Sunday 21 January 2024

Kenneth Patchen rides again

Kenneth Patchen (1911–72) is not a writer familiar to many British readers, even obsessive poetry readers, but he was important to Katy Evans-Bush in her teens – which is an age at which writers can be very important – and he was important to her again during that recent period of Covid lockdowns, lock-outs, lock-ups, cock-ups. The above photo (courtesy K E-B) shows in a nutshell, or a sweetie-box, the kindling process that led to her new collection, Joe Hill Makes His Way into the Castle. For that process spelled out, go to the page for her book on the CBe website and download the extract that gives you K E-B’s preface, and a note on Joe Hill, and a couple of the poems; and then, having got that far, buy the book. Which is officially published early in February.

Kenneth Patchen didn’t just write. Writers don’t just write. Politics were important, and music and love and coffee and bluebells, and he drew and painted. Below are some of Patchen’s book covers and his poems as artworks. (Thank you, Poetry Library at the Southbank Centre, a hugely important resource.)

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