Kenneth Patchen by Larry Smith
Rebel Poet in America (Working Lives)

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Here is the definitive biography of American poet and artist Kenneth Patchen. Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972) was a poet, novelist, artist, performer of poetry-jazz in the tradition of engaged writing which he helped forge in America. Producing a book a year during his writing life, his work and life stand as a huge exposed girder in the structure of American culture and art. His friendships with such writers as James Laughlin, Henry Miller, E. E. Cummings, Muriel Rukeyser, Amos Wilder, Dylan Thomas, Lewis Mumford, Kenneth Rexroth, David Dellinger, Jonathan Williams, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti place him at the center of dissident writing in America.

Rising from his native grounds in working-class Ohio, he became a leading figure among the Leftist thinkers and artists of 1930’s and 1940’s Greenwich Village, then moved on to the West Coast where he created dynamic blends of poetry and art, poetry and jazz, poetry and theater. Finally crippled with back pain during the last decades of his life, he created the famed picture poems of his Wonder Period.

For four decades on East and West Coasts, by the force of his will and native genius, Patchen molded life and art as one. With the loving support of wife Miriam, he endured the pain and travail of years of struggle to recast an art based on truth and striking beauty. The tale of Kenneth and Miriam Patchen has become one of the great lover stories of American literature. His is the story of the rebel artist in America.


About Larry Smith

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Published January 21, 2013 by Bottom Dog Press. 322 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction