Poemscapes as Viewed from the Vintage of a Bottle of Malbec and Copious Amount of Fermented Hops


Poemscapes by Kenneth Patchen.  Jargon 11 (1958) Charmingly printed by The Stephens Press in Asheville.
A bottle of Malbec and half a case of Natty Boh.   There can be no other explanation for why I found Poemscapes so absolutely enchanting.  My judgment is obviously impaired.
Part of me wants to like Patchen so.  I greatly admire all those who admire Patchen from Douglas Manson to Jim Maynard, who have so wonderful explained to me the wonders of Patchen.  Yet I cannot help thinking Patchen was such a douche.  In my take on Patchen, the poems are the man, after all.  Take The Statement from the man himself on the back flap of Poemscapes.  “What I have to say is said for the purpose of throwing light on a situation about which many people have expressed puzzlement.”  What's the frequency, Kenneth?   Evergreen Review  2 was just fine without you.  I would guess that you are throwing shade at that landmark mag because you do not like sharing the spotlight. 
And then there is the subject of Jazz Poetry:  “As far as I know the thing was started by me in 1950 in Connecticut. . .”  All right Mr. DeMille, you are no doubt ready for your close-up.  More spotlight issues.  What is your good side.  By the way, Harry Redl photo on the cover of Poemscapes is an absolute beaut.  Great face.  But Good God, I prefer my prickly white men playing pinball at Gino and Carlo’s than preaching from bed or playing house in Stinson Beach.
But then again you read something like Poemscapes late at night and you lose track of time and you lose yourself in the work and you get transported and intoxicated by the poetry and you drink in the voice of a real poet and you have the sobering thought that, per usual, you with your preconceptions and prejudices may be the douchebag.
Probably so.  It just makes you want to jump up in the alley with the rats and yell, “Hurrah for Anything,” which I cannot wait to read tomorrow and what the hell, why not read Overland to the Islands by Denise Levertov, which I also pissed on unfairly, while I am at it.  Patchen at his best makes you want to open your arms and hug the world, which I will do tomorrow after I am done hugging the toilet.


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