Kenneth Koch in the New York Times Book Review

There was brief but welcome mention of Kenneth Koch in a letter in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review.  The letter was in response to a recent piece by Helen Elaine Lee about teaching creative writing to prisoners.  In her letter, Anne Lundin writes

Almost 40 years ago I participated in an innovative program at the Fulton County Jail, Atlanta, where classes were offered to provide stimulation for long-term inmates assigned to that facility. I was inspired to participate by Kenneth Koch’s work in the New York City public schools, which demonstrated how poetry can transcend boundaries.

Lundin is referring, of course, to Koch’s groundbreaking books about teaching poetry to children, Wishes, Lies, and Dreams and Rose, Where Did You Get that Red?  

Learning that Lundin was inspired to teach poetry to inmates by Koch’s work is a neat counterpart to my recent discovery that Frank O’Hara’s poetry actually inspired someone to go to Ghana to teach poetry.  Surely another sign that influence works in strange and wonderful ways …

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