June Reading Group Selection

b58c6e506627db697212f79ab98ad3eePOSTPONED: MEETING JULY 2nd 7 PM


Book Beat’s Reading Group selection for June is Memoirs of a Shy Pornographer by Kenneth Patchen. The Reading Group will meet Wednesday, July 02 at 7pm in the Goldfish Teahouse (117 W 4th St #101, downtown Royal Oak, MI 48067). Books are discounted 15% at Book Beat. All are welcome!

“The world of Kenneth Patchen is complex with its own fantastic system. Readers come back with a dazed sort of look shining on their faces and have never been the same since.”- The New York Times Book Review

In this brilliant and funny satire-by-hallucination, Kenneth Patchen peeps up the skirts of our hypocritical “civilization.” Alfred Budd, born in Bivalve, New Jersey, in 1905, is a sometime pornographer, occasional private investigator, and full-time innocent. Budd travels like a 1930’s Candid through a looking-glass America, finds true love, discovers that it is “wonderful to be free and happy, and have money,” and then is called to God: “Now I’ll try to tell you something about the other world. In the first place- and this was pretty hard for me to get used to- there isn’t any ground. It’s amazing what a speed you can work up after you’ve fallen a couple thousand miles. If I open a wing now, I thought, it’ll just get torn off. (I forgot to say that you fall upwards. In heaven they have a saying: Anything that goes up, must come up.)”

“Like the Wonder Books of old, every page contains some new marvel.”- Henry Miller

Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972) was a poet and novelist. Born the son of a steelworker in Niles, Ohio, Patchen suffered an early tragedy when his younger sister Kathleen was struck and killed by a car in 1926. Writing in a style which, like the poetry of Langston Hughes and Kenneth Rexroth, was often referred to as “jazz poetry,” Patchen struck up a publishing relationship and friendship with James Laughlin, the original publisher of New Directions, in 1936. After an automobile accident left him with a spinal injury, Patchen continued to work despite lifelong pain. He influenced younger poets like Allen Ginsberg and collaborated with the music artists John Cage and Charles Mingus.

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