The Walking-Away World

The Walking-Away World


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The Walking-Away World by Kenneth Patchen

The wonderful picture-poems of Kenneth Patchen, long out of print, are being brought back into one generous volume—cryptic creatures quipping quirky quotes and all.
The singular work of Kenneth Patchen has influenced poets, artists and political activists for decades. New Directions is proud to launch a Patchen revival beginning with omnibus editions of his unique compositions.
Kenneth Patchen's last words to New Directions founder James Laughlin were "When you find out which came first, the chicken or the egg, you write and tell me." Answering his own question comes Patchen's "picture-poem." The Walking-Away World reissues three of his picture-poem classics: Wonderings, But Even So, and Hallelujah Anyway. Inspired by the "illuminated printing" of William Blake, Patchen worked in a spirited fervency with watercolor, casein, inks, and other media to create absurdly compelling works. His entire process was a simultaneous fusion of painting and poetry: neither the poem nor the painting preceded one another. Each picture-poem is inhabited by strange beings uttering everything from poignant poetic adages to cheeky satire. One confides, "I have a funny feeling / that some very peculiar-looking creatures out there are watching us," which sums up the suspicious joys of The Walking-Away World.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780811217576
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 07/28/2008
Series: New Directions Paperbook
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972) was one of the most prolific American poets of his time. He was born in Niles, Ohio. He attended school at the University of Madison-Wisconsin where he met his wife, Miriam Oikemus. They moved to Greenwich Village and befriended many writers including E.E. Cummings, Anais Nïn, and Henry Miller. An accident occurred after his first publication that would eventually leave him an invalid. He and his wife later moved to San Francisco during the early years of the Beat Movement. Many Beat poets would cite Patchen as a major influence. His "experimental protests" in poetry, painting, and prose remain unprecedented. Aside from his many books of poetry, his acclaimed novels, and his concrete visual works, Kenneth Patchen also collaborated with John Cage for the radio-play The City Wears a Slouch Hat, and worked with Charles Mingus developing jazz poetry. Patchen was an unwavering pacifist and many of his works have a political bent. Patchen was the first recipient of an NEA Literary Grant in 1967.

Jim Woodring lives on Vashon Island in
Washington State’s Puget Sound with his wife, Mary. The recipient of numerous rewards—including a Genius Award—he is an animator and a fine artist as well as a cartoonist.

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