Kenneth Patchen: Rebel Poet in America

Overview

Here is the revised and expanded second edition of Larry Smith's biography of noted American author and artist, Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972). Patchen was an intimate of fellow artists and writers: Henry Miller, Kenneth Rexroth, James Laughlin, E.E.Cummings, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and others. With over 38 books, he published a book a year during his life...proletarian, avaunt-garde, politically engaged writing,and he pioneered experiments in poetry-jazz, and picture-poems.The story of Kenneth and Miriam Patchen is ...
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Overview

Here is the revised and expanded second edition of Larry Smith's biography of noted American author and artist, Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972). Patchen was an intimate of fellow artists and writers: Henry Miller, Kenneth Rexroth, James Laughlin, E.E.Cummings, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and others. With over 38 books, he published a book a year during his life...proletarian, avaunt-garde, politically engaged writing,and he pioneered experiments in poetry-jazz, and picture-poems.The story of Kenneth and Miriam Patchen is one of the great love stories in American Literature.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In my eyes Kenneth Patchen is now and will remain one of the outstanding figures in American letters. He represents all that a poet should represent, whether expressing himself in verse, in prose, in paint, or in action. By his example he has given courage, direction, and inspiration to more poets than anyone I know of on this continent Patchen stands out like a shining warrior, a herald of peace and truth, endowed with invincible heart and integrity. No one can read him without being affected--and influenced in his own life and work. It is not only the youth who are indebted to him but all of us, unto the last and most fanatically ardent defender of the Word." -- Henry Miller ......

"It has taken more that twenty-five years for this great poet's underground life to see the light of day in this rich, thorough, compelling biography. Patchen, our most unfortu┬Čnate, forgotten, unique man of American letters and of' passionate mercy' created his own wonder world of words, kingdoms and creatures to save himself--and us all: HURRAH FOR ANYTHING and HALLELUJAH ANYWAYI" -- Norbert Blei

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933964652
  • Publisher: Bottom Dog Press
  • Publication date: 1/21/2013
  • Edition description: revised second
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 322
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry Smith

Larry Smith is a poet, novelist, critic, and biographer. His literary biographies include Kenneth Patchen (Twayne Series, G.K. Hall, 1978) and Lawrence Ferlinghetti: Poet-at-Large (Southern Illinois University Press, 1983). His also wrote and co-produced with Tom Koba two video docu-dramas Kenneth Patchen: Poet of Engagement and James Wright's Ohio. He has edited books of

Appalachian and working-class writing for Bottom Dog Press. Together with his wife Ann and poet Phil Metres he edited the national anthology Come Together: Imagine Peace for Bottom Dog Press.

Smith is a professor emeritus of English and Humanities at Firelands College of Bowling Green State University and holds a doctorate from Kent State University. In 1980-1981 he held a Fullbright lectureship in Sicily where he taught a course on American Romanticism and the Beat Movement. His recent books include the novels The Long River Home and The Free Farm, and two books of poetry, A River Remains and Each Moment All.

As a native of the industrial Ohio River Valley he shares a working-class background with author Kenneth Patchen. He and wife Ann live along the shores of Lake Erie in Huron, Ohio.

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Read an Excerpt


Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972) was a poet, novelist, artist, performer of poetry-jazz in the tradition of engaged writing which he helped forge in America. Producing a book a year during his writing life, his work and life stand as a huge exposed girder in the structure of American culture and art. His friendships with such writers as James Laughlin, Henry Miller, E. E. Cummings, Muriel Rukeyser, Amos Wilder, Dylan Thomas, Lewis Mumford, Kenneth Rexroth, David Dellinger, Jonathan Williams, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti place him at the center of dissident writing in America.

Rising from his native grounds in working-class Ohio, he became a leading figure among the Leftist thinkers and artists of 1930's and 1940's Greenwich Village, then moved on to the West Coast where he created dynamic blends of poetry and art, poetry and jazz, poetry and theater. Finally crippled with back pain during the last decades of his life, he created the famed picture poems of his Wonder Period.

For four decades on East and West Coasts, by the force of his will and native genius, Patchen molded life and art as one. With the loving support of wife Miriam, he endured the pain and travail of years of struggle to recast an art based on truth and striking beauty. The tale of Kenneth and Miriam Patchen has become one of the great lover stories of American literature. His is the story of the rebel artist in America.

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Preface


Kenneth Patchen: Rebel Poet in America by Larry Smith

(Authorized Biography)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2006

    Kenneth Patchen's Life and Art Revealed

    Smith reveals the life and work on an essential American poet. Patchen is a poet who demands a response, and this book helps us engage him and his diverse writing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2001

    An Important Story

    Using primarily transcibed interview stories Smith creates a dark narrative of the Patchens attempt to live an idealistic life of art together against political and economic oppression. This is NOT a book of literary criticism. Instead it is a telling of the excruciating circumstances of the Patchen's attempts to produce texts and experiment and live in the most difficult of circumstances. Particularly disturbing is how Patchen's medical injuries were unethically treated by the California medical community. This is not a book to read and then go out and celebrate. I was pretty depressed by last turn's page. But it is a quite necessary book if one is to be a writer and understand that art is not simply romantic production, but socially sanctioned and constructed. The Patchen's struggle should be given to any young poet who thinks 'it's all about the work.' This book, in sometimes excruciating detail, shows how so many circumstances and social connections and simply saying the wrong thing to the wrong person can create and uphold great silences against the most creative individuals.

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