'For Kenneth and Miriam: A Poet and His Muse'

A Tribute to Kenneth and Miriam Patchen at Tate Modern, London
6.30 - 9.30pm, Friday, 14 July 2000

Following Miriam Patchen's recent death in early March, this evening tribute focuses on the legacy of Kenneth Patchen's work and Miriam's crucial role in ensuring its survival. It offers a rare opportunity to learn more about Patchen - who along with Kenneth Rexroth, was one of the great inspirers of what would later become known as the 'beat generation' - by listening to a group of well known members of the arts and academia engaging with Patchen's writings and discussing how he has infuenced and inspired their own work, in the setting of Tate Modern. It will also allow those people who attended the earlier Patchen event at the Tate (May 1998) to reacquaint themselves with the poet.

Patchen has been admired by generations of writers, poets, artists and musicians including e e cummings, William Carlos Williams, T S Eliot and W H Auden, as well as Lawrence Ferlinghetti (who included Patchen in his City Lights Pocket Poets Series), Adrian Mitchell, David Bedford, John Cage and Tony Cragg. Henry Miller wrote of him: "Kenneth Patchen is now and will remain one of the outstanding figures in American letters. He represents all that a poet should represent...No one can read him without being affected - and influenced in his own life and work." (cover of Poemscapes, New Directions, 1957) Although Patchen's work is still not widely known in this country, this evening tribute at Tate Modern hopes to demonstrate the truth of Miller's claim.

To this end we have gathered together: David Bedford (composer and musician), Jim Burns (writer, editor and poet), Michael Horovitz (jazz poet, visual artist and editor of New Departures), Bernard Kops (writer, playwright and poet), Adrian Mitchell (playwright, poet and writer of children's stories), Maria Anita Stefanelli (Associate Professor of Modern American Drama at the University of Rome) and Marcus Williamson (Patchen enthusiast and editor of the Kenneth Patchen Home Page - http://www.connectotel.com/patchen/).

Organiser: Barbara Read with the support of Maria Anita Stefanelli.

Venue: Tate Modern, Bankside, Sumner Street, London SE1 9JX

Tickets are free but numbers are limited to 240.
Tickets available from Monday, 5 June from Tate Box Office on: 020 7887 8888

For more information please e-mail Barbara Read on: barbara.read@talk21.com or Mariella Stefanelli on: m.stefanelli@uniroma3.it

Mariella Stefanelli and Barbara Read have already organised previous events around Patchen's work in London and Rome. The London events took place in May 1998 and took the form of an evening discussion - Word, Image and Rhythms: a celebration of Kenneth Patchen - at the Tate Gallery, and an exhibition of Patchen's painted poems at the Poetry Library, Southbank Centre - and were featured on Radio 3's Night Waves. The Rome events took place last summer, with Mariella Stefanelli organising a similar exhibition of Patchen's silk screens and poem paintings, and a conference about Patchen's work at the Centre for American Studies. Miriam Patchen attended both the London and Rome events.

Kenneth Patchen Home Page