These parallel reports from two
writers long together (and occasionally collaborating) show characteristic
differences, both of background and of style. Rosmarie meditates on
early years in Germany during World War II and the way her world was
changed, first by a bombing raid, then by learning about the Nazi
regime, and by emigration to the U.S. Keith wanders from a mid-Western
childhood, through a Southern fundamentalist high school and college
as a pre-med student, to encounters in Michigan, New England and Europe.
Originally commissioned by
Gale Research for their Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series.
Keith Waldrop's recent books of poetry include Haunt (Instance
Press) and the trilogy:The Locality Principle, The Silhouette
of the Bridge (America Award, 1997) and Semiramis If I Remember
(Avec Press). His novel, Light While There Is Light, was
published by Sun & Moon. He has translated a number of contemporary
French poets and teaches at Brown University in Providence, Rhode
Rosmarie Waldrop's recent books are Reluctant Gravities (New
Directions), Split Infinites (Singing Horse), and Another
Language: Selected Poems (Talisman House). Northwestern UP has
reprinted her two novels, The Hanky of Pippin's Daughter
and A Form/of Taking/It All, in one paperback. Her memoir,
Lavish Absence: Recalling and Rereading Edmond Jabès,
is forthcoming from Wesleyan University Press in fall 2002.
Together, they have published Well Well Reality (Post-Apollo
Press) and co-edit Burning Deck Press.
“...as the allusion to Magritte so
clearly implies, any autobiography is, perforce, a representation....
Each autobiography is presented in a frank, straight-forward style, but
is far from conventional.... They are written very creatively, but are
in no way self-consciously coy or over-wrought. They are full of warmth,
wit, and philosophy. The facts of their lives are secondary, skeletal:
what matters is the flesh, the muscle, the sensations and perceptions
of their lives.”
—John Olson, Bird Dog
“[in Keith Waldrop’s books or Rosmarie’s]
one finds works steeped in collage, fragmented inattention, historical
and formal variation. One finds, in short, two prime movers of the
American poetic avant-garde. The challenge of that avant-garde, with
its mix of
amibtion, art, and pretension, may send readers elsewhere for their
simple memoir kicks. But in this double autobiography, the Waldrops (not
writing) are the heroes, and the heros seem nice enough folks....
is remarkable are the stories: a unique cultural history of the American
avant-garde, a double kunstlerroman, scattered shots of
the post-war milieu....
It is a slight, charming volume that will appeal to those with an interest
in people and poetry. It is also easy to read."
—Andrew DuBois, Harvard
“This dual autobiography is shockingly
slim.... The book's method surfaces with luminous result, making its
size a comment, rather
This sort of story prepares us for the
terse phrases of [Keith] Waldrop's poetry itself, placed alone on the
page as if within
uttered abruptly, so as to make the silence of the page almost audible....
Waldrop] swings between unwavering looks at her own past and moving
descriptions of her working life in poetry.... their tales
of commerce with
French literati feed off each other and are as enjoyable as Roger Shattuck's The Banquet Years....
book's candor and vivacity are made new in both autobiographies, and
should inspire, both in newcomers and weathered
enthusiasts of their work,
deal of respect.”
—Max Winter, Double Change