The People Who Say They Like Poetry and Never Buy Any Are Cheap SOB’s

Kenneth Patchen? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: In the 1980s I was browsing in the poetry section of a bookshop, and I saw a sign designed to encourage purchasers. Here are two versions:

People who say they love poetry but never buy any are cheap SOB’s.

People who say they like poetry and don’t buy any are a cheap sonsabitches.

There was an ascription on the sign, but I cannot recall who was named. Would you please explore the provenance of this remark?

Quote Investigator: In 1946 U.S. poet and novelist Kenneth Patchen published the experimental work “Sleepers Awake” which included an episode during which a person met an admired poet. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

In a bar on 3rd I met the poet Fitzmichael Kell. He had his latest book in a big stack on the table in front of him and I bought three copies which he was good enough to sign because I believe the people who say they like poetry and never buy any are a pack of cheap sons-of-bitches.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading The People Who Say They Like Poetry and Never Buy Any Are Cheap SOB’s

Notes:

  1. 1969 (1946 Copyright), Sleepers Awake, by Kenneth Patchen, Section: Prologue, Quote Page 72, New Directions Publishing, New York. (Verified with scans)