|BROADSTONE BOOKS announces
|Publication Date: July 1, 2018
Paperback, 48 pages
Booksellers: Available from
Small Press Distribution
F. Keith Wahle was born in Cincinnati,
Ohio in 1947, and grew up in Northern
Kentucky. In 1969, he graduated from the
University of Cincinnati, where he studied
Poetry Writing with David Schloss. A few
years later, he entered the University of Iowa
Writers’ Workshop, where he studied with
Donald Justice, Helen Chasin, Marvin Bell,
Mark Strand, and Larry Levis, receiving an
MFA degree in English in 1974. His work
has been published in numerous magazines
and journals. He received Individual Artist
Fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council in
1984, 1990, and 2003.
In the mid-nineties, he became interested in
performance work, creating numerous
“From now on there will not be any more poems”, F. Keith Wahle declares in the
opening line of this book-length, er, poem, and in the hundreds of lines that follow he
enumerates all of the people, places, and things about which poems will no longer be
written. Which is, of course, pretty much everything that he can imagine, and his
imagination is widely and wildly expansive. As is his knowledge of culture both high
and pop, and he ranges over literature, art, music, film, and the vanishing touchstones
of his, and his generation's, life. One gets the sense that an entire world could be
reconstructed from these pages.
It's a breathless, and often hilarious, ride; but somewhere along the way it occurs that
this satiric pronouncement of the end of poetry is in fact a pleading, perhaps even a
prayer, a litany, a rage against the dying not of light but of the words that capture and
convey, well, everything. The book is dedicated to a host of dead poets, who among
many others appear in the poem through quotation and often oblique reference. In
part this book asks the question, who will follow these? Who will write the words?
Who will read them?
In the closing lines, Wahle envisions not merely the death of poetry, but how that
death is symptomatic of a dying planet. “I can imagine a world without poems before
a world without whales”, he laments, before exhorting
You should not be reading this.
Life is real, life is earnest.
Look at all we have to lose. It's all here. Get busy saving it. And then maybe, just
maybe, there will still be poems.
Praise for No More Poems:
F. Keith Wahle has developed the “list poem” into his own private territory of zany
creation and dark brooding. No More Poems is not a fugue state of a lunatic – well,
one shouldn’t rule that out, of course – but rather a cold-blooded and warm-hearted
meditation on America in these very troubled times. I can’t remember who said that
poetry is the highest form of mental entertainment, but in any case, Wahle’s World is
an amusement park you must visit. No More Poems is a tour-de-force.
— James Cummins, author of The Whole Truth, Portrait in a Spoon,
& Still Some Cake
The entire long poem is an exercise in rug putting out followed by a sharp rug-pulling.
Imagination, cancellation; consolation, desolation. The poem indeed asks the most
vital, the nakedest question of all: why live without imagination? Keith Wahle, one of
the widest and wildest imaginations I have ever known, is a one-man argument for
how much we need poetry, the language of the imagination, now more than ever.
— Terri Ford, author of Why the Ships Are She & Hams Beneath the
A surrealistic game of Whack-A-Mole strives to silence the poetic wherever it may
hide. Try reading this epic out loud.
— Michael Karl Ritchie, author of Ampleforth’s Miscellany
F. Keith Wahle’s No More Poems is an heroic Whitmanesque exercise in celebration,
as he looks at the ranges of things poems can be about, present, future, and past,
made poignant by his projection of their ending, and thus elegiac about the loss of
poems’ authors (some of whom he lists as dedicatees and implicit inspirations) as he
references many of their poetry titles in his own book-length poem. The dead poets
are eulogized by his repeated assertions of negation that create the sense of loss of
all the things of the worlds they wrote about. Wahle sustains this vision with a
remarkable energy in stream of consciousness constructions that generate and
illustrate, by extension, all the poetic things of his world, an “infinite” listing that is
his methodology: the world that is lost with the loss of poetry in our lives.
There is a kind of antic frenzy in him to enumerate everything, a remarkable expan-
sive list of cultural references, poetic, cinematic, pop – everything, that is, that suits
his personal style of inventive play, which he strenuously asserts, recapitulates and
embodies on the page with verbal associations and dis-associations galore. There is
also an ironic elegiac element in the already and always-passing world of his inven-
tion, serious/absurd assertions of the poet’s own particular mentality –– in rehearsing,
by extrapolation, the harrowing eventual absence of everything, creating a new sense
of overriding death.
This work is one with continuities and complexities only F. Keith Wahle could have
written, and it sums up his lifelong interests in poetry by a whimsical yet tragic trope
of negation (“No More Poems”) in one crowning poetic achievement.
— David Schloss, author of Group Portrait from Hell, Reports from
Babylon, & Sex Lives of the Poor and Obscure
F. Keith Wahle
interdisciplinary collaborations, usually with dancers, and sometimes with musicians.
He also wrote and performed in a number of short dialogues and monologues.
He is an enthusiastic Modern Dance fan, an avid book collector, a movie and video
nut with a large collection of video discs in many different genres, and a music lover,
with a special interest in Jazz, Blues, and American Folk Music. He and his wife,
Beth are both retired from the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
They live in the White Oak neighborhood of Cincinnati.