Harry Kemp

(15 December 1883 – 8 August 1960 / Youngstown, Ohio)

Harry Kemp
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Harry Hibbard Kemp was an American poet and prose writer of the twentieth century. He was known as (and promoted himself as) "the "Vagabond Poet, the Villon of America, the Hobo Poet, or the Tramp Poet," and was a well-known popular literary figure of his era, the "hero of adolescent Americans."

Life and Work

Kemp was born in Youngstown, Ohio, the only son of a candymaker. He was raised by his grandmother, in a house by the local train yards. At the age of seventeen he left home to become a common seaman; after returning to the United States he traveled across the country by riding the rails as a hobo. He later attended the University of Kansas,... more »

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Comments about Harry Kemp

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  • frank x. gaspar (12/15/2017 10:41:00 PM)

    Harry Kemp was from Youngstown, Ohio, but he died in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he was known locally as the poet of dunes. (see Cape Cod, etc.)

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Best Poem of Harry Kemp


The Spring blew trumpets of color;
Her Green sang in my brain --
I heard a blind man groping
"Tap -- tap" with his cane;

I pitied him in his blindness;
But can I boast, "I see"?
Perhaps there walks a spirit
Close by, who pities me, --

A spirit who hears me tapping
The five-sensed cane of mind
Amid such unguessed glories --
That I am worse than blind.

Read the full of Blind
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