Kenneth Patchen Survey
Kenneth Patchen was one of North America's most complete poets, and perhaps one of its least understood. Throughout his life he kept his commitment to pacifism, anarchism, and the need for meaningful rebellion against oppression of all sorts, from literary to political. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why he was excluded from the concrete poetry anthologies of the late 60s, and why his largest readership has been among beats and neo-beats. Like his predecessor William Blake, he fully realized the dangers of repression and the need to express rage in a coherent form. Like his successor bpNichol, he knew how to tap the child-elements in his psyche, those uncorrupted areas that demand both justice and creativity -- and as with Nichol this has lead careless readers to think of him as childlike, without noticing the darkness of the world with which both poets are familiar and against which they worked. Patchen had a unique ability to simultaneously express rage, humor, and compassion, and to work these into a thoroughly humanized personal and social sense of life's responsibilities, joys, and potentials.
Go to Painted Picture Poems.
Go to arias from Sleepers Awake.
This is a cooperative effort on the part of Kaldron and Light and Dust.