Thursday, May 04, 2006

"The Poet of Provincetown"

Nice article in this week's Provincetown Banner about poet Harry Kemp, aka "The Poet of Provincetown." Apparently he was quite the character. At one point Upton Sinclair said he was the next Walt Whitman -- and today hardly anyone outside Provincetown remembers him.

I'm sure there is a lesson there about poetic fame'n'fortune, but at the moment I am too sleepy to extract it, so I'll just leave it at that.


jenni said...

i remember being in the IU library once--is it the 9th floor?--you know, where ALL the poetry is and it was totally depressing. Sooooo many books, so few of them still read.

LitByFire said...

In this case, Harry's poetry is BEST forgotten. It is awful. He was apparently always sweet, always drunk, and nearly always full of shit. He signed his poems with a seagull feather. Wore a cape, and orated. He was a great character, but his poems are nearly unreadable.
His shack is still standing out at Peaked Hill and is never locked. Some of his stuff is still there.
I read through all his poems at the Provincetown Library years ago, searching for something I could quote in my prose book. I found one successful poem:

I Have Found Out

I have found out in love a little flattery
Turns out much better than assault and battery.

Anne said...

Hah! C., maybe that's why the Banner didn't print a selection of his work along with the article. ;) Note to self: do not trust Upton Sinclair's poetry recommendations....

LitByFire said...

I think I'll take that advice too!