Before he vanished in the fog of San Francisco, Weldon Kees (1914-55) was a poet, storyteller, critic, painter, musician, and filmmaker. What remains is a body of work and a large collection of letters that shed light on Kees's complex personality. Robert E. Kll traces the odyssey of a Nebraska boy who made his way in a fiercely competitive national scene, befriending the movers and shakers of the art worlds on both coasts. Kees's letters - satirical, witty, poetic, gossipy, intensely individual - provide the feel of lives being lived, of a career going forth, and finally of the darkness that engulfed him when, in Kll's phrase, he was ten minutes from triumph .
Robert E. Knoll is D. B. and Paula Varner Professor of English Emeritus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is the author of Conversations with Wright Morris: Critical Views and Responses (Nebraska 1977).