Kenward Elmslie

Poet, Fiction Writer

New York, NY 10011

Author's Bio

Poet, editor, and performer Kenward Elmslie was born in New York City and raised in Colorado Springs and Washington, DC. In his work, Elmslie often explored the intersection of experimental poetry and musical theater. His numerous poetry collections include Pavilions (1961); Motor Disturbance (1971), which won the Frank O’Hara Award; and Routine Disruptions: Selected Poems & Lyrics (1998). Elmslie was also the author of The Orchid Stories (1973) and several opera librettos, including Lizzie Borden (1966), as well as the musicals The Grass Harp (1971), based on the novel by Truman Capote, and Postcards on Parade: A Musical Play (1993). In 2005, a selection of his poetry and lyrics was produced as Lingoland, a six-person off-Broadway revue. Elmslie’s honors included a grant from the Ford Foundation, the Project for Innovative Poetry’s Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Poetry, and an award from the National Council of the Arts.

Elmslie died at the age of ninety-three on June 29, 2022.

Publications & Prizes


Journals: ,
New American Writing


Routine Disruptions (Coffee House Press, 1998)
Pay Dirt (Bamberger Books, 1992)
Sung Sex (Kulchur Foundation, 1989)
26 Bars (Z Press, 1987)

More Information

Identifies as: 
Scotch-Irish American
Fluent in: 
Born in: 
New York, NY
New York
Raised in: 
New York, NY
New York
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Last update: Jul 29, 2022