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 was surprised that I was able to select poems that are so out of my usual spoken word preference. The Poetry Out Loud website has hundreds of poems that I have never seen before, and the fact that I found 3 and was able to make it so far with them is amazing to me. I guess I learned that stepping outside of the box is okay!"
Annabelle Emuze
2015 IL POL Champion