You got versed

Pasatiempo - - In Other Words - Jill Batt­son For The New Mex­i­can

them, and it was grat­i­fy­ing.” His awards also en­abled him to fo­cus on

writ­ing po­etry full time.

In 2004, Klein­zahler’s ninth book of po­ems,

Trav­el­ers Keep,

worked out that way.”

some­what trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence for

The Three­penny Re­view.

I write a weekly col­umn on mu­sic for the

The Strange Hours

won the pres­ti­gious Cana­dian book award, the Grif­fin

Po­etry Prize, which drew more at­ten­tion to him. “ Peo­ple think more

of you when you win prizes,” he said. “ I sort of backed into get­ting

some Amer­i­can at­ten­tion through the Grif­fin Prize.” The award

also com­pleted a kind of po­etry cir­cle that started in Canada. “ My

de­gree was from Canada. My first books were pub­lished in Canada.

A chap­book in Montreal, and then a full-length book from Coach

House Press.” Klein­zahler stud­ied po­etry un­der the English poet

Basil Bunt­ing while work­ing on his un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree at the

Uni­ver­sity of Vic­to­ria. Klein­zahler’s work was em­braced out­side of

the U. S. be­fore he gained recog­ni­tion here. “ In some re­spects it’s very

Amer­i­can,” he said. “ Per­haps in a way that’s ex­portable. A Rus­sian

poet sounds ap­pro­pri­ately like a Rus­sian poet. An Aus­tralia poet

sounds ap­pro­pri­ately like an Aus­tralian poet. Some things ex­port

bet­ter than oth­ers. It wasn’t my in­ten­tion, but I’m de­lighted it’s

Mu­sic plays a big part in Klein­zahler’s life. “ I go off on jags where

I just lis­ten to 17th-cen­tury Baroque harp­si­chord or 1950s Chicago

blues,” he said. “ I just get an ap­petite for the sound.” As his ap­petite

grew, so did Klein­zahler’s eclec­tic CD col­lec­tion. One day, find­ing

him­self hard up for cash, he took a look at his 2,500-odd CD

col­lec­tion and de­cided to pare it down to 75 CDs he couldn’t live

without. The used record store down the street came and bought

them, and Klein­zahler wrote an es­say called “ Triage” about the

“ Then I

got a call from Ju­dith Moore, who said she’d read the piece and would

San Diego Reader,”

he said.

“ I didn’t re­ally feel equipped to write a mu­sic col­umn.” But af­ter a few

hours mulling the idea over, Klein­zahler agreed. Some of the es­says

Au­gust Klein­zahler

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