Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Kenneth Fearing  

Pen Name: Kirk Wolff

Genre: Fiction Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: July 28, 1902 in Oak Park, Illinois

Died: June 26, 1961 in New York

-- Kenneth Fearing on Modern American Poetry Website --
-- Wikipedia --
-- Kenneth Fearing on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Fearing was born in Oak Park, Illinois. He attended University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign for two years.

Biographical and Professional Information

Fearing was an American poet and writer. He was considered one of the most prominent poets during the Great Depression. After college, Fearing moved to New York City where he began a career as a poet and was active in leftist politics. In the Twenties and Thirties, he published regularly in ''The New Yorker'' and helped found ''The Partisan Review''.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Angel arms (Songs of today series)
ISBN: B000869BTC

Coward McCann. 1929

DEAD RECKONING: A Book of Poetry.

Random House (1938).. 1938

From the dust jacket: "With the publication of his third volume of poems, Kenneth Fearing firmly establishes his position in the vanguard of insurgent American poets. His verse is as modern and as daring as sky-writing. In swift, bold strokes he reveals the promise of a world to be against the background of the world as it is. The plight of the individual on the verge of catastrophe and his hope of life in a sane society are Fearing's major concerns. His poems are intended for readers who wish to feel and think with dignity and purpose."

The hospital

Random house. 1939

Collected Poems of Kenneth Fearing
ISBN: 0404146619

Random House. 1940

Dagger of the Mind

Bantam Books. 1947

Vintage paperback

Clark Gifford's Body (New York Review Books Classics)
ISBN: 1590171829

NYRB Classics. 2006

Back in Print After Fifty Years

Clark Gifford? A cipher. A disaffected, vaguely idealistic politician in a nameless media-driven modern state where representative politics has dwindled to the corrupt transaction of business as usual and a new foreign war is always breaking out. One night Gifford and his followers seize some radio stations and broadcast a call for freedom—a rebellion that is immediately put down by the government and whose motive will remain forever obscure. Even so, it leads to twenty years of war.

A paranoid tour de force of political noir, Clark Gifford’s Body skips back and forth in time, interspersing newspaper clippings and court transcripts with the reactions and reminiscences of the politicians, generals, businessmen, journalists, waiters, and soldiers who double as the actors and the chorus in a drama over which, finally, they have no control. Who here is leading? Who is being led? Fearing’s novel is a pseudo-documentary of a world given over to pseudo-politics and pseudo-events, a prophetic glimpse of the future as a poisonous fog.

“I have not developed the habit of reading thrillers, but I have read enough of them to know that from now on Mr. Fearing is my man.”–The New Yorker

The Big Clock
ISBN: 1590171810

NYRB Classics. 2006

George Stroud is a hard-drinking, tough-talking, none-too-scrupulous writer for a New York media conglomerate that bears a striking resemblance to Time, Inc. in the heyday of Henry Luce. One day, before heading home to his wife in the suburbs, Stroud has a drink with Pauline, the beautiful girlfriend of his boss, Earl Janoth. Things happen. The next day Stroud escorts Pauline home, leaving her off at the corner just as Janoth returns from a trip. The day after that, Pauline is found murdered in her apartment.

Janoth knows there was one witness to his entry into Pauline’s apartment on the night of the murder he knows that man must have been the man Pauline was with before he got back but he doesn’t know who he was. Janoth badly wants to get his hands on that man, and he picks one of his most trusted employees to track him down: George Stroud, who else?

How does a man escape from himself? No book has ever dramatized that question to more perfect effect than The Big Clock, a masterpiece of American noir.

Stranger at Coney Island

Harcourt Brace, New York. 1948

Loneliest Girl in the World

New York Harcourt Brace & Co. 1951.. 1951

The Generous Heart

Harcourt Brace. 1954

Mystery by the author of The Big Clock.

New and Selected Poems
ISBN: 0313241759

Praeger. 1983

The Crozart Story

Doubleday and Company. 1960