Collection: Kenward Elmslie

Poet, librettist, novelist, editor, and performance artist Kenward Elmslie (1929-2022) 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 Truman Capote), 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 lived in New York City and Calais, Vermont, in a home he shared with his longtime partner and artistic collaborator, Joe Brainard.