2013 Biography

Clayton Eshleman was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 1, 1935. He has a B.A. in Philosophy and an M.A.T. in English Literature from Indiana University. He has lived in Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Peru, France, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. He is presently Professor Emeritus, English Department, Eastern Michigan University. Since 1986 he has lived in Ypsilanti, Michigan with his wife Caryl who over the past forty years has been the primary reader and editor of his poetry and prose.  Read More….

“45 years of translation: The complete poetry of Cesar Vallejo,” an interview with Clayton Eshleman on Michigan Public Radio

Listen to it here.


Clayton Eshleman: The Whole Art

Edited by Stuart Kendall

A book on Clayton Eshleman from Black Widow Press.

027WholeArtAs a poet, translator, and editor, Clayton Eshleman has been a singularly seminal and synergetic force in American poetry for fifty years. His magazines Caterpillar and Sulfur served as experimental open sites, soundboards and repositories for the poetry and arts from the 1960s to the turn of the millennium. His translations – of César Vallejo, Aimé Césaire, Antonin Artaud, and other poets of extreme consciousness – are celebrated as inspired and exacting models of the craft. The fifteen full-length volumes of his own poetry – by turns personal, political, and, at their furthest reach, primordial – reflect a life of vision, sensitivity, and, at times, wrath, lived in ceaseless exploration and commitment to the whole art.  More…

Available from Black Widow Press and amazon.com.

Nested Dolls


“In Nested Dolls, Clayton Eshleman weaves threads of myth, dream, memory, and imagination through a work etched in what he might call, after Adorno, a late style, wherein affirmation ventures forth in the face of annihilation. These are nestual investigations of abyssal loss, death, and rebirth coiled within one another, explorations of the “reality of the invisible world” and the “labyrinth underlying the poem” offering further episodes in the life of the Minotaur and the Spider that have marked Eshleman’s career as a poet for more than five decades.

—Stuart Kendall

Available from BlazeVOX Books.

Sakra Boccata

Poems by José Antonio Mazzotti, Translated by Clayton Eshleman, Prologue by Raúl Zurita 

sakra_boccata_cover“Sakra Boccata is a book that in its brief sequence of twenty-eight poems– the number in a lunar cycle– displays one of the most revelatory poetries in contemporary Latin America. […] José Antonio Mazzotti has expanded the notions that we as readers might have concerning eroticism, love, and the immemorial yearning to merge with what we love, which is ultimately the longing of all poetry.” –Raúl Zurita

Available from Ugly Duckling Presse and for sale at amazon.com

The Original 1939 Notebook of a Return to the Native Land

original1939Aimé Césaire’s masterpiece, Notebook of a
Return to the Native Land, is a work of immense cultural significance and beauty. This long poem was the beginning of Césaire’s quest for négritude, and
it became an anthem for blacks around the world. Commentary on Césaire’s work has often focused on its Cold War and anticolonialist rhetoric—material that Césaire only added in 1956. The original 1939 version of the poem, here in French and in its first English translation, reveals a work that is both spiritual and cultural in structure, tone, and thrust. This Wesleyan edition includes the original illustrations by Wifredo Lam, and an introduction, notes, and chronology by A. James Arnold.  More…

The Price of Experience

Price-of-Experience…is a literary anatomy, including two long poems (“The Moistinsplendor” and “An Anatomy of the Night”); three New York City stories; a journal kept during a 1985 trip to Brittany; essays on Paul Blackburn, César Vallejo, Pierre Joris and Aimé Césaire; reviews of works by Lee Hickman, Charles Olson, Chaim Soutine, and Leon Golub; eleven lectures on the Upper Paleolithic painted caves of southwestern France; notes on Carolee Schneemann, aprenticehood, the Medusa, and Rodin; four interviews and a conversation with Robert Kelly; prose poems inspired by the work of Daumier and Laura Solorzano; and “Erratics,” a collection of sightings, aphorisms, tiny poems, quotations, gists and piths.  More…

 The Jointure

“Coming through a projection pole into the full tribal assembly of self-savagery, Clayton Eshleman activates in The Jointure a brilliant ‘I-beam’ that illuminates the stack of androcentric figures through which his opus is staked to man’s collective psychic force. Eshleman’s primordial intention in The Jointure is contact with the ancestral realm. Among totems honored are Yorunomado, the daemon of Eshleman’s first breakthrough poem written in Kyoto, and Xochipilli, the Aztec prince of hallucinogenic plants. Painstakingly refined in The Jointure are the precise pivot points through which these perpetrators of soul must come and go in order to realize the fate, form, and integrity of a lifetime given to the imagination. With each refinement, Eshleman’s status as the quintessential poet of visionary germination becomes more and more certain. Marking the clearest distillation of this poetic fact to date, The Jointure reveals Eshleman at the peak of his generative powers.”

—Kenneth Warren

An Anatomy of the Night

anatomy-of-the-night… is a magnificent new work by one of America’s foremost poets. In thirty-one parts written between December 2010 and February 2011, Eshleman’s long poem creates a choral effect that masterfully evokes fragments of candid observation shimmering in rhythmic intensity. In bold simplicities, illustrative sensibilities and lyrical integrity this work is imaginative, intimate and beautifully controlled. Hauntingly, these poems rip open the space of the long form poem and create something new and brilliant.


Solar Throat Slashed: The Unexpurgated

1948 Edition. Aimé Césaire

(Translated and Edited by A. James Arnold and Claytron Eshleman, Wesleyan UP, 2011)

Soleil cou coupé (Solar Throat Slashed) is Aimé Césaire’s most explosive collection of poetry Animistically dense, charged with eroticism and blasphemy, and imbued with an African and Vodun spirituality, this book takes the French surrealist adventure to new heights and depths. A Césaire poem is an intersection at which metpahoric traceries create historically aware nexuses of thought and epxerience, jagged solidarity, apocalyptic surgery, and solar dynamite.


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