Kenneth Koch's poems made me laugh before I met him: when I did, in London at the end of the 1960s, he was responsible for my first invitation to the United States: I remember him taking me on the back of his motor-scooter to the Battery to look at the Statue of Liberty. 1970. A rainy morning.
We crossed a few times after that, and corresponded a little, particularly when he was in hospital in Texas. I never expected a response (Ron Padgett was passing such "news" as there was) to those last postcards — but a hand-written letter came once he was back in New York. A gentleman.
I've pirated the photograph, and the poem.
While Kenneth was ill, John Tranter put together a tribute section on his magazine
Note from John Tranter
Knowing he was ill, I sent a printed copy of this issue of
Jacket to Kenneth Koch in October 2001. He sent back a postcard full of
enthusiasm and humor titled, like one of his poems, 'THANK YOU'. The
picture side of the card carries a subtle irony: an 1890's photo of the
crowds at Vichy, France, gathered on a sunny summer's day under a shady
pavilion in hope that the famous health-giving mineral springs
would make them well again.
You can view his card here.
His thanks are properly due not to Jacket, but to the contributors.
You can view the card here: