an American poet and novelist. Though he denied any direct connection, Patchen's work and ideas regarding the role of artists paralleled those of the Dadaists, the Beats, and Surrealists. Patchen's ambitious body of work also foreshadowed literary art-forms ranging from reading poetry to jazz accompaniment to his late experiments with visual poetry (which he called his "picture poems").
In 1911, Kenneth Patchen was born in Niles, Ohio. His lifelong romance with writing commenced at age twelve, when he took up keeping a diary and reading the works of famous writers. His first published work was in his high school newspaper. After working for two years with his father, ... more »
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Kenneth Patchen Poems
As We Are So Wonderfully Done With Each ...
As we are so wonderfully done with each other We can walk into our separate sleep On floors of music where the milkwhite cloak of childhood lies
Let Us Have Madness
Let us have madness openly. O men Of my generation. Let us follow The footsteps of this slaughtered age:
Fall of the Evening Star
Speak softly; sun going down Out of sight. Come near me now. Dear dying fall of wings as birds
Wherever the dead are there they are and Nothing more. But you and I can expect To see angels in the meadowgrass that look Like cows -
When We Were Here Together
when we were here together in a place we did not know, nor one another. A bit of grass held between the teeth for a moment, bright hair on the wind.
We Go Out Together In the Staring Town
We go out together into the staring town And buy cheese and bread and little jugs with flowered labels
There Are Not Many Kingdoms Left
I write the lips of the moon upon her shoulders. In a temple of silvery farawayness I guard her to rest. For her bed I write a stillness over all the swans of the
The Artist's Duty
So it is the duty of the artist to discourage all traces of shame To extend all boundaries To fog them in right over the plate To kill only what is ridiculous
That should be obvious Of course it won't Any fool knows that. Even in the winter.
The Orange Bears
The Orange bears with soft friendly eyes Who played with me when I was ten, Christ, before I'd left home they'd had Their paws smashed in the rolls, their backs
In the footsteps of the walking air
In the footsteps of the walking air Sky's prophetic chickens weave their cloth of awe And hillsides lift green wings in somber journeying.
Saturday Night in the Parthenon
Tiny green birds skate over the surface of the room. A naked girl prepares a basin with steaming water, And in the corner away from the hearth, the red wheels Of an up-ended chariot slowly turn.
The Naked Land
A beast stands at my eye. I cook my senses in a dark fire. The old wombs rot and the new mother
Irkalla's White Caves
I believe that a young woman Is standing in a circle of lions In the other side of the sky.
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
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As We Are So Wonderfully Done With Each Other
As we are so wonderfully done with each other
We can walk into our separate sleep
On floors of music where the milkwhite cloak of childhood lies
O my lady, my fairest dear, my sweetest, loveliest one
Your lips have splashed my dull house with the speech of flowers
My hands are hallowed where they touched over your
It is good to be weary from that brilliant work
It is being God to feel your breathing under me
A waterglass on the bureau fills with morning . . .
Don’t let anyone in to wake us.