Kenneth Patchen's "The Artist's Duty" | INFJ Forum

Kenneth Patchen's "The Artist's Duty"


On Holiday
Sep 30, 2009
Avalon Archipelago
i noticed there are some people who enjoy poetry and writing on the forum and this poem by kenneth patchen came to mind for me. i am not very clued up on beat poetry or the technical aspects of poetry in general and i don't live in america so i don't know what kind of circulation this achieves but it might interest people who haven't seen it. i hope so!

The Artist's Duty

So it is the duty of the artist to discourage all traces of shame
To extend all boundaries
To fog them in right over the plate
To kill only what is ridiculous
To establish the problem
To ignore solutions
To listen to no one
To omit nothing
To contradict everything
To generate the free brain
To bear no cross
To take part in no crucifixion
To tinkle a warning when mankind strays
To explode upon all parties
To wound deeper than the soldier
To heal this poor obstinate monkey once and for all

To verify the irrational
To exaggerate all things
To inhibit everyone
To lubricate each proportion
To experience only experience

To set a flame in the high air
To exclaim at the commonplace alone
To cause the unseen eyes to open

To admire only the absurd
To be concerned with every profession save his own
To raise a fortuitous stink on the boulevards of truth and beauty
To desire an electrifiable intercourse with a female alligator
To lift the flesh above the suffering
To forgive the beautiful its disconsolate deceit

To flash his vengeful badge at every abyss


It is the artist
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