The Collected Poems by Kenneth Koch

The Collected Poems

Kenneth Koch has been called “one of our greatest poets” by John Ashbery, and “a national treasure” in the 2000 National Book Award Finalist Citation. Now, for the first time, all of the poems in his ten collections–from Sun Out, poems of the 1950s, to Thank You, published in 1962, to A Possible World, published in 2002, the year of the poet’s death–are gathered in one volume.Celebrating the pleasures of friendship, art, and love, t...

Details The Collected Poems

TitleThe Collected Poems
Release DateNov 1st, 2005
GenrePoetry, Fiction

Reviews The Collected Poems

  • mwpm
    The Collected Poems, although not complete, presents Koch's shorter poems from the following collections: Sun Out: Selected Poems 1952-1954 , Thank You and Other poems , The Pleasures Of Peace And Other Poems , The Art of Love: Poems , The Burning Mystery of Anna in 1951 , Days And Nights , One Train: Poems , Straits: Poems , New Addresses , and A Possible World .Koch's longer poems can be found here: On the Edge: Collected Long Poems ...
  • Christina M Rau
    I like Kenneth Koch because he's so very different. Some of his stuff reminded me of the Beats. Some other poems were just insane and out of this world and good. Some were, er, uh, different. So to help you out with the K-man, I've narrowed down his over 700 pages to just a few poems you should check out if you want to read him:The ManThe Brassiere FactoryFresh AirPermanentlyVariations On A Theme By William Carlos Williams (he redoes the This Is ...
  • Jillian
    I love the artist Alex Katz (his work is on the cover), so I decided to read this b/c Katz loved Koch's poetry. I enjoy poetry, but most of Koch's work was too verbose + abstract. There were moving phrases like, "I am crazier than shirttails in the wind when you're near," [in the poem To You], and interesting advice, "Someone who excites you should be told so, and loved, if you can, but no one should be able to shake you so much that you wish to ...
  • Rodney
    Koch’s graceful indirections have always seemed more goofy and less urgent to me than O’Hara’s or Ashbery’s, with exclamation marks applied like rim shots or air quotes, missing the intensity and tonal ambiguity I respond to in his NY School pals. But there’s a winning lack of pretension—a discipline of not being pretentious—that I think of as Koch’s great virtue as a poet and a person (it’s hard to read these poems without imag...
  • Peter Landau
    I’ll admit an impulse buy. It was the Alex Katz portrait on the cover and Kenneth Koch’s reputation as one of the New York School greats. The fact that he reportedly was funny helped, too. Guess what? Reports were accurate. The guy’s a hoot. But more than that he’s an encyclopedia of experience and emotion, never dull if not always clear. This tome of his collected poems doesn’t even include the long ones, his fiction or short plays. I...
  • Peter
    When I now speak of my favorite poets, Kenneth Koch is definitely among the top of my list of favorites. Genius and wildly inconsistent, his work varies from incisive and brilliant meditations to nonsensical jargon. Many of these poems are repetitive or make no sense, but the thrill of reading through this was incomparable to anything else I’ve read. The book I’ve laughed at the most.
  • A.R.B.
    There are so many clever, funny, & perfect short poems in here. There aren't, however, 745 pages worth: it's like buying the Cassavetes box set when you'd do just fine with Killing of a Chinese Bookie. A selected Koch is probably where to start, and treat this as the B-sides for whatever you liked best (mine, for their humor and O'Hara-like madcap descriptions: New Addresses).
  • Jane
    Kenneth Koch... I recently was asked to lecture in China on "What is American about American poetry?" Yes, I did get to Whitman, and others--but the first poem I read them was one by Kenneth Koch. I especially love his book of second person poems, New Addresses, but you might as well get the full set. Reading this book is like walking a beach with a metal detector and striking treasure every yard or so. For a poetry of the full human being, going...
  • Eddie Watkins
    Koch is (or was, I never know how to refer to deceased authors, but I naturally view authors as always existing, and so always in the present tense) one of the most entertaining poets, but boy can he get cloying! Maybe the book's just too thick! Maybe Koch was just too facile!He's also one of the funniest phrase artists around, especially in his earlier books, and sometimes master of the exclamation point(!).
  • Tia
    If you're a fan, read his plays as well. "The Gold Standard" is a great, kooky and strangely moving collection, though I could say that about his poems as well. I was once in a production of his one-act, "Edward & Christine," in which I played a rabbit, a statue, a nymph, a temple column, and an elephant. And that's not even all of it. AWESOME.
  • Gina
    Whenever I think about Kenneth Koch, the poems that immediately come to mind are "The Pleasures of Peace" and "One Train May Hide Another." This collection is rich with so much more and really does something that I think is rare in poetry--it celebrates pleasure. It is also a HUGE book--one that is fun to return to, flip open at random, and enjoy.
  • Stacey
    Parenthesis is one of the best poems ever
  • Daniel
    Just. Read. Him.
  • Jay
    He wasn't the best poet or anything but we could've hung out.
  • Marcus
    I am really really diggin Kenneth Koch. Didn't hit me before. Now in my late 30's it is connecting!!!
  • Curtis
    Beautiful. Godfather of "Ultra-Talk" poetry.
  • Ofelia Hunt
    Kenneth Koch is the Kurt Vonnegut of poetry.
  • Zach
    People are surprised to find that he's my least favorite NYS poet, but that's like picking a least favorite child. Or something.
  • Rupert
    A lot to digest, but brilliant lines everywhere! Not so crazy about his "plays", but his images leap off the page and work like drugs.
  • Heather
    I love Kenneth Koch, so for all of his poems to be together in one book is a joy...This one is staying in the stack on my desk...
  • Andrew
    He's the poetry man. Look especially at his short poems on aesthetics.
  • Jessica
    "Some General Instructions" and "Art of Poetry" from *Art of Love*---brilliant
  • Troy S
    I don't know if I've read everything in this yet, but I'm finally at the point where I can flip to a random page and remember what I thought of the poems on both sides of it. Its been a particular pleasure to watch Koch grow, and to have read Making Your Own Days as a companion piece as well. If you're new to Koch, may I suggest you read this backwards? The early stuff takes quite a bit of patience, especially if you're not terribly used to more ...
  • M
    One must really adore a poet to slog through a 750 page collection, and I have found that I do not love Kenneth Koch, though I feel great gratitude towards him for his work in working with poetry with children. I would have preferred a 100 or fewer page selected--all that I could bear.
  • David Linwood
    Deft, masterful. I both regret not getting to this collection earlier, and not taking more time to truly savour it on my first read.
  • Greg
    Kenneth Koch is a major American poet, and one of the major poets from the New York School in the twentieth century. His poems cover love and a delight in the present and aesthetic. He also essentially breaks all rules. The masterpiece in this collection, in my opinion, is “The Art of Poetry” -- a magnificent tour de force of Koch’s theories. He is unflinching in his criticisms of Blake, Wordsworth, Whitman, and others. Particularly interes...
  • John Nichols
    Kenneth Koch is one of the greatest American poets of the mid-century.His love of life is evident in both his biography (see David Lehman's The Last Avant Garde) and in his poetry. My favorite collection in this work is One Train, although the rest are quite magnificent. His works show their comic nature in his concern with revivifying poetry for a new generation of poets in an attempt to debunk and show as pretentious the academic-sounding poetr...
  • Rachel
    I loved New Addresses so much that I was really excited about this collection. Turns out the rest of his work is not as much to my taste as New Addresses. It's good poetry, I'm sure, by other standards, just not what I personally want to read. So, not awful, not great, just poems. New Addresses, though, still the bomb.