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Cover for Kenneth Koch

Kenneth Koch

Selected Poems: (American Poets Project #24)

Kenneth Koch, Ron Padgett (Editor)


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Kenneth Koch, in the words of editor Ron Padgett, wrote poetry that became a part of “the mystery and pleasure of being alive.” A center of the New York School, he gained notoriety by mocking the stodginess and academicism of much mid-century verse.

This enthralling selection encompasses the full range of Koch’s poetry, and includes such already classic works as “Fresh Air” (his devastatingly satirical assault on mid-1950s poetic conformism), “The Pleasure of Peace” (with its defiant assertion that “One single piece of pink mint chewing gum contains more pleasures / Than the whole rude gallery of war!”), “The Art of Poetry,” his astonishing and light-footed survey of the aims and methods of poetry, and poems from the late collection New Addresses, including “To World War Two,” “To Psychoanalysis,” and “To the French Language.”

A poet at once directly accessible and deeply mysterious, Kenneth Koch was the master of an art of surprise in which the world is constantly reimagined.

About the American Poets Project
Elegantly designed in compact editions, printed on acid-free paper, and textually authoritative, the American Poets Project makes available the full range of the American poetic accomplishment, selected and introduced by today’s most discerning poets and critics.

Praise For Kenneth Koch: Selected Poems: (American Poets Project #24)

“A pleasant surprise. . . . Ron Padgett provides an excellent introduction to Koch, both as person and as poet.”The Quarterly Conversation

Library of America, 9781598530063, 200pp.

Publication Date: April 5, 2007

About the Author

Ron Padgett, editor, is the author of many books of poetry, including How to Be PerfectYou Never KnowThe Big SomethingHow Long, and Great Balls of Fire, as well as Joe: A Memoir of Joe Brainard.