Rexroth, Kenneth,1905–82, American poet, critic, and translator, b. South Bend, Ind. A resident of San Francisco, he was briefly associated with the beat generationbeat generation,
term applied to certain American artists and writers who were popular during the 1950s. Essentially anarchic, members of the beat generation rejected traditional social and artistic forms.
..... Click the link for more information. , although he disdained their lack of discipline. Self-educated, he taught himself several languages; his translations include One Hundred Poems from the Japanese (1956) and The Orchid Boat: Women Poets of China (with Ling Chung, 1973). He is best known, however, for his own poetry. Modernist in his early life, simple and Zenlike in his later years, his verse is unified by autobiographical content, a mingling of the personal with the political, and a concern with the transience of life and the transcendent joys of nature and eros. His verse collections include In What Hour (1940), The Phoenix and the Tortoise (1944), In Defense of the Earth (1956), and New Poems (1974). He also wrote one volume of verse plays, Beyond the Mountains (1951), and several volumes of essays, including Bird in the Bush (1959), Alternative Society: Essays from the Other World (1970), and Communalism: From Its Origins to the 20th Century (1975).
See S. Hamill and B. Morrow, ed., The Complete Poems of Kenneth Rexroth (2003); biography by L. Hamalian (1991); studies by M. Gibson (1972 and 1986), L. Bartlett (1988), K. Knabb (1990), and D. Gutierrez (1996).
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Rexroth, Kenneth(1905–82) poet, writer, painter; born in South Bend, Ind. He moved to Chicago (1917), studied at the Art Institute there, then at the New School of Social Research and the Art Students League in New York City. He moved to Santa Barbara, Calif. (1958). Although he had several occupations, including journalism, he is best known for his critical essays and his naturalistic erotic poetry.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.