August Kleinzahler published his first book of poetry, A Calendar of Airs, in 1978. Since then, he has published seven others, including Storm over Hackensack (1985); Earthquake Weather (1989); Red Sauce Whiskey and Snow (FSG, 1995); Green Sees Things in Waves (FSG, 1998); and Live from the Hong Kong Nile Club: Poems 1975–1990 (FSG, 2000). In 2003, Farrar, Straus and Giroux published The Strange Hours Travelers Keep, which won the 2004 Griffin International Poetry Prize and the 2004 Gold Medal in Poetry from the Commonwealth Club of California, and was short-listed for the U.K.'s Forward Prize in Poetry.
His most recent collection of poetry is Sleeping It Off in Rapid City (FSG, 2008). He is also the author of a book of prose, Cutty, One Rock: Low Characters and Strange Places, Gently Explained (FSG, 2004). His poems have appeared in numerous publications including The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Poetry, Harper's Magazine, Grand Street, The Threepenny Review, and The Paris Review. He has also written essays and criticism for The London Review of Books, Threepenny Review, Sulfur, and the San Diego Reader. A native of Jersey City, Kleinzahler is the recipient of awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (1989), the Lila Acheson–Reader's Digest Award for Poetry (1991), and an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1996). In 2000 he was awarded a Berlin Prize Fellowship.
Kleinzahler has been a taxi driver, a locksmith, a logger, and a building manager. He has taught creative writing courses at Brown University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, as well as to homeless veterans in the Bay Area. He lives in San Francisco.
Recorded Thursday, November 20, 2008 at University of Chicago-Rosenwald 405.