Poems of Humor & Protest. Kenneth Patchen.
Poems of Humor & Protest
Poems of Humor & Protest
Poems of Humor & Protest
Poems of Humor & Protest

Poems of Humor & Protest

San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 1956. First Printing. Stapled Wrappers. (Cook 3, Pg. 4). "Understand that they were sitting just inside the door / at a little table with two full beers and two empties. / There were a few dozen people moving around, killing / Time and getting tight because nothing meant anything / Anymore / Somebody looked at a girl and somebody said / Great things doing in Spain / But she didn't even look up, not so much as half an eye. / Then Jack picked up his beer and Nellie her beer / And their legs ground together under the table. / ... / No one knew just why it happened or whether / It would happen ever again on this fretful earth / But Jack picked up his beer again and Nellie her beer again / And, as though at signal, a little man hurried in, / Crossed to the bar and said Hello Steve to the barkeeper." ("The State of the Nation," pg. 7). Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972), is a Poet's Poet. Many Poet's-Poets are marred by a certain stuffiness, given to flaunting their erudition, to dangling allusion-heavy Rabbit Holes of Joycean heft before the reader. Patchen, on the other hand, could not be more different: his existence as a "Poet's Poet" has nothing to do with the sort of lofty, hermetic altitudes at/from which many-a bespectacled-Modernist wrote. It has nothing to do with the footnotes at the end of The Waste Land, nothing to do with the cornucopia of references which gild Pound's Cantos. Patchen is a man whose inviting, accessible verse is characterized by a swaggering ebullience and distinctive emotional intelligence that many find enchanting. Celebrated American poet and Founder of City Lights Books, Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919-2021) was among those inspired by Patchen's self-styled, irreverent verse forms and tone. To most all familiar with Ferlinghetti's historic, blockbuster publication--1958's "A Coney Island of the Mind"--the imaginative flights which border on the surreal colliding, as they do, with the mating rituals of man and the hip language of the hep cats--these verses of Patchen will almost seem familiar. Perhaps most excitingly for the student of Beat/Mid-Century American literary history, the Publisher's Note on the back cover of this book--"No. 3" in the City Lights Pocket Poets Series...the title which directly preceded Allen Ginsberg's historic "Howl and Other Poems"-- advertises as forthcoming that very publication. The final sentence before the capsule Author Bio of Patchen begins reads as follows: "Forthcoming in the Series are books by Allen Ginsberg, William Carlos Williams, Marie Ponsot, Denise Levertov, and Jacques Prevert." It's amazing as we look back now, reading Ferlinghetti's back cover copy for this classic assemblage of Patchen, and know, with the hindsight of history, how the entire literary-cultural landscape was moments away from the seismic public "arrival," --by way of HOWL and the controversies that followed--of The Beat Generation as a literary movement & cultural force. We proudly offer this seminal rarity from Patchen in its very earliest form, -- an indisputable relic of the San Francisco Renaissance whose very existence explicates the link between earlier bohemian-nonconformist, West Coast literary traditions (represented by the likes of Patchen) and the 'Beat Generation West' as we know it today. This copy is a First Edition, First Printing, with all points indicated in Cook. One of 1000 copies letterpress printed in London for CLB in San Francisco during July, 1956 with white paper wraparound label pasted onto blue wrappers & 75-cent price reference on back cover near upper left corner. In strong Near Fine condition with only minor shelf-wear to fine-edges; slight rubbing, spotting to front, back covers; a few, scattered scuffs & few sparse artifacts of glue residue to same; faint, use-based creases at spine-edge of front cover; slight, age-typical toning and spotting to text block. Near Fine. [Item #4776]

Price: $150.00 save 10% $135.00