Drooling on the Pillow

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Poet Laureate of Fort Lee 

I enjoyed reading the article on the poet August Kleinzahler in the New York Times today. Kleinzahler is a knuckly, aggressive, North Jersey guy, who "combines Allen Ginsberg's goofball charm and Norman Mailer's inveterate pugnacity." His poetry is jazzy and headlong, a jumble of high mindedness and low acts, with just enough brake to let you get between the lines. On a personal level, he's apparently something of a handfull.

The article quotes him on Jersey Man:
The New Jersey character - at least this part of
Jersey - is straightforward, plainspoken to the point
of bluntness, though not at all unfriendly. The
humor is deadpan, ironical, playfully depreciating.
Affectation is quickly and viscerally registered. It's a
beer-and-a-bump kind of place. There's a swagger,
a bluff air of menace that many of the males carry.
My favorite line, though, was this:
In San Francisco, Mr. Kleinzahler once gave a
panhandler a dollar.

"Thanks, Jersey," the man said.

"How did you know I was from Jersey?" Mr.
Kleinzahler asked.

"Are you kidding?" the man asked.
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