p r o s e  p o e m 

r i c h a r d  k o s t e l a n e t z

Mr. Kostelanetz has invited me to a duet, and it’s hard to resist both the temptation to lead and to let go entirely and be lifted through subways, dance halls, and ballrooms of interesting lives. Implied was an invitation to perform a solo, which I gratefully accepted. My thanks, R.K.   


A good libretto, even an impressionist, double-exposed or portmanteaued one, follows most of the rules of simple dramaturgy. Balanchine once said the perfect type plot for a dramatic narrative ballet was the story of the Prodigal Son. Once there was a man who had everything, then he had nothing; finally he had everything again.

—Lincoln Kirstein, BALLET ALPHABET (1939)


From over two dozen famous classic ballets this dance called “Inventory,” really the epitome of compilation choreography, takes phrases familiar to all dance lovers.

In an all-night performance, several dancers represent the planets slowly rotating around the sun, whose role is played by the choreographer.

Inspired by birdlike movements, this ballet is essentially plotless.

When two strangers start to flirt with each other, other young men and women appear, apparently strangers, likewise flirting with one another.



© Richard Kostelanitz

Heather Burns (H.B.) is Assistant Editor of Archipelago.

Other distributions of  “1001 Ballets” can be read on the following sites:

The 2nd Hand

Jack Magazine



Poetry Daily (Seneca Review)


Paper Plates (pdf)

Also, “Notes on spacial form,” Seigfried Schmidt Festsite

And an interview in collected stories




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