20th Century American Poet
Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972) was a poet and novelist. Born the son of a steelworker in Niles, Ohio, Patchen suffered an early tragedy when his younger sister Kathleen was struck and killed by a car in 1926. Writing in a style which, like the poetry of Langston Hughes and Kenneth Rexroth, was often referred to as "jazz poetry," Patchen struck up a publishing relationship and friendship with James Laughlin, the original publisher of New Directions, in 1936. After an automobile accident left him with a spinal injury, Patchen continued to work despite lifelong pain. He influenced younger poets like Allen Ginsberg and collaborated with the music artists John Cage and Charles Mingus.
“A senior survivor of the poetry spiritual wars. ”
— Allen Ginsberg on Kenneth Patchen
“The Journal of Albion Moonlight is a work of unmistakable genius; in all of English literature it stands alone. Albion Moonlight is the most naked figure of a man I have encountered in all literature.”
“In these fierce and hurrying years, Patchen's apocalyptic prophecies have come and are coming all too true. Listen if there is still time, to the words of this man! 'Peace or Perish: Mercy Truth Freedom Peace Peace Peace Peace Love Kindness Trust or All Men Are Doomed.'”