The Poetry Project

Basil King

Basil King is a painter/poet, born in England before World War 2 and living in Brooklyn since 1968. He attended Black Mountain College as a teenager and completed an apprenticeship as an abstract expressionist painter in San Francisco and New York. Since 1958 in San Francisco he has been involved with poets, producing covers and art for poetry books. He began to write himself in the 1980’s and now practices both arts daily. His books include Warp Spasm, Identity, Mirage: a poem in 22 sections, 77 Beasts and Learning to Draw/A History, an epic-length hybrid poetry/prose work bringing together autobiography with literary and art historical figures who have been important to King’s development as an artist. He has also contributed to various online poetry magazines including Big Bridge and Sugar Mule. Libellum, Cy Gist, and others have published his chapbooks. An exhibition of his paintings, “The Green Man,” was presented at Poets House in New York in 2010. In 2020, Talisman House published “Light abstracts the smallest things:” The Aesthetics of Basil King, a collection of essays on King’s art and poetry, edited by Burt Kimmelman.