Skip to content

August Kleinzahler published his first book of poetry, A Calendar of Airs, in 1978. Since then, he has published six others, including Storm over Hackensack (1985); Earthquake Weather (1989); Red Sauce Whiskey and Snow (1995); and Green Sees Things in Waves (1998). In 2000, Farrar, Straus & Giroux published Live from the Hong Kong Nile Club: Poems 1975-1990. His poems have appeared in numerous publications including The New YorkerThe American Poetry ReviewPoetryHarper’s MagazineGrand StreetThe Threepenny Review, and The Paris Review. A native of Jersey City, Kleinzahler is the recipient of awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (1989), the Lila Acheson-Reader’s Digest Award for Poetry (1991), and an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1996). In 2000 he was awarded a Berlin Prize Fellowship. His latest book, a collection of meditations entitled Cutty, One Rock: Low Characters and Strange Places, Gently Explained, was published in November, 2004 to considerable critical acclaim. He has also been named poet laureate of his hometown of Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Kleinzahler has been a taxi driver, a locksmith, a logger, and a building manager. He has taught creative writing courses at Brown University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, as well as to homeless veterans in the Bay Area. He lives in San Francisco.

The Strange Hours Travelers Keep

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
2004 Winner
United States

Judges’ Citation

The Strange Hours Travelers Keep is a masterful collection of work from a poet who inhabits the energies of urban life more fully than anyone currently writing.

The Strange Hours Travelers Keep is a masterful collection of work from a poet who inhabits the energies of urban life more fully than anyone currently writing. If August Kleinzahler’s poems notice birdsong, they do so by their own account as ‘part of a mix – footsteps, traffic, / fountains, shouts’. There is something exhilarating about passages of verse which are so ferociously on the move, between locations, between forms, between registers. These poems swagger and swerve and sing, while their moments of grace are ruthlessly sudden and just as swiftly abandoned to all the other stuff that’s happening in the universe. Kleinzahler’s poems also talk a lot about music, and they themselves live in the miraculous, conditional way that music does – finding their harmonies by moving forward.