Talk:Kenneth Patchen

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"Interesting facts"?[edit]

The entire "other interesting facts" section is very unencyclopaedic. If these facts are interesting, they should be integrated into the body of the article. If they are not interesting (which is an entirely POV assertion, anyway) or, more to the point, cannot be verified, they have no place in the article at all. Patchen deserves better than this sad excuse for an article. We could, just for starters, create a section on his muscial collaborations, for example, his recordings with the Chamber Jazz Sextet, etc. ---TheoldanarchistComhrá 17:05, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

I like your edits. I am about to put that article on my watch list. Albion moonlight 08:53, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. It still needs work, and I will appreciate having another set of eyes and hands on this one. ---TheoldanarchistComhrá 14:45, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

I am new to Wikipedia but I was pleased to find Kenneth Patchen included in the Niles page. Thanks! KA2007

Poem excerpts[edit]

Re: Comment by User:Martinevans123 : Is there also scope for further example(s) of his main themes/ views e.g. pacificism, by means of excerpt(s) in the Career section?

Well, Patchen was a fervent pacifist throughout his career so it wouldn't be difficult to find an excerpt that illustrates his view on war. But his pacifism isn't discussed in the career section. His pacifism is discussed in the life section. And I wouldn't add a second excerpt to that section. I think that if you'd like to add an excerpt to the career section, it would have to be an excerpt that applied to the writer's craft or Patchen's experiences in his struggle to make a living as a writer (or something like that). I don't know offhand of a poem that fits that description. But if you find one, you could certainly add a relevant excerpt from it.Jpcohen (talk) 18:09, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Thank you, Jpcohen, for your reply here and for your polite note at my Talk Page. My apologies for trying to have a discussion via a succession of edit summaries. You are obviously a keen editor here who has made some valuable contributions - I counted over 90 edits. With any poet/novelist, I suspect, life and work are inextricably linked. One might plot a progression of ideas and views, as well as events amd circumstances, via both the literary and physical chronology.
And it's very good to see, at last, an example of Patchen's work in this article. I'm also sure that the excerpt you have added has obvious relevance to his life when he was aged 10. But I am a little doubtful that 28 words, over four short lines, can do justice to over 30 years of published literary output. I'm a little dismayed that your stricture that any further example ".. would have to be an excerpt that applied to the writer's craft or Patchen's experiences in his struggle to make a living as a writer.. " may be a little too tight. Surely the basis of any poet/novelist's career are his or her poems and novels. So surely examples should be given in the Career section, if anywhere? While a purely narrative writer may provide examples which can more readily be used to illuminate his or her "life", writers who deal in concepts or abstract notions, as do many poets, may provide many texts that have no direct bearing to their own life events at all. What do you think? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:03, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

The excerpt belongs in the career section as an example of Patchen's work, without any reference to his life. Unless a reliable source has stated that Patchen's early experiences of the steel mills were later referenced in 'The Orange Bears' (or wherever), then the excerpt should not be included as 'evidence' to back such a claim, however plausible it may be. As it currently stands, using the excerpt in this way is original research, and hence not suitable for Wikipedia. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 21:51, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

It sounds like User talk:PaleCloudedWhite hasn't read the article in question. The first paragraph of the life section (with biographical citation) notes "The Orange Bears" and its connection to Youngstown. It also looks like PaleCloudedWhite hasn't read the poem "The Orange Bears" in full since the full text is pretty clear in its meaning.
And to respond to Martin Evans' comment, I think that there are Wikipedia articles on poets that include multiple poem excerpts in different sections (I'm thinking specifically of the Philip Larkin article). And these excerpts are usually used to reference something in that particular section. Still, I think it's okay to use a passage from a well-known poem by Patchen for the "Careers" section. The challenge is that Patchen is a somewhat obscure poet who hasn't had his poems anthologized very often. But I think that there are some better known poems that you might be able to use (including "In Order To," "23rd Street Runs Into Heaven," and "Lonesome Boy Blues" as well as handful of others). The trick will be finding a good excerpt. But I think it could be done. Thank you for your contributions to the Patchen article, and best of luck.Jpcohen (talk) 22:12, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I was originally thinking especially of Let Us Have Madness - but probably meaningless if not given in full. Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 22:27, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

PaleCloudedWhite has indeed carefully read the first paragraph of the life section of the article, where it is claimed that "The Orange Bears" references Patchen's early life. After reading this, PaleCloudedWhite followed the biographical citation, which led PaleCloudedWhite to a copy of "The Orange Bears" and then (via clicking on a link) to a short biography of Patchen at, which PaleCloudedWhite read in full, but found nothing backing the specific claim in the article. Whether the full text of the poem "is pretty clear in its meaning" to either you or me is irrelevant, if that meaning has not been claimed by a reliable source. It is not for editors of Wikipedia to make their own judgements about the intended meaning or not of any writer's work - that is and was my point. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 22:35, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Very valid point, so I have now added Phelan and Lane (1998). Martinevans123 (talk) 22:40, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I noticed your change after I pressed 'Save page' - haha! Apologies to all if the tone of my comment above got a little, well, fraught - emotion got the better of me. Thanks Martin for your quiet industrious editing - a good example to follow. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 22:51, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
My apologies as well. I didn't realize there wasn't a biographical reference for "The Orange Bears" (though I had thought the reference to the steel mills of Y-town was self-evident within the poem itself since it mentions the mill strikes in Y-town that the National Guard was sent in from Wheeling to put down). But Larry Smith does write about both of the cited poems and their connection to the Youngstown steel mills in his unofficial bio of Patchen. In fact, according to Smith, the poem was originally titled "The Orange Bears: Childhood in an Ohio Milltown."Jpcohen (talk) 17:36, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
No worries. Although I thought that Phelan and Lane (1998) might have offered a bit of source variety. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:31, 17 February 2012 (UTC)


Here's another short poem, that would be ideal as an example of Patchen's anti-war sentiments: [1], but can't be used in full because of copyright. Any use of an excerpt would really be missing the point, I think. But how can this YouTube video [2] not be a copyright breach? In fact, there are quite a few such at YouTube. And they are all excellent. But as far as I can see, we can't even link to them from here? He had a wonderfuly laconic, even sardonic, delivery, and that really helps with some of his poems. It's very difficult to include the performance quality of an artist in an encyclopedia. Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:05, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

Quotebox width[edit]

It's obvious that how the lines of the poem are broken depends upon what size of screen one is viewing; on my screen a width of 260px gave a faithful preservation of 4 lines. So I'll leave it. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 22:16, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, and it's also a function of zoom size. I cannot really comment as I typically use a very large zoom factor to be able to read anything. But at 100%, 125% and even 150%, my display was not breaking any of the lines, in either quote boxes, when they were set to 150px. Obviously it's better to be on the safe side by allowing enough width. I fully agree with Jpcohen that, in most poetry, line construction shold be preserved at all costs. Martinevans123 (talk) 22:24, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, haha - I wondered why you'd been happy to leave the poem all broken up (which is how it appeared to me) at 200px - obviously it wasn't broken up to you at all! Oh the unforeseen consequences of technology - this could never happen with good old books! PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 22:32, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

These little stanzas are a cinch compared with some poets. Wikipedia must favour those with seven-or-eight-words-to-a-line! But some of Patchen's verse has lines so long that it starts to look like prose. In fact, he did also do some free-form stuff that looks exactly as if it is narrative prose - maybe we should include some of that! Martinevans123 (talk) 22:46, 18 February 2012 (UTC)


I am geniunely surprised that "Once the Beats' popularity grew, however, Patchen disliked.. " is judged "grammaticaly awkward" in Ametican English ,compared with "However, once the Beats' popularity grew, Patchen disliked ..". I was equally surprised that "Those mills would later be referenced in such poems as .." was considered "awkward phrasing" compared with "Those mills would later be referenced in poems like .." I both casaes, I think, the preferred Britsh Engish variant is the former. But as this is about an American poet, I am quite willing take advice. The meaning isn't affected, so it's no big deal. Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 22:33, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

Well, Martin, I feel pretty confident that I'm right on both of those sentences (with regard to the rules of American grammar anyway). Of course, there are British grammar rules that differ from American grammar. So perhaps that explains your surprise. Jpcohen (talk) 22:40, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

You are quite right, Jp. Of course, there are plenty of Brits who think there ain't no such word as "grammar" in the American language! Shame on them. But I ain't gotten around to getting too done mad about it, haha. Maybe this article ought to be written in Beat grammar style, ya dig. Martinevans123 (talk) 22:55, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
I dig.Jpcohen (talk) 01:11, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Minor points[edit]

  • 1. Although the Google Maps link is very useful, and does indeed point to a street with the right name, don't we also need a source which actually descrbes the re-naming?
  • 2. Shouldn't we give publishers, linked if possible, for all the books in the Bibliography, even if also given in the text? Thanks. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:28, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
I think that it would be ideal to have a local source about the re-naming. Unfortunately, the Warren/Niles area newspapers don't have very good websites so I was unable to find an article about the re-naming of the street. But I do know that the street where he grew up in Niles was renamed "Patchen Avenue." The only online proof I could find was the actual street listed on Google maps (which is at the intersection of where Patchen was born and first lived). One would probably have to go to the Warren library to find an article on the re-naming. I'm a local so I know that they keep a collection of books and articles about/by Patchen in their special collection. They could probably provide a local resource on it.Jpcohen (talk) 16:18, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, that's pretty clear. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:31, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
As far as publishers go, I think you should feel free to add the publishers of his books if you like (even if they're mentioned in the text). I don't see why not.Jpcohen (talk) 17:08, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Ok, I'll try. Any help much appreciated. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:31, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

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