Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The problem was to present an exhibition of the works of Kenneth Patchen to the University of North Dakota community; to augment the exhibition with a published catalog which would give the uninitiated viewer a sense of Patchen's place in both literature and the visual arts; to accompany the catalog, in thesis form, with a critical article about Patchen’s work.

The procedure involved the following steps: (1) A compilation of a Patchen bibliography. (2) A week in California with Mrs. Patchen during which time I surveyed the artist's entire output of picture-poems and, based upon my critical judgment of the work, selected the exhibition. At this time I interviewed Mrs. Patchen about Patchen's technical development treated in the catalog. (3) A study of layout, reproduction problems, and printing possibilities which resulted in the printing of the catalog. (4) The actual installation of the exhibition based upon relationships between individual works and Patchen's technical development as exemplified by various pieces and treated in the catalog essay. (5) A study of Patchen's art in relationship to characteristics of primitive art. This resulted in the critical essay accompanying the catalog or Chapter II of the thesis.

The tangible results consisted of the exhibition and the published catalog.

The final conclusions of the essay are that: (1) Miriam Patchen contributed to Patchen's work by involving him in her creature world. (2) Technical difficulties and ill health caused him to evolve the picture-poem. (3) He deliberately chose to use Miriam's creature world in a primitive or childlike manner as a statement of theme.