Galway Kinnell

Galway Kinnell Poems

1.

Wait, for now.
Distrust everything, if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven't they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
...

I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
...

I eat oatmeal for breakfast.
I make it on the hot plate and put skimmed milk on it.
I eat it alone.
I am aware it is not good to eat oatmeal alone.
...

1

I move my hand over
slopes, falls, lumps of sight,
...

For I can snore like a bullhorn
or play loud music
or sit up talking with any reasonably sober Irishman
and Fergus will only sink deeper
...

On the tidal mud, just before sunset,
dozens of starfishes
were creeping. It was
as though the mud were a sky
...

The bud
stands for all things,
even those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
...

I

The stars were wild that summer evening
As on the low lake shore stood you and I
...

At intermission I find her backstage
still practicing the piece coming up next.
She calls it the "solo in high dreary."
Her bow niggles at the string like a hand
...

-- for Jane kenyon


It is a day after many days of storms.
...

There is a fork in a branch
of an ancient, enormous maple,
one of a grove of such trees,
where I climb sometimes and sit and look out
...

Talking with my beloved in New York
I stood at the outdoor public telephone
in Mexican sunlight, in my purple shirt.
Someone had called it a man/woman
...

The old watch: their
thick eyes
puff and foreclose by the moon.The young, heads
trailed by the beginnings of necks,
...

He climbed to the top
of one of those million white pines
set out across the emptying pastures
of the fifties - some program to enrich the rich
...

1

You scream, waking from a nightmare.
...

While spoon-feeding him with one hand
she holds his hand with her other hand,
or rather lets it rest on top of his,
which is permanently clenched shut.
...

In late winter
I sometimes glimpse bits of steam
coming up from
some fault in the old snow
...

Didn't you like the way the ants help
the peony globes open by eating the glue off?
Weren't you cheered to see the ironworkers
sitting on an I-beam dangling from a cable,
...

I can feel she has got out of bed.
That means it is seven a.m.
I have been lying with eyes shut,
thinking, or possibly dreaming,
...

In the evening
haze darkening on the hills,
purple of the eternal,
a last bird crosses over,
...

Galway Kinnell Biography

Galway Kinnell is an American poet. He was Poet Laureate of Vermont from 1989 to 1993. An admitted follower of Walt Whitman , Kinnell rejects the idea of seeking fulfillment by escaping into the imaginary world. His best-loved and most anthologized poems are "St. Francis and the Sow" and "After Making Love We Hear Footsteps". Biography Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Kinnell said that as a youth he was turned on to poetry by Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson, drawn to both the musical appeal of their poetry and the idea that they led solitary lives. The allure of the language spoke to what he describes as the homogeneous feel of his hometown, Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He has also described himself as an introvert during his childhood. Kinnell studied at Princeton University, graduating in 1948 alongside friend and fellow poet W.S. Merwin. He received his master of arts degree from the University of Rochester. He traveled extensively in Europe and the Middle East, and went to Paris on a Fulbright Fellowship. During the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement in the United States caught his attention. Upon returning to the US, he joined CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) and worked on voter registration and workplace integration in Hammond, Louisiana. This effort got him arrested. In 1968, he signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War. Kinnell draws upon both his involvement with the civil rights movement and his experiences protesting against the Vietnam War in his book-long poem The Book of Nightmares. Kinnell was the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing at New York University and a Chancellor of the American Academy of Poets. As of 2011, he is retired and resides at his home in Vermont. Work While much of Kinnell's work seems to deal with social issues, it is by no means confined to one subject. Some critics have pointed to the spiritual dimensions of his poetry, as well as the nature imagery present throughout his work. “The Fundamental Project of Technology” deals with all three of those elements, creating an eerie, chant-like and surreal exploration of the horrors atomic weapons inflict on humanity and nature. Sometimes Kinnell utilizes simple and brutal images (“Lieutenant! / This corpse will not stop burning!” from “The Dead Shall be Raised Incorruptible”) to address his anger at the destructiveness of humanity, informed by Kinnell’s activism and love of nature. There’s also a certain sadness in all of the horror—“Nobody would write poetry if the world seemed perfect.” There’s also optimism and beauty in his quiet, ponderous language, especially in the large role animals and children have in his later work (“Other animals are angels. Human babies are angels”), evident in poems such as “Daybreak” and “After Making Love We Hear Footsteps”. In addition to his works of poetry and his translations, Kinnell published one novel (Black Light, 1966) and one children's book (How the Alligator Missed Breakfast, 1982). A close friend of James Wright until Wright's death in 1980, Kinnell wrote two elegies to Wright, which appear in From the Other World: Poems in Memory of James Wright.)

The Best Poem Of Galway Kinnell

Wait

Wait, for now.
Distrust everything, if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven't they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become lovely again.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again,
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. And the desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.

Wait.
Don't go too early.
You're tired. But everyone's tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a while and listen.
Music of hair,
Music of pain,
music of looms weaving all our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear,
the flute of your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.

Galway Kinnell Comments

Michael Walker 25 June 2020

Galway Kinnell came to New Zealand on a sponsored poetry reading tour many years ago. I wish that I had seen and heard him.He writes in a natural style, never affected, and he always expresses the message he wants to transmit. A true poet of the modern world, not the past.

0 0 Reply
Amber 09 September 2018

The reader is terrible. It distracts from the writing. It sounds lie it is artificial.

1 1 Reply

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