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Praised by John Ashbery as evoking "a rococo world of banality and nightmare which . . . comes in the end to seem like paradise." The Orchid Stories presents us with interwoven stories as delicate and exquisite as the flowers for which they're named, conveying an almost otherworldly beauty. Images, moods, and characters recur with the clarity of a dream: Phil, the little boy gigolo; Mummers and Mummy, who "adopt" him; the alluring Diana Vienna; and the eccentric Dr. Schmidlapp, who plans to capture the rare "Native Innards" orchid precisely at the stroke of midnight.
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Kenward Elmslie is one of the unforgettable writers of our time. It is as though Burroughs permanent apocalypse were being observed by someone else: not a closet Savonarola, but someone motivated by the humor, sensuality, and joie de vivre of an O Hara. . . .The world may be an industrial swamp, but Elmslie s dazzling one-step ahead induction of it is a cause for rejoicing and even joy. --John Ashbery, author of PlanisphereAbout the Author:
Poet, librettist, novelist, editor, and performance artist Kenward Elmslie was born in New York City in 1929. Elmslie became a central figure in the New York School and, as the editor of Z magazine and Z Press books, promoted the work of fellow poets John Ashbery, Bill Berkson, Joe Brainard, Edwin Denby, Joanne Kyger, James Schuyler, Anne Waldman, and numerous others. Among his many poetry collections are Pavilions, Girl Machine, Motor Disturbance (winner of the Frank O'Hara Award), Tropicalism, and Routine Disruptions: Selected Poems & Lyrics. Elmslie is also the author of six opera librettos, including Lizzie Borden, as well as the musical plays Lola, The Grass Harp (based on the work by TrumanCapote), Palais Bimbo, and POSTCARDS ON PARADE. Elmslie's honors include a grant from the Ford Foundation, the Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Poetry, and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in New York City and Calais, Vermont, in a home he shared with his longtime partner and artistic collaborator, Joe Brainard.
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