“In memory everything seems to happen to music”*…
… at YouAreListeningTo.
* Tennessee Williams
As we tune in, we might send forcefully-metered birthday greetings to Kenneth Patchen; he was born on this date in 1911. A poet and novelist who experimented with form (most notably, with incorporating jazz into his readings), Patchen was widely ignored by the cultural establishment in his lifetime; but (with his close friend Kenneth Rexroth) became an inspiration for the young poets– Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, and others– who became known as the Beat Generation. In 1968, near the end of his life, The Collected Poems of Kenneth Patchen was published– and Patchen was embraced by the Establishment. The New York TImes called the book “a remarkable volume,” comparing Patchen’s work to that of Blake, Whitman, Crane, Lawrence, and even to the Bible. In another review, the poet David Meltzer called Patchen “one of America’s great poet-prophets” and called his body of work “visionary art for our time and for Eternity.”
The lions of fire
Shall have their hunting in this black land
Their teeth shall tear at your soft throats
Their claws kill
O the lions of fire shall awake
And the valleys steam with their fury
Because you have turned your faces from God
Because you have spread your filth everywhere.
– from “The Lions of Fire Shall Have Their Hunting” The Teeth of the Lion (1942)