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Kenneth Rexroth

From Academic Kids

American poet and translator Kenneth Rexroth (December 221905June 61982) was among the first poets in the United States to explore Japanese poetry traditions such as haiku. He is credited with having led the "poetry renaissance" in San Francisco and was associated with the Beat Generation, although he was later critical of the movement. Rexroth's poetry, essays and journalism reflect interests in jazz, politics, culture and ecology. Rexroth's poetic voice is similar to that of Du Fu, whom he translated, expressing indignation with the inequities of the world from an existential perspective.

Rexroth had two daughters, Mary and Katherine, by his third wife, Marthe Larsen.

Contents

Early years

Rexroth was born Kenneth Charles Marion Rexroth in South Bend, Indiana, the son of Charles Rexroth, a pharmaceuticals salesman, and Delia Reed. His mother died in 1916 and his father in 1918, after which he went to live with his aunt in Chicago and enrolled in Chicago Art Institute. He spent his teenage years as an art student and soda jerk, along with other odd jobs. In 19231924 he was imprisoned for being partial owner of a brothel. He married Andree Dutcher in 1927, a commercial artist from Chicago. Andree died of complications from epilepsy in 1940.

Major achievements

During the 1970s Rexroth, along with the scholar Ling Chung, translated the notable Sung Dynasty poet Li Ch'ing-chao and an anthology of Chinese women poets, titled The Orchid Boat.

With The Love Poems of Marichiko, Rexroth claimed to have translated the poetry of a long dead Japanese poet, but it was later disclosed he was the author and he gained critical recognition for having conveyed so authentically feelings of someone of another gender, culture, and time period.

Bibliography

As author

  • Beyond the Mountains: Four Plays in Verse (1951). New York:New Directions
  • Bird in the Bush: Obvious Essays (1959)
  • Assays (1961)
  • Classics Revisited (1964; 1986). New York:New Directions
  • Flower Wreath Hill: Later Poems (1991)
  • Collected Shorter Poems (1966). New York:New Directions
  • Collected Longer Poems (1968). New York:New Directions
  • The Alternative Society: Essays from the Other World (1970). Herder & Herder.
  • With Eye and Ear (1970). Herder & Herder.
  • American Poetry in the Twentieth Century (1971). Herder & Herder.
  • The Elastic Retort: Essays in Literature and Ideas (1973). Seabury.
  • Communalism: From Its Origins to the Twentieth Century (1974). Seabury.
  • Selected Poems (1984). New York:New Directions
  • World Outside the Window: Selected Essays (1987). New York:New Directions
  • More Classics Revisited (1989). New York:New Directions.
  • An Autobiographical Novel (1964; expanded edition, 1991). New York:New Directions
  • Kenneth Rexroth & James Laughlin: Selected Letters (1991). Norton.
  • Sacramental Acts: The Love Poems (1997). Copper Canyon.
  • Swords That Shall Not Strike: Poems of Protest and Rebellion (1999). Glad Day.
  • Complete Poems (2003). Copper Canyon.

As translator

  • 30 Spanish Poems of Love and Exile (1956). San Francisco:City Lights.
  • 100 Poems from the French (1972). Pym-Randall.
  • 100 Poems from the Chinese. New York:New Directions.
  • 100 More Poems from the Chinese. New York:New Directions.
  • Women Poets of China. New York:New Directions.
  • Complete Poems of Li Ch’ing-Chao. New York:New Directions.
  • 100 Poems from the Japanese. New York:New Directions.
  • 100 More Poems from the Japanese. New York:New Directions.
  • Women Poets of Japan. New York:New Directions.
  • Seasons of Sacred Lust: Selected Poems of Kazuko Shiraishi. New York:New Directions.
  • Selected Poems of Pierre Reverdy. New York:New Directions.
  • 14 Poems by O. V. de Lubicz-Milosz. Copper Canyon.
  • Poems from the Greek Anthology. Ann Arbor.

Biographical notes

He was a conscientious objector during World War II and was actively involved with helping Japanese-American internees.

Rexroth is said to have read the entire Encyclopędia Britannica "like a novel" once a year. His books indicate familiarity with subjects ranging from political anarchism, painting, and world religions, to classical Chinese literature and philosophy.

External links

nl:Kenneth Rexroth

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