Kenneth Fearing

(1902 - 1961 / Illinois / United States)

Biography of Kenneth Fearing

Kenneth Fearing poet

Kenneth Fearing (July 28 1902 - June 26, 1961) was an American poet, novelist, and founding editor of the Partisan Review. Literary critic Macha Rosenthal called him "the chief poet of the American Depression."

Fearing was born in Oak Park, Illinois. His parents divorced when he was a year old, and he was raised mainly by his aunt. After studying at the University of Wisconsin, Fearing moved to New York City where he began a career as a poet and was active in leftist politics. In the Twenties and Thirties, he published regularly in The New Yorker and helped found The Partisan Review, while also working as an editor, journalist, and speechwriter and turning out a good deal of pulp fiction. Some of Fearing's pulp fiction was soft-core pornography, often published under the pseudonym Kirk Wolff.

A selection of Fearing's poems has been published as part of the Library of America's American Poets Project. His complete poetic works, edited by Robert M. Ryley, were published by the National Poetry Foundation in 1994.

Fearing published several collections of poetry including Angel Arms (1929), Dead Reckoning (1938), Afternoon of a Pawnbroker and other poems (1943), Stranger at Coney Island and other poems (1948), and seven novels including The Big Clock (1946). He is the father of poet Bruce Fearing.

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Aphrodite Metropolis

Harry loves Myrtle--He has strong arms, from the warehouse,
And on Sunday when they take the bus to emerald meadows he doesn't say:
"What will your chastity amount to when your flesh withers in a little while?"
No,
On Sunday, when they picnic in emerald meadows they look at the Sunday paper:
GIRL SLAYS BANKER-BETRAYER
They spread it around on the grass
BATH-TUB STIRS JERSEY ROW
And then they sit down on it, nice.

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