The Whole Art

027WholeArtClayton Eshleman: The Whole Art. Edited by Stuart Kendall

A book on Clayton Eshleman from Black Widow Press.

As 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.

This wide-ranging anthology includes new and classic essays on key aspects of Eshleman’s life as a poet, translator and editor by Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Pierre Joris, Andrew Joron, Robert Kelly, Herbert Lust, David MacLagan, Eric Mottram, John Olson, Jed Rasula, Jerome Rothenberg, Kenneth Warren, and Eliot Weinberger, among others. A detailed chronology of Eshleman’s life and a full bibliography accompany a comprehensive introduction by the editor.

A two-time winner of the Landon Translation Prize from the Academy of American Poets, Clayton Eshleman’s work has also been awarded a National Book Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and multiple grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among many other honors. Widely anthologized, his work has appeared in over 400 magazines and newspapers and translated in eight languages. He has given readings and lectured to audiences and at universities around the world.

“The poet Robert Duncan once said that he wrote poetry the way other men sought wealth and power, or waged war-to exercise his faculties at large. Certainly, such a description would fit the poet Clayton Eshleman. In fact, Eshleman is probably the most powerful living American exemplar of such a vision of poetry making-a vision that is rooted in the high modernist traditions of Europe and the Americas, but which also seeks bedrock among the oldest remnants of human art.” – Hugh Seidman

“In spite of Eshleman’s reputation as a brash enfant terrible of the avant garde, he is a rather gentle, sensitive connoisseur of the beautiful, the fragile, and the unusual… He speaks, like an American in the Whitman tradition, as a mythic heroic ‘I,’ a singer who uses the personal voice not to speak of himself but of all mankind. The intense lyricism which comes from this personal voice, the search for wholeness, ecstatic fulfillment, and the constant praising of all that is common to beautiful human life, makes Eshleman one of the strongest, most unique voices in American poetry today.” – Diane Wakoski

Stuart Kendall is a writer, editor, and translator, working at the intersections of poetry, visual culture, and design. Author of a critical biography of Georges Bataille and a volume of essays on design culture, he has also edited and translated ten books, including works by Georges Bataille, Maurice Blanchot, René Char, and Guy Debord. He has edited collections of essays on filmmaker Terrence Malick and contemporary Californian design. His most recent work includes a new version of the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh poems published by Contra Mundum. Black Widow published his translation of Paul Eluard’s Love, Poetry in 2007.