Routine Disruptions

Poems and lyrics by Kenward Elmslie

September 1, 1998 • 6 x 9 • 256 pages • 978-1-56689-077-9

This long awaited “selected” presents the full range of Elmslie’s inventive, vulnerable, lyrical and autobiographical work.

Long awaited, Routine Disruptions gives us Kenward Elmslie at his most vulnerable, most inventive, most autobiographical, and most lyrical. These new and selected poems gather together an often comedic cornucopia of Elmslie’s work: autobiography, visually-shaped performance pieces, and confessional love poetry. Routine Disruptions includes lyrics from Elmslie’s musical plays and opera librettos, along with his innovative poem songs. Elmslie offers his readers multi-voiced reportage of outer actualities, constantly challenged by the singularity of his poet’s mind’s eye.

About the Author

Kenward Elmslie’s many poetry books include Routine Disruptions and Motor Disturbance, which won a Frank O’Hara award. He has written six opera librettos, including Lizzie Borden, and the book and lyrics for the Broadway musical The Grass Harp. A singing poet, he has toured widely, giving solo performances of his musical, Postcards on Parade. He lives in Calais, Vermont.


“We find [Elmslie] employing the all-embracing urbane surrealism, spontaneity and wit of the New York School . . . and few manage to sustain his excess, scale and abundance while remaining so thoroughly poised.” —Publishers Weekly

Routine Disruptions is terrific. There’s a lot of heart in these poems. . . . Kenward Elmslie tells the insistent tales of our tribe with great humor and seemingly endless invention. Routine Disruptions is that veritable ‘Voice of America’ we never got the chance to hear ‘getting down’ quite like this before.” —Robert Creeley

“Elmslie writes in living language, not unrecognizable or obscure, but like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.” —Rain Taxi