Koch, Kenneth

Koch, Kenneth

(Kenneth Jay Koch) (kōk), 1925–2002, American poet, novelist, and playwright, b. Cincinnati. After studying at Harvard and Columbia he was associated with the Artist's Theatre, Locus Solus magazine, and, along with friends John AshberyAshbery, John,
1927–2017, American poet, b. Rochester, N.Y., grad. Harvard (B.A., 1949), Columbia (M.A., 1951). Among the most acclaimed and influential American poets of his era, he was (1960s–70s) one of the so-called New York school of poets, which also included
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, Frank O'HaraO'Hara, Frank
1926–66, American poet, b. Baltimore, grad. Harvard (B.A., 1950), Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor (M.A., 1951). His poetry is spontaneous, vernacular, witty, personal, and very much of its time and place—New York City, 1951–66.
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, and James Schuyler, the so-called New York school of poets. Combining modernism, lyricism, and humor, Koch's "antisymbolic" poetic style is characterized by witty juxtapositions and dislocations of words. His roughly 30 volumes of verse include Poems (1953), Days and Nights (1982), New Addresses (2000), and two posthumously published books released in 2002, Sun Out, poems from the early 1950s, and A Possible World, his final collection. A volume of his Collected Poems was published in 2005. Among Koch's other works are the plays Bertha (1966), The Burning Mystery of Anna in 1951 (1979), The Red Robins (1980), and The Gold Standard (1996). A professor at Columbia for nearly 40 years, he also wrote several books about teaching the writing and appreciation of poetry, particularly to children and the elderly. These works include Wishes, Lies, and Dreams (1970), Rose, Where Did You Get That Red? (1973), I Never Told Anybody (1977), and Making Your Own Days (1998).

Bibliography

See D. Lehman, The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets (1999); G. Ward, Statutes of Liberty: The New York School of Poets (2d ed. 2001).

Koch, Kenneth (Jay)

(1925–  ) poet; born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He studied at Harvard (B.A. 1948) and Columbia University (Ph.D. 1959), where he taught beginning in 1959. A leading figure of the New York school of poetry, he is known for his urban settings, as in Poems (1953), and for his witty metaphors, as in "One Train May Hide Another" (1993). He was a lecturer and director of poetry workshops for the elderly and for children, described in Wishes, Lies, and Dreams (1970). He also wrote a novel and plays, several of which have been produced off-Broadway.