Kleinzahler's poetry is, as ever, concerned with permeability: voices, places, the real and the dreamed, the present and the past, colliding and intersecting and spilling over into each other. Whether the voice embodied is that of 'an adult male of late middle age, // about to weep among the avocados and citrus fruits / in a vast, overlit room next to a bosomy Cuban grandma' as in 'Whitney Houston' or that of the title character in 'Hootie Bill Do Polonius' who is bidding 'adios compadre // To a most galuptious scene Kid', Kleinzahler locates and exhibits in his poetry the human heart at the core of lived experience. This is a poet searching for - and finding - a cadence capable of describing life as it is lived today.
Kleinzahler's poetry is, as noted in the judges' citation for the 2004 Griffin Poetry Prize (which he won for his collection The Strange Hours Travelers Keep), 'ferociously on the move, between locations, between forms, between registers.' The Hotel Oneira finds Kleinzahler at his shape-shifting, acrobatic best, unearthing the 'moments of grace' buried amongst the detritus of our hectic, modern lives.