Biography of James Galvin
James Galvin was born in Chicago and earned a BA from Antioch College and an MFA from the University of Iowa. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Resurrection Update: Collected Poems (1998), X (2003), As Is (2009), and Everything We Always Knew Was True (2016). He has also published the novel Fencing the Sky (1999), and The Meadow (1992), a prose meditation on the landscape of the Wyoming-Colorado border and the people who live there.
Galvin’s work is infused with the genuine realities of the western landscape, while at the same time not shirking difficult questions of faith, the vicissitudes of life, and shifting intimacies. Poet and critic Mark Tredinnick commented, “All Galvin’s writing arises from and expresses a musical engagement with the world.” Tredinnick also found Galvin’s work to be “profoundly ecological,” stating that “[h]is writing, particularly The Meadow, but all of his prose and poetry, starts from the principle . . . that we are the land’s, not the other way around.”
Galvin has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation for his poetry. For many years he has been on the permanent faculty at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, spending part of the year in Iowa City, Iowa, and the remainder in Tie Siding, Wyoming, where he grew up and still ranches.
James Galvin Poems
Two Horses And A Dog
Without external reference, The world presents itself In perfect clarity.
A pinup of Rita Hayworth was taped To the bomb that fell on Hiroshima. The Avant-garde makes me weep with boredom. Hares are wishes, especially dark ones.
Somewhere between a bird's nest and a solar system - whom did the story use to fashion the crown of thorns, and did it prick them? Whom did the story use for judgement?
To The Republic
Past fences the first sheepmen cast across the land, processions of cringing pitch or cedar posts pulling into the vanishing point like fretboards carrying barbed melodies, windharp
Dear Miss Emily
I knew the end would be gone before I got there. After all, all rainbows lie for a living. And as you have insisted, repeatedly, The difference between death and the Eternal
Blue Or Green
We don't belong to each other. We belong together. Some poems belong together to prove the intentionality of subatomic particles.
I Looked for Life and Did a Shadow See
Some little splinter Of shadow purls And weals down The slewed stone Chapel steps,
The more I see of people, the more I like my dog. And this would be good country if a man could eat scenery. The lake's ice gives light back to the air,
Getting a Word In
Very sad, Having to Come out of nowhere,
All the angels of Tie Siding were on fire. The famous sky was gone. Presumably the mountains were still there, invisible in haze. OK,
Explication of an Imaginary Text
Salt is pity, brooms are fury, The waterclock stands for primordial harmony. The spruce forest, which is said to be
Well aren't you the harsh necessity, As in what fear is for? It was the summer of You should have been there,
Depending on the Wind
I A score of years ago I felled a hundred pines to build a house. Two stories, seven rooms in all.
Remember the night you got drunk and shot the roses? You were a perfect stranger, Father, even my bad sister cried.
Somewhere between a bird's nest and a solar system - whom did
the story use to fashion the crown of thorns, and did it prick
Whom did the story use for judgement?
Whom for betrayal?
The slender silver filament of drool from too much Quaalude tethered
her chin to her shoulder.
When I came back she was sitting