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Celebration for Kenneth Patchen: A Centennial Selection

23 OCTOBER 2011 — sunday

Poetry Flash presents a celebration for Kenneth Patchen: A Centennial Selection, on the late poet, prose writer, and picture-poem artist Kenneth Patchen, with readings of Patchen's work and remembrances from Willis Barnstone, Florence Miller, Jack Marshall, David Meltzer, GP Skratz, and the book's publisher, Bart Schneider of Kelly's Cove Press, hosted by Richard Silberg, Diesel, A Bookstore, 5433 College Avenue, Oakland, 3:00 (510/653-9965,; wheelchair accessible, ASL interpreters for the deaf and hearing impaired may be requested a week in advance by email,

More about the reading
Poet and translator Willis Barnstone, poet and memorist Jack Marshall, poet David Meltzer, poet and educator Florence Miller, poet, novelist, Kelly's Cove Press publisher Bart Schneider, and performance poet GP Skratz present commentary and readings from the work of poet, prose writer, and picture-poem artist Kenneth Patchen, with host Richard Silberg.

Kenneth Patchen, one of the twentieth century's leading experimental writers of poetry and prose, gained widespread attention with The Journal of Albion Moonlight (1941). His readings of poetry and jazz were a phenomenon in the 1950s. Almost forty years after his death, Patchen's works continue to intrigue lovers of modern literature worldwide. Born in 1911 in the Ohio steel-mill town of Niles, he lived mainly on the East Coast until 1950, when he and his wife, Miriam, moved to San Francisco. Living in North Beach, he created his "painted books" and performed poetry-jazz in the City's avant-garde clubs. A back injury restricted his activities in the late 1950s; they moved to Palo Alto, where Patchen continued to write and paint until his death at 61.

Kenneth Patchen: A Centennial Selection features poems, drawings, paintings, and painting-poems, some reproduced for the first time in color, spanning the author's career. Printer and photographer Jonathan Clark, editor of this book, befriended Kenneth and Miriam Patchen in the 1960s. He helped establish the Patchen archive at University of California, Santa Cruz Library and is executor of the Patchen estate.

"Like Whitman, Patchen was an American Visionary. Our Blake. Key texts like The Journal of Albion Moonlight & Sleepers Awake remain as unique as Leaves of Grass or Moby Dick. Tender poet, angry singer, Patchen endures even in his apparent absence from the litter of Literature studied in English Departments. Shame."

—David Meltzer

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