Kenneth Patchen

1911–1972
Kenneth Patchen

An inspiration for the Beat Generation and a true “people’s poet,” Kenneth Patchen was a prolific writer, visual artist and performer whose exuberant, free-form productions celebrate spontaneity and attack injustices, materialism, and war. Born in Niles, Ohio, he was an avid reader as a child and kept a diary from an early age; later he traveled throughout the United States, meeting a wide range of people and having the experiences he would explore in his prose and poetry. Patchen was also one of the first poets to read his work to a background of jazz.

What People are Saying

"I learned just how much deeper your understanding of a poem is when you memorize it than when you just read it a couple of times, and how you understand it a little better every single time you recite it."
Alex Hanesworth
2015 WA POL Champion