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Kenneth Patchen (1911–1972)

Author of The Journal of Albion Moonlight

63+ Works 1,759 Members 21 Reviews 11 Favorited

About the Author

"One of America's most unusual and powerful contemporary poets," said the San Francisco Chronicle of this versatile West Coast poet, writer, and painter. Born in Niles, Ohio, Patchen worked in all sorts of jobs before settling in California. In 1957 he pioneered in the "public birth of show more poetry---jazz" by reading his poems to the accompaniment of the Chamber Jazz Sextet in nightclubs and concert halls on the West Coast, breaking attendance records in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In 1954 he received the Shelley Memorial Award. Patchen died in 1972 after a prolonged illness, during which he continued to write prolifically. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Works by Kenneth Patchen

The Journal of Albion Moonlight (1941) 315 copies, 4 reviews
Collected Poems (New Directions Books) (1968) 170 copies, 1 review
Selected Poems (1946) 170 copies, 1 review
Memoirs of a Shy Pornographer (1992) 168 copies, 7 reviews
Sleepers Awake (1946) 85 copies
Because It Is (1960) 76 copies
Poems of humor & protest (1956) 62 copies, 2 reviews
Hallelujah Anyway (1966) 60 copies
But even so (1968) 48 copies
Wonderings (1971) 46 copies
In Quest of Candlelighters (1972) 35 copies, 1 review
We Meet (2008) 26 copies, 1 review
The Dark Kingdom (1948) 18 copies
There's Love All Day (1970) 18 copies
Patchen's Lost Plays (1977) 15 copies
See You in the Morning (1947) 14 copies
Cloth of the Tempest (1948) 13 copies
Hurrah for Anything (1957) 12 copies
First will & testament (1948) 11 copies, 1 review
The Teeth of the Lion (1942) 9 copies
Before the Brave (2017) 9 copies
Love & war poems (1968) 7 copies
Poemscapes (1958) 5 copies
In Order To 2 copies, 1 review
A Love Poem 1 copy
But even so 1 copy

Associated Works

The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry (1999) — Contributor — 600 copies, 3 reviews
City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology (1995) — Contributor — 365 copies, 6 reviews
A Comprehensive Anthology of American Poetry (1929) — Contributor — 130 copies, 2 reviews
Leading From Within: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Lead (2007) — Contributor — 102 copies, 3 reviews
Twentieth-Century American Poetry (1944) — Contributor — 100 copies, 2 reviews
Years of Protest: A Collection of American Writings of the 1930's (1967) — Contributor — 39 copies, 1 review
New Masses; An Anthology of the Rebel Thirties, (1980) — Contributor — 38 copies, 1 review
Holding your eight hands; an anthology of science fiction verse (1970) — Contributor — 22 copies, 1 review
Men and Women: The Poetry of Love (1970) — Contributor — 8 copies
Peace or perish : a crisis anthology — Illustrator — 4 copies
Døds-layoutet 1 (1972) — Author, some editions; Author, some editions — 3 copies, 1 review


Common Knowledge



This lovable mess is a really good illustration of everything that was delightful and horrible about the absurdist avant-garde of the middle of the last century. The first half of the book bears a vague resemblance to a conventional novel, albeit mostly as a framework for some luscious prose poems which set about explicating the human condition and its relationship with the divine. Its skeletal plot narrates a surreal motorcade across America which features numerous oddballs including Jesus and Hitler. The second half of the book brings these characters and their caprices up occasionally, but is increasingly dominated by nonsensical strings of words, sometimes presented as aphorisms, sometimes as just plain lists, and sporadic chapter titles, admittedly very droll, for proposed novels. Some problems which this book may contain for contemporary readers include its considerable length--its modest page count conceals rather fine print and the nonsensical portions especially are pretty slow going. The book is fraught with violence and somewhat misogynistic sex which I found disturbing and which probably will downright offend the politically correct, and the author;s heartfelt but haywire Christianity which will surely offend some, particularly the devout. There are also more than a few literary parlor tricks such as parallel texts running in the margins, an annoyance which I found quite offputting. He chews his cud far too much on old-fashioned antiwar-cum-Marxist rants which are typical of the thirties and forties and which I felt deserved a rest after about the seventeenth time through. I came to this as a longtime admirer of Patchen's Memoirs of a Shy Pornographer, a much superior book which contains all of the sublimity without the logorrhea, anachronistic politics, and nonsense passages. As a young man, I would have loved this wholeheartedly; as an old man I appreciated much of it but wish it hadn't taken me the better part of a month to read.… (more)
1 vote
Big_Bang_Gorilla | 3 other reviews | Dec 10, 2022 |
Anti-establishment poems, some of which I couldn't understand, others I liked, e.g. 'The state of the nation' and 'Lunch wagon on highway 57'. An inscription on the third page 'Dear Pete, Here's a souvenir of the sourdough capital of the world, my ideal home'.
jon1lambert | 1 other review | Feb 5, 2022 |
Includes volumes "Because It Is," "Poenscapes," "A Letter to God," Hurrah for Anything," and "Aflame and Afun of Walking Faces".
JNagarya | Aug 6, 2021 |
Includes volumes "Wonderings," "Hallelujah Anyway," and "But Even So".
JNagarya | Aug 6, 2021 |



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