The wonderful picture-poems of Kenneth Patchen, long out of print, are being brought back into one generous volume—cryptic creatures quipping quirky quotes and all.
The singular work of Kenneth Patchen has influenced poets, artists and political activists for decades. New Directions is proud to launch a Patchen revival beginning with omnibus editions of his unique compositions.
Kenneth Patchen's last words to New Directions founder James Laughlin were "When you find out which came first, the chicken or the egg, you write and tell me." Answering his own question comes Patchen's "picture-poem." The Walking-Away World
reissues three of his picture-poem classics: Wonderings
, But Even So
, and Hallelujah Anyway
. Inspired by the "illuminated printing" of William Blake, Patchen worked in a spirited fervency with watercolor, casein, inks, and other media to create absurdly compelling works. His entire process was a simultaneous fusion of painting and poetry: neither the poem nor the painting preceded one another. Each picture-poem is inhabited by strange beings uttering everything from poignant poetic adages to cheeky satire. One confides, "I have a funny feeling / that some very peculiar-looking creatures out there are watching us," which sums up the suspicious joys of The Walking-Away World