The Walking-Away World (New Directions Paperbook #1116) (Paperback)
New Directions Publishing Corporation, 9780811217576, 273pp.
Publication Date: July 1, 2008
List Price: 18.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.
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.