already marginal critical reputation shrinks further.... The disparity between the legion of imaginative writers who admire Kees's work and paucity of academic interest demonstrates that there is something now oddly out of joint between the worlds of poets and literary critics." - Dana Gioia, "The Cult of Weldon Kees", Dana Gioia Online. A very fine copy of this rare issue of one of the most beautiful books from the Stone Wall Press, and still the definitive edition of the poet's work, in the rare slipcase which is slightly, faintly stained. 8vo, full black morocco with blind-stamped initials ("WK") on front cover and gilt lettering on spine, publisher's slipcase.

Price: $4,500.00

See all items in 1017, 21587
See all items by