KP Patchen responds...

on rebellion:
"Some were Rebels out of choice; I had none-I wish they'd give me just one speck of proof that this 'world of theirs' couldn't have been set up and handled better by a half-dozen drugged idiots bound hand and foot at the bottom of a ten-mile well. I'ts always because we love that we are rebellious; it takes a great deal of love to give a damn one way or another what happens from now on: I still do."

on his youth:
"My blood inheritance is of England, Scotch, Irish, and French strains. My mother's father was a coal miner; my father's a farmer-blacksmith...One of my paternal forebears deserted his Red Coat regiment in the Revolutionary War...to marry a Pennsylvania farm girl; his name was Sir Aaron Drake...I started a diary in my twelfth year; been writing at something ever since. I had a consciousness of being a poet when I first realized that the medium of writing had something in it more than just communication-something happens, and I suppose it has to do with...being a poet...My grandfather was a Scot and who had a wonderful sense of humor, and a tradition going back to the time of Burns, whose poetry he read to me when I was a little boy... and in the stories he told me...there was what you would call magic."

on his art:
"I don't consider myself to be a painter. I think of myself as someone who has used the medium of painting in an attempt to extend-give an extra dimension to the medium of words. There is always...between words and the meaning of words, an area which is not to be penetrated...the region of magic, the place of the priestly interpreter of nature, the man who identifies himself with all things and with all beings, and who suffers and exalts with all of these...I think that the mystery of life will ring in the work, and when it rings most strongly, truly and honestly, it will ring with a sense of mystery...of wonder, childlike wonder...a sense of identification with everything that lived."

on the Journal of Albion Moonlight:
"I attempted to write the spiritual account of this summer... [1940]-a summer when all the codes and ethics which men lived by for centuries were subjected to the acid tests of general war and universal disillusionment. I had to recreate that chaos...uncharted horror and suffering and complete loss of heart by most human beings...I have I think kept the reader on his toes-I have made him a participant...To love all things is to understand all things; and that which is understood by any of us becomes a knowledge embedded in all of us...To recognize truth it is only necessary to recognize each other."

Excerpts from Kenneth Patchen : an exhibition of painted poems, books, sculptures, and documentation of Kenneth's early years in Warren, Ohio.Kenneth Patchen Literary Festival Catalog. Edited by William E. Mullane. Trumbull Art Gallery and Pig Iron Press, Warren, Ohio, 1989.