Biography of Kenneth Patchen
an American poet and novelist. Though he denied any direct connection, Patchen's work and ideas regarding the role of artists paralleled those of the Dadaists, the Beats, and Surrealists. Patchen's ambitious body of work also foreshadowed literary art-forms ranging from reading poetry to jazz accompaniment to his late experiments with visual poetry (which he called his "picture poems").
In 1911, Kenneth Patchen was born in Niles, Ohio. His lifelong romance with writing commenced at age twelve, when he took up keeping a diary and reading the works of famous writers. His first published work was in his high school newspaper. After working for two years with his father, Patchen when on to college in Alexander Meiklejohn's Experimental College for one year, and then to the University of Wisconsin. He grew bored of his studies, and began to wander around the US. He continued his writing, and in 1934, he married Miriam Oikemus. Patchen dislocated a disk in his spine, an incessantly painful injury, which he lived with for a span of nearly thirty years, before seeking treatment. He died in 1972.
Over the course of his career, which included about forty books, Patchen tried his hand at several types of poetry: concrete poetry, drama, prose, jazz, verse, and the anti-novel. He even published self-illustrated writings, in his own words, were "painted books." Henry Miller called Patchen "The Man of Anger and Light". In his lifetime, he produced many books and poems. His poetry on atrocities of war is especially remembered.
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Kenneth Patchen Poems
Let Us Have Madness
Let us have madness openly. O men Of my generation. Let us follow The footsteps of this slaughtered age:
The Artist's Duty
So it is the duty of the artist to discourage all traces of shame To extend all boundaries To fog them in right over the plate To kill only what is ridiculous
As We Are So Wonderfully Done With Each ...
As we are so wonderfully done with each other We can walk into our separate sleep On floors of music where the milkwhite cloak of childhood lies
When We Were Here Together
when we were here together in a place we did not know, nor one another. A bit of grass held between the teeth for a moment, bright hair on the wind.
Fall Of The Evening Star
Speak softly; sun going down Out of sight. Come near me now. Dear dying fall of wings as birds
Do The Dead Know What Time It Is?
The old guy put down his beer. Son, he said, (and a girl came over to the table where we were: asked us by Jack Christ to buy her a drink.)
Wherever the dead are there they are and Nothing more. But you and I can expect To see angels in the meadowgrass that look Like cows -
That should be obvious Of course it won't Any fool knows that. Even in the winter.
Be Music, Night
Be music, night, That her sleep may go Where angels have their pale tall choirs
There Are Not Many Kingdoms Left
I write the lips of the moon upon her shoulders. In a temple of silvery farawayness I guard her to rest. For her bed I write a stillness over all the swans of the
The Dove walks with sticky feet Upon the green crowns of the almond tree, Its feathers smeared over with warmth Like honey
The Naked Land
A beast stands at my eye. I cook my senses in a dark fire. The old wombs rot and the new mother
We Go Out Together In The Staring Town
We go out together into the staring town And buy cheese and bread and little jugs with flowered labels
The Snow Is Deep On The Ground
The snow is deep on the ground. Always the light falls Softly down on the hair of my belovèd.
Irkalla's White Caves
I believe that a young woman
Is standing in a circle of lions
In the other side of the sky.
In a little while I must carry her the flowers
Which only fade here; and she will not cry
If my hands are not very full.