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Kenneth Koch: Selected Poems (American Poets Project)

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Edited with an introduction by Ron Padgett

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.

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