Kenneth Rexroth Archive


Texts at This Site
Texts at Other Websites
Rexroth Books in Print
Out-of-Print Rexroth Books




This section of the BPS website is devoted to writings by and about the great poet, essayist, social critic, and Renaissance man, Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982). The emphasis is on his out-of-print works (especially his numerous essays, articles, and reviews), but it also includes generous selections from most of his in-print books. The primary aim is to introduce readers to a truly wonderful writer and encourage them to seek out whatever books of his are available. If enough interest is generated, perhaps publishers will bring more of his works back into print.

Unlike most of the texts at this website, the Rexroth works are all copyrighted. As indicated after each text, they are reproduced here either by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. (80 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 10011) or by permission of Copper Canyon Press (P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA 98368) or by permission of Bradford Morrow, Literary Executor of the Kenneth Rexroth Trust (21 East 10th Street #3E, New York, NY 10003). They may not be reproduced for any commercial purpose, and even any extensive noncommercial reproduction should first be okayed with New Directions, Copper Canyon, or Mr. Morrow.

This is not an “official” Rexroth site. The immense work I have devoted to it is a labor of love and the choice and presentation of texts is completely my own.

—Ken Knabb



Texts at This Site

By Rexroth:

Essays and Reviews
Autobiography (excerpts)
Classics Revisited (selections from two volumes)
Communalism: From Its Origins to the Twentieth Century (complete book)
Camping in the Western Mountains (complete, never-published guidebook)
Rexroth’s San Francisco (complete columns and articles for the San Francisco Examiner, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and San Francisco Magazine)
Kenneth Rexroth at Large in San Francisco (selections from the above)
Translations (from Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, and French)

By Rexroth, translated into French:
Poems (translated by Joël Cornuault)
Le San Francisco de Kenneth Rexroth (selection of newspaper columns, translated by Joël Cornuault)
Les Classiques revisités (complete book, translated by Nadine Bloch & Joël Cornuault)

About Rexroth:
The Relevance of Rexroth (complete book by Ken Knabb)
Éloge de Kenneth Rexroth (same book in French)
Erotismo, Misticismo y Revolución (same book in Spanish)
A Clueless Life of Kenneth Rexroth (Knabb’s review of Hamalian’s biography)
With a Tabloid Biographer, Who Needs an Oeuvre? (John Solt’s more detailed review of Hamalian’s biography)
Discovering Rexroth (chapter from Knabb’s autobiography)
Interview with Rexroth (David Meltzer)
Talking About Rexroth (Morgan Gibson & Ken Knabb interviewed by David Meltzer & James Brook)

See also the “Rexroth” entry in the Site Index.


Texts at Other Websites

By Rexroth:

Essays, Articles, and Reviews:
       The Kennedy-Nixon Debate
       Review of Charles Bukowski, etc.
       PDFs of several articles from The Alternative Society
       Letters to Morgan Gibson
       Interviewed by Jerome Rothenberg & David Antin
       Interviewed by Bradford Morrow
       The New British Poets: An Anthology (complete book, edited with an introduction by Rexroth)
Poems and Translations:
       One poem plus links and a brief bio
       Seven poems
       Fourteen poems
       Noretorp-Noretsyh (detailed explanations and illustrations of the historical references in this Rexroth poem)
       Translations of six Ho Chi Minh prison poems
       Translations of seven poems by Pierre Reverdy
       Introduction to 100 Poems from the Japanese
Recordings of Rexroth reading his own works:
       Rexroth improvising his autobiography (scroll down near the bottom of the webpage to find selected original KPFA tapes that were later transcribed to make the book)
       Rexroth reading four poems with jazz accompaniment
       Rexroth reading another poem with jazz accompaniment
       Rexroth reading a poem about Sacco and Vanzetti (video)
       Rexroth reading seven poems (including “This Night Only” with the original Erik Satie accompaniment)
       Rexroth at the San Francisco Poetry Center (1955, 48 minutes, reading his poems and translations)
       Rexroth at the San Francisco Poetry Center (1959, 47 minutes, reading his own poems, including one to Lionel Hampton, and also playing records of French songs)
       Rexroth, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen & Michael McClure recreate the famous Six Gallery reading (the original Six Gallery reading — San Francisco, October 1955 — was not recorded; this recording covers part of the March 1956 re-creation in Berkeley)
       Rexroth at the University of North Dakota Writers Conference (1974, 65 minutes, including two poems, but mostly answering audience questions re the counterculture and its cooption, Bob Dylan, the Mafia, the Black Panthers, the Hearst kidnapping, terrorism and provocateurs, the corruption of American culture by militarism, etc.)

By Rexroth, translated into other languages:
Las ventajas de aprender y otros poemas (33 poems translated into Spanish by Jorge Fondebrider)
Four poems translated into Spanish (selections from the above book)
A dozen poems or excerpts translated into Spanish
One poem translated into Spanish (Dasbald)
Several poems and translations translated into Spanish (Carlos Mayhua)
Spanish versions of six of Rexroth’s translations from the Greek (Daniel Bellón)
Communalism (complete book) translated into Portuguese (Coletivo Periferia, Brazil)
Seven poems translated into Turkish
One poem translated into Hungarian
Three poems translated into Russian (from a collection translated by Kirill Adibekov, Free Marxist Publishing, Moscow)

About Rexroth:
Revolutionary Rexroth: Poet of East-West Wisdom (complete book by Morgan Gibson)
Four essays (Donald Gutierrez, Linda Hamalian, Bradford Morrow, Sam Hamill/Elaine Laura Kleiner)
The State Is the Great Forgetter (essay on Rexroth and Paul Goodman, by Gregory Knapp)
Kenneth Rexroth: Protest, Rebellion, and Beyond (Karl Young)
Review of Rexroth’s Complete Poems (Jack Foley)
When We With Rexroth (Jacket magazine special Rexroth issue, with numerous articles by Kevin Gallagher, Sam Hamill, Jerome Rothenberg, Eliot Weinberger, etc.)
Rexroth and His Poetry (interview with Sam Hamill)
Introduction to Chicago Review special Rexroth issue (John Beer & Max Blechman)
Cover and contents of above Chicago Review issue
Kenneth Rexroth Festschrift (includes articles by Uri Hertz, John Solt, Doren Robbins, Rachelle Lerner, and Tetsuya Taguchi)
The King Is Dead, Long Live the King (essay on Rexroth’s jazz poetry by Uri Hertz)
When We With Sappho (essay on Rexroth and the classic Greek poets by Gregory McNamee)
Rexroth, Bukowski and the Politics of Literature (Ben Pleasants)
Original/Translation: The Aesthetic Context of Kenneth Rexroth’s Translations of Du Fu and Li Qingzhao (Lucas Klein)
Communion and Deviation: Kenneth Rexroth's Approach to Classical Chinese Poetry (Yunzhong Shu)
How Reading Rexroth Changed My Life (Jim Moore)
Seven Things About Kenneth Rexroth (Michael McClure)
Adding to Our Nature (Doren Robbins review of In the Sierra)
The Best Book on American Poetry Ever (Michael Lind review of American Poetry in the Twentieth Century)
Kenneth Rexroth’s Other Worlds: Notes on “On What Planet” (Robert Archambeau)
Kenneth Rexroth, l’anarchiste érotico-mystique (Adeline Baldacchino)
Conversations with Marthe Whitcomb (extensive interviews with Rexroth’s third wife, by Brenda Hillman, Robert Hass, Douglas Kerr & Andrew Leavitt)
Elegy for an Anarchist (George Woodcock)
Rexroth's Support for Japanese-Americans During World War II (Jonathan Van Harmelen)

A Celebration of Kenneth Rexroth (92-minute video of a 2003 event with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Sam Hamill, Robert Hass, Jane Hirshfield, Ken Knabb, Michael McClure & Terry Tempest Williams)
Reading Rexroth poems in the Marin County woods (11-minute video of Ken Knabb, part of a 2015 Rexroth event)

Reading Rat (“Recommended Reading” pages collate Classics Revisited with several other lists of recommended books)
Program of an International Rexroth Symposium (Chiba, Japan, October 2007)
A painting by Andrée Rexroth (Rexroth’s first wife)
Rexroth paintings for sale (catalog of ten paintings for sale by James Jaffe Books, nine by Rexroth, one by his first wife Andrée Rexroth)
The Uncarved Block (“a blog devoted to mysticism and anarchism, inspired especially by the works of Kenneth Rexroth”)
Otoliths (an online “Magazine of Many E-Things,” contains numerous columns and articles reproduced from “Rexroth’s San Francisco”)
The Great Kenneth Rexroth (Facebook group re Rexroth)


Rexroth Books in Print

(All are published by New Directions unless otherwise indicated.)

Collected Shorter Poems (1966)
Collected Longer Poems (1968)
Selected Poems (ed. Bradford Morrow) (1984)
Sacramental Acts: The Love Poems (ed. Sam Hamill & Elaine Laura Kleiner) (Copper Canyon, 1997)
Swords That Shall Not Strike: Poems of Protest and Rebellion (ed. Geoffrey Gardner) (Glad Day, 1999)
Complete Poems (ed. Sam Hamill & Bradford Morrow) (Copper Canyon, 2003)
Beyond the Mountains: Four Plays in Verse (1951)
World Outside the Window: Selected Essays (ed. Bradford Morrow) (1987)
Classics Revisited (1964; 1986)
More Classics Revisited (ed. Bradford Morrow) (1989)
An Autobiographical Novel (1964; expanded edition, ed. Linda Hamalian, 1991)
Kenneth Rexroth and James Laughlin: Selected Letters (ed. Lee Bartlett) (Norton, 1991)
Kenneth Rexroth: A Centenary Portfolio (ed. Max Blechman) (Chicago Review special issue, Autumn 2006)
In the Sierra: Mountain Writings (ed. Kim Stanley Robinson) (2012)

100 Poems from the Chinese
100 More Poems from the Chinese
Women Poets of China
Complete Poems of Li Ch’ing-Chao
100 Poems from the Japanese
100 More Poems from the Japanese
Women Poets of Japan
Seasons of Sacred Lust: Selected Poems of Kazuko Shiraishi
Selected Poems of Pierre Reverdy
14 Poems by O. V. de Lubicz-Milosz
(Copper Canyon)
Poems from the Greek Anthology
(Ann Arbor)
Songs of Love, Moon, and Wind: Poems from the Chinese
(ed. Eliot Weinberger). New Directions, 2009 [selections from the above Chinese volumes]
Written on the Sky: Poems from the Japanese
(ed. Eliot Weinberger). New Directions, 2009 [selections from the above Japanese volumes]

The above books can all be ordered through bookstores or online distributors. The New Directions books can also be ordered at the New Directions website.


Out-of-Print Rexroth Books

Camping in the Western Mountains (written 1939 but never published)
Bird in the Bush: Obvious Essays (1959)
Assays (1961)
The Alternative Society: Essays from the Other World (Herder & Herder, 1970)
With Eye and Ear (Herder & Herder, 1970)
American Poetry in the Twentieth Century (Herder & Herder, 1971)
The Elastic Retort: Essays in Literature and Ideas (Seabury, 1973)
Communalism: From Its Origins to the Twentieth Century (Seabury, 1974)
Flower Wreath Hill: Later Poems (1991)

30 Spanish Poems of Love and Exile (City Lights, 1956)
100 Poems from the French
(Pym-Randall, 1972)

There is also an immense mass of articles, columns, essays, reviews, introductions, interviews, letters, radio tapes, etc., that have never been collected.