Kees, Weldon, 1914-1955
Weldon Kees (1914-1955?) was born in Beatrice, Nebraska. Early in his writing career, he published several short stories, but his novels were rejected. He attended school at the University of Missouri and the University of Nebraska. Around the mid-1930s, while he was working for the Federal Writers Project in Lincoln, Nebraska, he began writing poetry as well. He moved to Denver, Colorado to pursue a library science degree and work at the Denver Public Library and later at the Bibliographical Center of Research for the Rocky Mountain Region. In 1941, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, his publisher rejected one of his stories for being unpatriotic. After this, he abandoned fiction writing and focused on poetry. He and his wife Ann, whom he had married in 1937, moved to New York, where he worked as a book and film critic and newsreel scriptwriter. His first book of poems was published in 1943, after which his career as a poet took off. Beginning in 1948, Kees also pursued painting at an artist colony in Provincetown, Massachusetts, although he was not as successful at painting as at poetry. In 1950, he and his wife moved to Point Richmond, California, and he began working at the University of California, San Francisco making movies and writing songs in addition to painting and writing poetry. He separated from his wife in 1954. On July 19, 1955, his car was found near the Golden Gate Bridge. Although his body was never found, he was presumed to have committed suicide.