Kenneth Lawrence Beaudoin (1913-1995) was an American anthropologist and poet. Born in Elmiro, Michigan on December 12, 1913, he graduated from Memphis State College in 1935, attended Louisiana State from 1936 to 1937, Loyola (La.) in 1940, and the New School for Social Research from 1944 to 1946. His specialties were American anthropology and archeology, with special interest in the folk literature of American Indians and primitive literature, and he published several monographs including 4 Sioux myths and 2 Blackfoot legends, The Papago genesis and two other legends of origin, and The Warren mounds: A preliminary survey .
From 1936 to 1940 Beaudoin lived in New Orleans and headed the Louisiana Historical Records Survey, and he later ran an art gallery for several years in Greenwich Village, New York. From 1950-1980 he worked as chief clerk in criminal intelligence with the Memphis Police Department, a job which he considered invaluable for the insights it offered into the human condition, which in turn nourished his poetry.
Beaudoin is perhaps best known for inventing the "eye poem," a poetic collage form that combined words and pictures. He published several collections of poems, including Elegy for a southern poet and other poems (1951), On hot summer afternoons, and other poems (1953), and Where the new laughed any new laughed (Eye poem) (1959). He conducted poetry clinics at Southwestern University, and Inisfree, his river-side home in Memphis, Tennessee, was a kind of literary salon where local poets would gather to read and talk about poetry. In 1976 he was named "Poet Laureate of the River" at the Mid-South Festival, and his work has been widely published in England, Wales, France, West Germany, Greece, Italy, India, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia.
From the guide to the Kenneth L. Beaudoin Papers, 1951-1964, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)