Kenneth Patchen

1911 (Niles, Ohio) – 1972 (Palo Alto, Calif.)

Miller described his first impression of Patchen as “a sort of sincere assassin” — they became close friends. Ferlinghetti and Rexroth were poet-friends amid the San Francisco bohemian scene. He joined Mingus in a poetry/jazz collaboration, and Cage on a radio play (‘The City Wears A Slouch Hat’). Cummings, a neighbour in Greenwich Village, became a lasting friend despite Patchen’s initial awe of him, and was one of many eminent poets who set up a fund to pay for his spinal surgery costs. Nin, who saw early drafts of his work, called him “a man who reads newspapers and has nightmares.”