Weldon Kees is an enigmatic figure in American art and poetry. A journalist who worked for Time magazine for a while, an accomplished painter who exhibited alongside De Kooning and Picasso, a professional pianist, a photographer, and a director of short films, Kees was also an accomplished poet who is consistently numbered among the small group of poets that writers learn about from one another and that non-writers are usually sadly unaware of.
I was initially struck by the ferocity– even the horror– of Kees’s poems, with “The Upstairs Room” being my unforgettable introduction. But while I wouldn’t go so far as to say there is a hidden optimism in his work, I will say that there is a kind of hope, or at least satisfaction, in his knowledge of terrible beauty. Kees was (or, hopefully, is) an aesthete and it is the aesthete’s fate, ultimately, to fail to live up to their standards and dreams even if they far surpass the expectations of others.
- "The Beach in August"
- "Early Winter"
- "Scream As You Leave"
- "The Upstairs Room"
- "Aspects of Robinson"
- "Robinson at Home"
- "Relating to Robinson"
Explore, Read, Buy
About Weldon Kees
- “The Disappearing Poet”
- “The Cult of Weldon Kees”
- Modern American Poetry: Weldon Kees
- Nebraska Federal Writer’s Project: Weldon Kees
- Vanished Act: The Life and Art of Weldon Kees
- Weldon Kees and the Arts at Mid-Century