Kenneth Koch

(27 February 1925 – 6 July 2002 / Ohio / United States)

Kenneth Koch
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an American poet, playwright, and professor, active from the 1950s until his death at age 77. He was a prominent poet of the New York School of poetry, a loose group of poets including Frank O'Hara and John Ashbery that eschewed contemporary introspective poetry in favor of an exuberant, cosmopolitan style that drew major inspiration from travel, painting, and music.

Kenneth Koch was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on February 27, 1925. He studied at Harvard University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree, and attended Columbia University for his Ph.D.

Many critics found Koch's early work obscure, such as Poems (1953), and the epic Ko, or A Season on Earth (1959), ... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''"Something there is that doesn't hump a sump,"
    He said; and through his head she saw a cloud
    That seemed to twinkle.''
    Kenneth Koch (b. 1925), U.S. poet. Mending Sump (l. 5-7). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d...
  • ''He's come to die
    Or else to laugh, for hay is dried-up grass
    When you're alone."''
    Kenneth Koch (b. 1925), U.S. poet. Mending Sump (l. 9-11). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2...
  • One day the Nouns were clustered in the street.
    An Adjective walked by, with her dark beauty.
    The Nouns were struck, moved, changed.
    The next day a Verb drove up, and created the ...
    Kenneth Koch (b. 1925), U.S. poet. Permanently (l. 1-4). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983)...
  • As the adjective is lost in the sentence,
    So I am lost in your eyes, ears, nose, and throat—
    You have enchanted me with a single kiss
    Which can never be undone
    Until t...
    Kenneth Koch (b. 1925), U.S. poet. Permanently (l. 11-15). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 198...
  • ''I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next
    summer.
    I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do and its
    wooden beams were so inviting.''
    Kenneth Koch (b. 1925), U.S. poet. Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams (l. 1-2). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard ...
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