Can you imagine why a porgrapher would be shy? Are you satisfied with the state of (a) World Society (b) your soul (c) American writing? Are you in the habit of reading books that could have been written by anybody? Do you really want the truth? Do you kw how angels learn to fly? What would you feed a green deer? Do you think a profound social message can be conveyed by a book that is comic in character? When Kenneth Patchen's comic masterpiece, The Memoirs of a Shy Porgrapher first appeared in 1945, these questions were asked on the dust jacket. They have never seemed more relevant. The hilarious saga of Alfred Budd of Bivalve, New Jersey-a Candide-like incent and part-time porgrapher, written with what Diane DiPrima called Patchen's tender silliness, should inspire a new generation of readers
Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972) was one of the most prolific American poets of his time. He was born in Niles, Ohio. He attended school at the University of Madison-Wisconsin where he met his wife, Miriam Oikemus. They moved to Greenwich Village and befriended many writers including E.E. Cummings, Anais Nin, and Henry Miller. An accident occurred after his first publication that would eventually leave him an invalid. He and his wife later moved to San Francisco during the early years of the Beat Movement. Many Beat poets would cite Patchen as a major influence. His experimental protests in poetry, painting, and prose remain unprecedented. Aside from his many books of poetry, his acclaimed novels, and his concrete visual works, Kenneth Patchen also collaborated with John Cage for the radio-play The City Wears a Slouch Hat, and worked with Charles Mingus developing jazz poetry. Patchen was an unwavering pacifist and many of his works have a political bent. Patchen was the first recipient of an NEA Literary Grant in 1967.