Jazz in the bookshop / patchen

Friday, November 4 – double date!

jazz in the bookshop
+ the jazz of poetry:
a Kenneth Patchen Moment

Seabop rides the waves

and then, Jonathan Clark reads
from the poems of Kenneth Patchen
while Don Prell lays down a bass line

Every week, the neighborhood gathers for a long running jazz party we’ve hosted since late 2002– now, as we enter our tenth year of Friday jazz sessions, it’s got a life of its own for sure, and at the heart of it all is bassist Don Prell, who assembles a terrific ensemble on the first Friday of each month to play some of that west coast bebop we love so much… he calls his band the Seabop Ensemble, and it’s always a fine thing. If you want to meet the neighbors, there’s no better place to do it than at Bird  & Beckett on a Friday evening…

And tonight, we’ve got something extra, when the regular session concludes… The folks at Kelly’s Cove Press, a new local publishing operation offering some dazzling literary gems in book form, have just put out Kenneth Patchen: A Centennial Celebration gathering some of the iconic poet’s best work.  Once the drummer has packed his kit and the band has had a chance to quaff a glass of wine, editor Jonathan Clark, who was close to Patchen and his wife from the ’60s forward, will take the stage to read some of the man’s lovely poems to a jazz bass line laid down by none other than Don Prell…

Kenneth Patchenwas one of the most prolific American poets of  his time. Born in Niles, Ohio in 1911, Patchen attended school at the University of Madison-Wisconsin where he met his wife, Miriam Oikemus. They moved to Greenwich Village and befriended many writers including E.E. Cummings, Anais Nin, and Henry Miller. In 1950, he and Miriam moved to San Francisco. Patchen’s love poems to Miriam are among the finest ever penned by a writer. Patchen passed away in 1972, but has never left us.

His “experimental protests” in poetry, painting, and prose remain unprecedented.  He’s a poet dear to the heart of legions of San Francisco poets, and his “picture poems” — humorous, ascerbic, ironic, and heartfelt — comprise, in all their apparent naivete, an irrefutable tribute to the genuine goodwill we extend to each other despite the strife and trials that always seem to surrounds us.

In San Francisco clubs in the 1950s, Patchen’s experiments combining poetry performance and jazz blazed the way to a natural symbiosis of expression, embraced and extended with unabashed enthusiasm by the likes of ruth weiss, David Meltzer, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack Kerouac and so many others. Celebrate the intersection of jazz and poetry this Friday at Bird & Beckett, and you’ll know why we’ve consider that nexus to be at the heart of what we’re all about.