Kenneth Rexroth

1905 (South Bend, Ind.) – 1982 (Santa Barbara, Calif.)

Rexroth was an extraordinary autodidact, who seems to have met everyone everywhere. He said he wrote poetry to seduce women and overthrow capitalism; and helped make San Francisco, as Chicago made him. Lawrence, Prokofiev, Russell, Anderson, Sandburg and Frank Lloyd Wright were all met at a radical midwest salon. The ‘country boy’ Armstrong and Yancey both turned up at a club he was involved with (“we didn’t know we were making history”). He first met Ferlinghetti in Paris, liked Léger, thought Desnos wonderful, presided over Ginsberg’s legendary reading, disliked Kerouac, thought Rivera dreadful, and turned down Nin’s invitations to dinner.

Kenneth Rexroth knew…