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Kenneth Fearing: Selected Poems: (American Poets Project #8)

$17.50

By: Kenneth Fearing
2004 | Hardcover
ISBN is 9781931082570 / 193108257X
Publisher: Library of America

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Poet, journalist, and crime novelist, Kenneth Fearing wrote poems filled with the jargon of advertising and radio broadcasts and tabloid headlines, sidewalk political oratory, and the pop tunes on the jukebox. Seeking out what he called “the new and complex harmonies . . . of a strange and still more complex age,” he evoked the jitters of the Depression and the war years in a voice alternately sardonic and melancholy, and depicted a fragmenting urban world bombarded by restless desires and unnerving fears. But, in the words of editor Robert Polito, “Fearing’s poems carry no whiff of the curio or relic. If anything, his poems . . . insinuated an emerging media universe that poetry still only fitfully acknowledges.” This new selection foregrounds the energy and originality of Fearing’s prophetic poetry, with its constant formal experimenting and its singular note of warning: “We must be prepared for anything, anything, anything.” As a chronicler of mass culture and its discontents, Fearing is a strangely solitary figure who cannot be ignored.

About the Author: Kenneth Fearing (July 28 1902 – June 26, 1961) was an American poet, novelist, and founding editor of the Partisan Review. Literary critic Macha Rosenthal called him “the chief poet of the American Depression.” Fearing was born in Oak Park, Illinois. His parents divorced when he was a year old, and he was raised mainly by his aunt. After studying at the University of Wisconsin, Fearing moved to New York City where he began a career as a poet and was active in leftist politics. In the Twenties and Thirties, he published regularly in The New Yorker and helped found The Partisan Review, while also working as an editor, journalist, and speechwriter and turning out a good deal of pulp fiction. Some of Fearing’s pulp fiction was soft-core pornography, often published under the pseudonym Kirk Wolff. A selection of Fearing’s poems has been published as part of the Library of America’s American Poets Project. His complete poetic works, edited by Robert M. Ryley, were published by the National Poetry Foundation in 1994. Fearing published several collections of poetry including Angel Arms (1929), Dead Reckoning (1938), Afternoon of a Pawnbroker and other poems (1943), Stranger at Coney Island and other poems (1948), and seven novels including The Big Clock (1946). He is the father of poet Bruce Fearing.

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