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  • On the Edge
  • Written by Kenneth Koch
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  • On the Edge
  • Written by Kenneth Koch
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307558770
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Collected Long Poems

Written by Kenneth KochAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Kenneth Koch


List Price: $14.99


On Sale: July 25, 2012
Pages: 432 | ISBN: 978-0-307-55877-0
Published by : Knopf Knopf
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In paperback for the first time: Kenneth Koch’s six masterly, groundbreaking longer poems, which contain some of the poet’s most original work, full of exclamation and exaggeration but graced as well with dry wit and sophistication. Together they serve as the companion volume to the highly praised Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch.


On the Edge is a collection of six long narrative poems by Kenneth Koch. Here are excerpts from three of them.Ko, Or a Season on EarthMeanwhile at the University of JapanKo had already begun his studies, whichWhile making him an educated manWould also give him as he learned to pitchAnd catch—for Ko was more than a mere fan,But wished as a playing member to do a hitchWith some great team—something to think aboutMore interesting than merely Safe and Out.Inyaga, his professor, when he firstAppeared to Ko, seemed fashioned like an ape,Protruding jaw and tiny eyes that burstFrom high cheekbones of chimpanzee shape,But later it was his teaching that Ko cursed,Of which the body merely was the drape:Inyaga taught him baseball was a sin.Ko cried out! Inyaga; "Stop that dinAt once, or else you'll suffer!" Ko subsides,But his resentment every day gets greater.Meanwhile the Dodgers all had taken bridesAs was arranged for them by Mr. Slater,Their crafty manager, who thus providesA human interest for the fans, who, later,When they find out his trick, will make him pay;But for the moment it is Slater's day.Impressions of AfricaIn the great, bracing air of KenyaThe lion runs. Seeing a lionAnd two lionesses together,The Italian woman said,"È il leone,La sua moglie, e la sua madre"Id est, the wife's mother,A sort of chaperoneTo the lion and to his wife.The lion's musclesAre amazing. The airIs filled with lions' grace.Viewed without anyHuman component around,The lion is sensationalSimply of and in himself.Seasons on EarthIn spite of the real suffering around me,And poverty, and spite, I had the senseThat there was something else. Each midday found meEcstatically in the present tense,Writing. And you would have eto come and pound meQuite hard to drag me from my innocence.That sense that now seems almost unbelievable—I love it, loved it—is it irretrievable?
Kenneth Koch

About Kenneth Koch

Kenneth Koch - On the Edge

Photo © Larry Rivers

Kenneth Koch published many volumes of poetry, now gathered in The Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch and On the Edge. His plays are collected in The Gold Standard: A Book of Plays and One Thousand Avant-Garde Plays, and his fiction was brought together in Collected Fiction. He also wrote several books about poetry, including Wishes, Lies, and Dreams; Rose, Where Did You Get That Red?; and Making Your Own Days: The Pleasures of Reading and Writing Poetry. Koch was the winner of the Bollingen Prize (1995) and the Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry (1996), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (1995) and the National Book Award (2000), and winner of the first annual Phi Beta Kappa Poetry Award (2001). He was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1999. Kenneth Koch lived in New York City, where he taught at Columbia University.



“No American poet over the last half-century wrote with as much antic and anarchic gusto as Kenneth Koch: In the grand tradition of fast-talking funnymen from Aristophanes to Groucho, his boisterous brand of comedy was a natural byproduct of his exuberant audacity. Who says serious poetry has to be solemn?” —The Boston Globe

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