A Life of Kenneth Rexroth

Linda Hamalian, Author W. W. Norton & Company $25 (444p) ISBN 978-0-393-02944-4
Poet-essayist Rexroth (1905-1982)--high-school dropout, disillusioned ex-Communist, pacifist, anarchist, bigamist, rock-climber, critic and translator, the presiding spirit of San Francisco's Beat scene--is captured in all his flaws and greatness in this definitive, moving biography. Although he believed marriage was a sacrament and wrote exquisitely tender love poems to his wives, Rexroth had many affairs during his four marriages and subjected his wives to constant directives, jealous rages, verbal and intermittent physical abuse. Hamalian, professor of English at William Paterson College in New Jersey, portrays the poet as a spiritual seeker who explored monasticism, Eastern philosophy and communion with nature, a man who was wise in spite of himself and a writer who struggled to unite art and politics in a ``poetry of responsibility'' that would enlarge human experience. Photos not seen by PW . (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-393-30915-7
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