"Theater such as Kenneth Koch cannot be simply paraphrased, and presents to the audience the classic Mennipean challenge: to ponder, to mull it over, to think."—Mac Wellman
The Banquet brings together 144 plays, ten screenplays, and five operas spanning more than five decades of experimental work from a writer John Ashbery has called "simply the best we have." Witty, provocative, and playful, Kenneth Koch's work draws on poetry, musicals, improvisational comedy, satire, and other forms for their inspiration and touches on subjects ranging from the silly to the sublime.
Kenneth Koch (1925–2002), known for his association with the New York School of poetry, wrote many collections of poetry, fiction, plays, and nonfiction. His books include Seasons on Earth, On the Edge, Thank You and Other Poems, The Art of Love, One Thousand Avant-Garde Plays, Hotel Lambosa, and The Collected Fiction, and several books on teaching children how to write poetry. Koch was awarded numerous honors, including the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, awarded by the Library of Congress in 1996, as well as awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Fulbright, Guggenheim, and Ingram-Merrill foundations. In 1996 he was inducted as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Kenneth Koch lived in New York City, where he was professor of English at Columbia University.