|[Purchase Kramer's works]||Aaron Kramer (1921-1997)
Poet, translator, and literary critic
|[Selected poems]||[Archived Kramer materials]|
Listen to the recording of Garrison Keillor reading an Aaron Kramer poem on The Writer's Almanac on Thursday, January 27, 2005. "The Writer's Almanac ® is a daily program of poetry and history hosted by Garrison Keillor...Each day's program is about five minutes long. Visit http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org . The poem is "Winter Song," anthologized in Wicked Times.
The new anthology, "Wicked Times: Selected Poems" (University of Illinois Press) brings together for the first time the best poetry of Aaron Kramer (1921-1997), considered by his co-editors to be one of America's "most compelling and accomplished poets." The book is the latest title in Illinois' American Poetry Recovery Series. Read the press release
Fifth section of "Astoria" sequence
© Aaron Kramer
Come, all you who are not satisfied
Come, let us sweep the old streets--like a bride;
We'll sweep out shadows, where the rats long fed;
"Prothalamium" opens Barbara Kingsolver's novel,
Prodigal Summer (HarperCollins). The poem, which appeared in 1948
in Kramer's collection The Thunder of the Grass, was set to music
by Michael Sahl and performed by Judy Collins on her 1970 recording
"Whales and Nightingales."
Biography of Aaron Kramer
Poet, translator, and essayist, Aaron Kramer first gained national prominence with Seven Poets in Search of an Answer (1944) and The Poetry and Prose of Heinrich Heine (1948). He was a leading resistance poet throughout the McCarthy era with such texts for music as Denmark Vesey (1952) and such volumes as Roll the Forbidden Drums! (1954). In 1958 he collaborated with a dozen artists on The Tune of the Calliope: Poems and Drawings of New York. Professor of English at Dowling College, in Oakdale, New York from 1961, and a founding editor of West Hills Review: A Whitman Journal, he produced such scholarly works as The Prophetic Tradition in American Poetry (1968), Melville's Poetry: Toward the Enlarged Heart (1972), and Neglected Aspects of American Poetry (1997).
Also a noted translator, Kramer produced Rilke: Visions of Christ (1967); A Century of Yiddish Poetry (1989) which includes his 370 translations of 135 poets; All My Yesterdays Were Steps (1995), the selected poems of Dora Teitelboim; and The Last Lullaby: Poems of the Holocaust (1998). His 1975 translation of Viktor Ullmann and Peter Kien's opera, The Emperor of Atlantis, which they created in the Terezin concentration camp, continues in performance worldwide and is much recorded. Recent collections of his own poetry include The Burning Bush: Poems and Other Writings (1983), Indigo (1991), and Regrouping (1997). Volumes of his selected poetry have been published in Russian and Bulgarian.
Kramer was a popular public reader and radio guest across the United
States, and he recorded for Folkways Records and the Library of Congress.
He pioneered in the therapeutic use of poetry for the disabled, also
contributing many articles to professional journals in the field. The
Second First Art, a Festschrift in his honor, was published in
1996. He received his Ph.D. from New York University.
Request an Aaron Kramer poem or translation. (Not available at this time).
Bibliography compiled by Donald Gilzinger
Aaron Kramer's web page is maintained by Sue Gleason
Aaron Kramer's web page was designed by Georgia Gleason.
Contact literary executors for information regarding rare Kramer materials
Page updated March 17, 2006