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 »
Click here to add this poet to your My Favorite Poets.
Kenneth Koch Poems
The Boiling Water
A serious moment for the water is when it boils And though one usually regards it merely as a convenience
One Train May Hide Another
In a poem, one line may hide another line, As at a crossing, one train may hide another train. That is, if you are waiting to cross The tracks, wait to do it for one moment at
Variations On A Theme By William Carlos ...
1 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.
Nothing's moving I don't see anybody And I know that it's not a trick There really is nothing moving there And there aren't any people. It is the very utmost top
There is no way not to be excited When what you have been disillusioned by raises its head From its arms and seems to want to talk to you again. You forget home and family
Variations At Home And Abroad
It takes a lot of a person's life To be French, or English, or American Or Italian. And to be at any age. To live at any certain time. The Polish-born resident of Manhattan is not merely a representative of
To Various Persons Talked To All At Once
You have helped hold me together. I'd like you to be still. Stop talking or doing anything else for a minute. No. Please. For three minutes, maybe five minutes.
Talking to Patrizia
Patrizia doesn't want to Talk about love she Says she just Wants to make
A Momentary Longing To Hear Sad Advice F...
Who was my teacher at Harvard. Did not wear overcoat Saying to me as we walked across the Yard
I love you as a sheriff searches for a walnut That will solve a murder case unsolved for years Because the murderer left it in the snow beside a window Through which he saw her head, connecting with
The Magic of Numbers
The Magic of Numbers—1 How strange it was to hear the furniture being moved around in the apartment upstairs!
The Brassiere Factory
Is the governor falling From a great height? Arm in arm we fled the brassiere factory, The motion-boat stayed on the shore!
Poem For My Twentieth Birthday
Passing the American graveyard, for my birthday the crosses stuttering, white on tropical green,
The sun is high, the seaside air is sharp, And salty light reveals the Mayan School. The Irish hope their names are on the harp,
Comments about Kenneth Koch
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
The Boiling Water
A serious moment for the water is
when it boils
And though one usually regards it
merely as a convenience
To have the boiling water
available for bath or table
Occasionally there is someone
around who understands
The importance of this moment
for the water—maybe a saint,
Maybe a poet, maybe a crazy
man, or just someone
With his mind 'floating'in a
sense, away from his deepest
Personal concerns to more
A serious moment for the island
is when its trees
Begin to give it shade, and