Kenneth Patchen: el gran desconegut de la literatura nord-americana contemporània

Qui és Kenneth Patchen? D’on surt, cap a on va? Com és que encara no havia arribat a casa nostra l’obra d’un dels grans poetes nord-americans del segle XX, admirat per Charlie Parker, Henry Miller o Bob Dylan? Hem parlat de tot això i més —perquè l’univers de Kenneth Patchen (Ohio 1911 – Califòrnia 1972) s’expandeix més enllà de la poesia i connecta amb la novel·la, el collage, el dibuix o el jazz— amb Enric Casasses, que ha traduït Panorama de poemes (Poemscapes, 1958) per a Edicions Poncianes. Un llibre brillant, original i divertidíssim, poblat de personatges i situacions entranyables que, sense renunciar mai a la innocència, ens van obrint les portes d’unes veritats a vegades dures de pelar. A finals de novembre ja el podreu trobar a les llibreries!
Us deixem tres visions sobre la poesia de Patchen. Aviat podreu llegir l’entrevista amb Enric Casasses. Hi descobrirem des de les connexions de Patchen amb el limerick fins als picture-poems, un curiós gènere literari. No us ho perdeu!

Si agafeu inadvertidament amb la mà un pot que bull, la reacció instintiva és obrir la mà de manera que el pot salta i el líquid bullint ho esquitxa tot, però si amb un esforç extrem de la voluntat aguanteu la cremada fins a deixar el pot dret en lloc segur, tindreu una idea del que fa Kenneth Patchen amb la seva obra.
Enric Casasses

Patchen’s a real artist, you’d dig him.
Charles Mingus

A senior survivor of the poetry spiritual wars.
Allen Ginsberg

On Sept. 22, 2011, the University of Rochester opens the largest ever exhibition of the graphic art of Kenneth Patchen, the controversial 20th century poet-painter who pioneered the anti-novel, concrete poetry, poetry-jazz, and picture-poems. Ê Held during the centennial of PatchenÕs birth, the exhibit presents a striking collection of more than 200 painted books, silk-screen broadsides, picture poems and paintings. The show pays tribute to a prolific artist whose work gained widespread attention and whose readings of poetry accompanied with jazz were a phenomenon in the 1950s. Patchen writings, published from the 1930s through 1972, Êhave been labeled as Romantic, Proletarian, Socialist, Surrealist, Dadaist, and Beat, but ultimately defy easy categorization. Ê Infuriating to critics and largely ignored by academics, Patchen nevertheless has been lauded as Òthe best poet American literary expressionism can showÓ by Poet Laureate James Dickey and as Òall that a poet should representÓ by novelist and painter Henry Miller. His boosters, including James Laughlin, Kenneth Rexroth, and E.E. Cummings, ÊÒwould constitute a WhoÕs Who in 20th century American letters,Ó writes exhibit curator Richard Peek, director of Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of Rochester. Ê PatchenÕs was an unconventional life, one committed to art, social justice, pacifism, and to his wife and muse Miriam, to whom he dedicated all of his books and love poems. But it was also marred by a back injury at age 26, complications of which eventually left him bed-ridden and poverty-stricken during the last dozen years of his life. Photo Credit: Kenneth Patchen, courtesy of the University of Rochester