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Encyclopedia > Kenneth Patchen
Kenneth Patchen

Born December 13, 1911
Died January 8, 1972

Kenneth Patchen (December 13, 1911January 8, 1972) was 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 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"). Image File history File links Kpatchen. ... December 13 is the 347th day of the year (348th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1911 (MCMXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... January 8 is the 8th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The poor poet A poet is a person who writes poetry. ... A novel is an extended work of written, narrative, prose fiction, usually in story form; the writer of a novel is a novelist. ... Cover of the first edition of the publication, Dada. ... Max Ernst. ...



Patchen was born in Niles, Ohio. His father made his living in the nearby steel mills of Youngstown, Ohio. Those steel mills would later be referenced in poems like "The Orange Bears" and "May I Ask You A Question, Mr. Youngstown Sheet & Tube?". A major tragedy occurred in Patchen's childhood when his younger sister, Kathleen, was struck and killed by an automobile. Her death would affect him for the rest of his life. He later paid tribute to her in a poem entitled, "In Memory of Kathleen." Niles is a city in Trumbull County, Ohio, United States. ... Location within the state of Ohio Coordinates: , Country United States State Ohio Counties Mahoning Founded 1796 Incorporated 1848 (village) - 1867 (city) Government  - Mayor Jay Williams (I) Area  - City  34. ...

Patchen began to first develop his interest in literature and poetry while he was in high school, and his first poem was published in the New York Times while he was still in college. He attended Alexander Meiklejohn's Experimental College for one year, then left school and traveled across the country, working itinerant jobs. He later attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and while still an undergraduate, met Miriam Oikemus at a friend's party. Though they lived far from one another at the time, they soon fell in love, got married, and moved to Greenwich Village, where Patchen struggled to make a living as a writer. His strong relationship with Miriam would support him, through much hardship, throughout his adult life. The New York Times is an internationally known daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed in the United States and many other nations worldwide. ... 1928 Time cover featuring Meiklejohn Alexander Meiklejohn (February 1, 1872—December 17, 1964) was a philosopher, university administrator, and free-speech advocate. ... “University of Wisconsin” redirects here. ... Miriam Patchen (1914-2000) was the wife and muse of poet and painter Kenneth Patchen, who dedicated each of his more than 40 works To Miriam. After his death, she an activist advocating peace and poetry. ... The Washington Square Arch Greenwich Village (IPA pronunciation: ), also called simply the Village, is a largely residential area on the west side of downtown (southern) Manhattan in New York City named after Greenwich, London. ...

Indeed, a second major tragedy occurred in Patchen's life when he suffered a permanent spinal injury while trying to fix a friend's car. This injury caused him an extreme amount of pain and required multiple surgeries. Although the first two surgeries seemed to help with some of his pain, a botched third surgery ended up disabling Patchen for life.

Patchen and his wife also spent much of their lives in California where Patchen became an integral part of the West Coast poetry scene. Then, in Patchen's final years, the couple moved to a small farm house in Connecticut where Patchen eventually created his distinctive painted poems. Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Largest metro area Greater Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ... Official language(s) English Capital Hartford Largest city Bridgeport Largest metro area Hartford Area  Ranked 48th  - Total 5,543[2] sq mi (14,356 km²)  - Width 70 miles (113 km)  - Length 110 miles (177 km)  - % water 12. ...

Throughout his life-time, Patchen was a fervent pacifist (as he made clear in much of his work) and was against U.S. involvement in World War II. This controversial view, coupled with his immobilization, kept Patchen from ever achieving much success outside of a cult following. Pacifist may mean: an advocate of pacifism. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...


Patchen's early books of poetry were his most political and caused Patchen to be championed, early on, as a Proletariat Poet. This title, which Patchen rejected, never stuck, since Patchen's work varied widely in subject, style, and form. As his career progressed, Patchen continued to push himself into more and more experimental styles and forms, developing, along with writers like Langston Hughes and Kenneth Rexroth, what has come to be known as jazz poetry in the process. He also experimented with his child-like "painted poems," many of which are collected in the book What Shall We Do Without Us. Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, novelist, playwright, short story writer, and newspaper columnist. ... Kenneth Rexroth (December 22, 1905 – June 6, 1982) was an American poet, translator and critical essayist. ... Jazz poetry can be defined as poetry that demonstrates jazz-like rhythm or the feel of improvisation, from an article by Pittsburg State University faculty. ...

During the course of his career, Patchen tried his hand at writing experimental novels like The Journal of Albion Moonlight and The Memoirs of A Shy Pornographer, as well as the radio play The City Wears A Slouch Hat.

Patchen was a major influence on the Beat movement, admired by writers like Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The Beat Generation was a group of American writers who came to prominence in the late 1950s and early 1960s. ... Irwin Allen Ginsberg (IPA: ) (June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American poet. ... Lawrence Ferlinghetti Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born Lawrence Ferling[1] on March 24, 1919) is an American poet who is known as the co-owner of the City Lights Bookstore and publishing house, which published early literary works of the Beats, including Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. ...

His Collected Poems was first published in 1968.

The only existing biography of Patchen, Kenneth Patchen: Rebel Poet In America, was published in 2000 by Larry Smith.

Musical collaborations and recordings

In 1942 Patchen collaborated with the composer John Cage on the radio play The City Wears A Slouch Hat. Year 1942 (MCMXLII) was a common year starting on Thursday (the link will display the full 1942 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... A composer is a person who writes music. ... For the Mortal Kombat character, see Johnny Cage. ...

In the 1950's, Patchen collaborated with Charles Mingus, reading his poetry with Mingus' jazz combo. Unfortunately, no known recording of their collaboration exists. Charles Mingus (April 22, 1922 – January 5, 1979) was an American jazz bassist, composer, bandleader, and occasional pianist. ...

Moe Asch of Folkways Records made some recordings of Patchen reading his poetry and excerpts from one of his novels. These recordings were released as "Kenneth Patchen Reads with Jazz in Canada" (1959), "Selected Poems of Kenneth Patchen" (1960), and "Kenneth Patchen Reads His Love Poems" (released 1961). "From Albion Moonlight" was recorded later at Patchen's home but not released until 1972 by Folkways. Moses (Moe) Asch was the founder of Folkways Records and a key figure in bringing folk music into the American mainstream. ...

The recording Kenneth Patchen Reads With Jazz In Canada was released onto CD by the label Locust Music in 2004.

Many of his poems have been set to music by David Bedford. Others who have also set Patchen's work to music include: Saxophonist Peter Brötzmann , with his solo album entitled "14 love poems + 10 more" released on the FMP label ; Composer Kyle Gann has set his voice reading a text to music (see below) and violinist Carla Kihlstedt set a text on the "Patchen" track of her solo Tzadik release Two Foot Yard. David Vickerman Bedford (born August 4, 1937) is a British composer and musician. ... Kyle Gann (born November 21 1955) is a composer and music critic born in Dallas, Texas. ... Carla Kihlstedt, a violinist and vocalist, is a founding member of Tin Hat Trio and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. ... See Tzadik for other meanings of the word. ...


  • Before the Brave, 1936
  • First Will and Testament, 1939
  • The Journal of Albion Moonlight, 1941
  • The Dark Kingdom, 1942
  • Cloth of the Tempest, 1943
  • The Memoirs of a Shy Pornographer, 1945
  • An Astonished Eye Looks Out of the Air, 1946
  • Outlaw of the Lowest Planet, 1946
  • The Selected Poems of Kenneth Patchen, 1946
  • Sleepers Awake, 1946
  • Panels for the Walls of Heaven,1946
  • Pictures of Life and Death, 1946
  • They Keep Riding Down All the Time, 1946
  • CCCLXXIV Poems, 1948
  • Red Wine and Yellow Hair, 1949
  • Fables and Other Little Tales, 1953
  • Poems of Humor and Protest, 1954
  • Hurrah for Anything, 1957
  • When We Were Here Together, 1957
  • The Love Poems of Kenneth Patchen, 1960
  • Hallelujah Anyway, 1966
  • But Even So, 1968
  • Wonderings, 1971
  • In Quest of Candlelighters, 1972
  • The Argument of Innocence, 1976
  • Patchen's Lost Plays, 1977
  • Still Another Pelican in the Breadbox, 1980

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Kenneth Patchen Papers (1389 words)
The third of five children, Kenneth was born on December 13, 1911, in Niles, Ohio, to Eva and Wayne Patchen.
Patchen fell off the operating table, permanently damaging his spine, and was bedridden the remainder of his life.
An article by David Tony Glover, "Kenneth Patchen, the Horror and the Hope"; "Homage to Kenneth Patchen," by a collection of authors; Edward Bellamy's "Parable of the Water Tank"; and an article, "Blake," by an unidentified author are also part of this subseries.
  More results at FactBites »



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