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Kenneth Rexroth

R. B. Kitaj, 29 Oct 1932 - 21 Oct 2007
Kenneth Rexroth, 22 Dec 1905 - 6 Jun 1982
Screenprint on paper faced with wood veneer
Image/Sheet: 51 x 75.6cm (20 1/16 x 29 3/4")
Mat: 71.1 x 96.5cm (28 x 38")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© Estate of R. B. Kitaj
Object number
Exhibition Label
Raised in Chicago, Kenneth Rexroth moved to San Francisco in his late twenties and became a crucial voice in that city’s burgeoning literary scene. He was master of ceremonies at the reading at which Allen Ginsberg debuted "Howl" and was a defense witness in the subsequent obscenity trial. Rexroth was loosely associated with Louis Zukofsky’s "objectivist" movement, and in California he combined his plain sense of words with a perception of nature that was inflected by Asian poetry and philosophy. Rexroth, along with poets like Robert Bly and Gary Snyder, helped bring foreign influences—especially Asian and Scandinavian poetry—into American writing. The Asian influence in Rexroth’s poems is evident in such lines as "At the edge of the meadow. / Snows of a thousand winters / Melt in the sun of one summer." These adaptations helped rejuvenate the romantic tradition in American poetry.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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