«The architecture of the Panorames de poemes (Poemscapes, 1958) is unlike any other of Patchen’s books. Every page contains 4 brief prose poems which, together, form a ‘poemscape’, regardless of whether there are visible links between them or not. The Llull-like understanding of the paramount importance of beauty in the world that Patchen demonstrates is inseparable from his violent and vehement attack on the human stupidity of owners and masters. The feeling that everything is possibly absurd leads him to a desolate and emotional metaphysics, like childbirth in open air. Despite all that, his sense of humor is top-notch —as is the commotion of the lyrical emotion he displays.
The majority of Kenneth Patchen’s (Ohio 1911 – California 1972) almost forty books are poetry collections, though none of them written in traditional verse. A spinal injury aggravated by unsuccessful surgery resulted in his spending the last 13 years of his life in bed and in considerable pain. During this period he experiments with the ‘painting-and-poem’ form, a new format in which writing and painting become a single language of expression. In Panorames de poemes we offer three examples of this technique.
Patchen has fallen into oblivion because neither specialized nor mainstream media have managed to create a product out of him, but he is nevertheless one of the great writers of the American 20th century —the greatest, according to Henry Miller. He was the poet that Charlie Parker carried in his pocket. His poetry readings were attended by Charlie Mingus and his group. Bob Dylan’s images and atmospheres are clearly Patchen-influenced. When he wants to, he is the toughest of authors. And his love poetry is among the most beautiful you could find. A land of wonders, funny but also spine-chilling, on this side of the mirror.» (Excerpt taken from Enric Casasses’ foreword)