Fiction by Kenneth Patchen
Sleepers Awake, first published in 1946, is one of Kenneth Patchen’s major prose books. A work of extraordinary imaginative invention, it might be described as “novelistic fantasy”––a pioneering new direction in fiction which created its own protean form as it was written. Patchen mingled narrative with dream visions, surrealism with satire, poetry with statements of principle, and explored the then almost uncharted territory of visual word structures twenty years before “Concrete Poetry” became a popular international movement. Sleepers Awake is a rallying cry to young and old, as Patchen advances his long struggle against inhumanity, oppression, war and hypocrisy. Now brutal, now lyrical, he gives us life and the world as we must take them if they are to have full meaning, the horror and the beauty, the joy and the suffering together.