A capacious tent of splendor in a gender veldt, Agenda Melt, Elmslie's third book with visuals by Trevor Winkfield, juxtaposes new poems and theatre lyrics culled from his musicals: The Grass Harp, cult classic, and three works-in-progress—Lola, Night Emerald, and Lingo Land, a revue of his songs and poems in which he is slated to make his off-Broadway debut.
Kenward Elmslie began his career collaborating with operas and musicals to introduce contemporary style to classical theater. He created “Postcards on Parade, “City Junket,” and an adaption of Truman Capote’s “The Grass Harp” for the musical stage as well as six opera librettos. Elmslie’s books include Cyberspace (Granary Books) and Snippets (Tibor de Nagy Editions), both with graphical works from other artists that can be found in all his books of poetry and prose. He is a member of the first-generation of New York School Poets. In 1993, Elsmlie became an editor and publisher of Z Magazine and Z Press, promoting the work of other New York School artists. He was awarded the National Endowment of the Arts Award (1967), 1971 Frank O’Hara Award for Poetry, Ford Foundation Grant and Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Poetry. Elmslie lives in Calais, Vermont, in a home he shared with his longtime partner and artistic collaborator, Joe Brainard.
Adventures in Poetry began publishing in 1968 as a mimeographed “little magazine,” and continued through 1976 with individual pamphlets, featuring work by Ted Berrigan, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Bernadette Mayer, Frank O’Hara, James Schuyler, John Ashbery, Anne Waldman, and many others. After a long hiatus, it began publishing books by established and new innovative writers that are available exclusively through Zephyr Press.
“There’s a lot of heart in his poems—really these songs, because they come from a ranging mastery of everything from classical opera to old-time Country Western. Kenward Elmslie tells the insistent tales of our tribe with great humor and seemingly endless invention.” — Robert Creeley