Kenneth Patchen

(13 December 1911 - 8 January 1972 / Ohio)

Kenneth Patchen
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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, ... more »

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  • Michael Sjobeck(3/19/2019 9:55:00 PM)

    They point their noses
    At the Negro jerking in the tight noose;
    His feet spread crow-like above these
    Honorable men who laugh as he chokes.
    I don’t know this black man.
    I don’t know these white men.
    But I know that one of my hands
    Is black, and one white. I know that
    One part of me is being strangled,
    While another part horribly laughs.
    Until it changes,
    I shall be forever killing; and be killed.

    1 person liked.
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  • Michael Sjobeck(3/19/2019 9:54:00 PM)

    Nice Day for a Lynching

    The bloodhounds look like sad old judges
    In a strange court.

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  • Frank madden(8/31/2018 12:21:00 PM)

    Where is the line The truth is what they don't say from?

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  • Kalaiarasi Tiruvarur(4/16/2018 1:02:00 PM)

    What a wonderful observation about the deer we get love and emotion on nature

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  • Susan Kutner(8/23/2017 8:12:00 PM)

    Please help - years ago I read Patchen and there was one prose poem with no puncuation about The terrible white tiger that floats in the air and And oh my love I have nowhere at all to take thee that was heartbreaking and beautiful. Does anyone know the title of the book it was in?

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  • Bill Grace(6/3/2015 12:14:00 AM)

    The Deer and the Snake is a poem discovered as an undergraduate that has haunted me for close to fifty years such is its beauty and depth. Bill Grace It is here one click away.

    4 person liked.
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  • George Neidorf(12/29/2013 4:43:00 PM)

    I think that kenneth patchen's poems can be purchased from city lights bookstore in san Francisco.

    7 person liked.
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  • Karin Holloway(12/15/2013 8:07:00 AM)

    Aarrrgghhh! I had hoped to find Patchen's poem which had sledding in it- -no, not the light it's fun in the snow kind of poem but about human darkness. Tragedy, I think. Heck, I was only 13 or so when I found my then dead uncle's book of Patchen poems. And, Chad, I'm soooo sorry but I gave it away last year, nearly 50 years later. Lovely little book it was, too. I was having a life clear-out and wasn't thinking straight. I wasn't aware of Patchen's importance to my life and times- -the resistance to the Vietnam War and to stupid cultural values and mores. I thank him from this side of the big divide and wish him well, wherever he's translating reality now. Back to reading his poems. Oh, hello everyone!

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  • Christine Schuster(1/14/2013 1:07:00 PM)

    Hello everybody,
    I came across Kenneth Patchen only recently, through a poem of his read by Johnny Dowd on an album by Jackie Leven: The Skaters (the album title is 'Oh what a Blow that Phantom Dealt me') . I was intrigued and deeply moved by the poem itself and by the way it was performed and set to music. Unfortunately I don't understand all of it (I'm German) , so I'd be very happy if someone could post it here. It's in the book 'Still Another Pelican in the Breadbasket', which doesn't seem to be available here.

    Thanks a lot.

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  • Chad Palomino(10/11/2012 4:14:00 PM)

    Hello Ola,
    I was very touched by your comment.
    I have the same feeling about Kenneth Patchen, even if I dont know all his work.
    I'm from Belgium and had only the opportunity to read what I can still find on the web.
    Maybe you could help me.

    I'm looking for all the poems of kenneth Patchen.

    I love his writing. As you. Deeply. I hate so many poems...
    and I seem to like nearly everything Patchen's done.

    I had two wonderful poems of him that I lost.

    One is about a lynching in the South of USA. I think it's called 'Good day for a Lynching'.

    The other is about loosers, loneliness and whores
    I've lost the nameof it..

    But anyway...
    anything from/on from Kenneth Patchen interests me, please let me know.

    I'm ready to buy old book of him. As well as Tenesse Williams old stuff.

    If you can help.
    Just mail me at: or reach me through here.

    MANY thanks
    For all

    5 person liked.
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Read all 16 comments »
Best Poem of Kenneth Patchen

Let Us Have Madness

Let us have madness openly.
O men Of my generation.
Let us follow
The footsteps of this slaughtered age:
See it trail across Time's dim land
Into the closed house of eternity
With the noise that dying has,
With the face that dead things wear--
nor ever say
We wanted more; we looked to find
An open door, an utter deed of love,
Transforming day's evil darkness;
but We found extended hell and fog Upon the earth,
and within the head
A rotting bog of lean huge graves.

Read the full of Let Us Have Madness Updates

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