Cover image for A new selected poems
A new selected poems
Kinnell, Galway, 1927-2014.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Poems. Selections
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, [2000]

Physical Description:
xi, 173 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3521.I582 A6 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A survey of the author's work includes poetry from his eight collections spanning from 1960 to 1994.

Author Notes

Galway Kinnell was born on February 1, 1927 in Providence, Rhode Island. During World War II, he served in the Navy. He received a B.A. from Princeton University in 1948 and a M.A. from the University of Rochester in 1949. He taught writing at many schools around the world, including universities in France, Australia, and Iran, and served as director of the creative writing programs at New York University.

He wrote several collections of poetry including Body Rags, The Book of Nightmares, Walking down the Stairs, When One Has Lived a Long Time, Imperfect Thirst, and Mortal Acts, Mortal Words. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and a National Book Award for Selected Poems in 1983. He also wrote one novel entitled Black Light. He died from leukemia on October 28, 2014 at the age of 87.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Three selected volumes by three celebrated American poets. Kinnell's Selected Poems (1992) won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Here he has revisited and revised old works and brought the collection forward in time to include poems from Imperfect Thirst (1994), and once again Kinnell's work makes for a sumptuous reading experience. He draws from the tabernacle of the earth and the pages of the Bible, and his poems ring with a bell-like timbre. Kinnell loves the sensuality of poetry itself and prefers to dwell within a cocoon of solitude, but when the suffering of others makes itself known, he responds with all the compassion the long practice of open-hearted observation and description teach. The popularity of Kleinzahler's recent work, including Green Sees Things in Waves (1998), has inspired the resurrection of his long out-of-print early poems. In introducing this impressive collection, he recounts his youthful certainty regarding his calling and the "excitement, of a neuromuscular sort, almost sexual," that the manipulation of words brought. Kleinzahler's willingness to throw himself into the life of a jack-of-all-trades and a wandering poet energizes his ebullient and inventive poems in which he frolics both sensuously and intellectually, finding the tangible in the abstract and the fanciful in the concrete. Selected poems from Chickamauga (1995), Appalachia (1998), and Black Zodiac (1997), which garnered the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry, are accompanied in this solid collection by a suite of Wright's new poems, which are presented under the heading "The North American Bear." Wright is revered, and rightly so, for his philosophical yet unassuming, classically lyrical yet casual and bluesy, musings. In his latest work, he reports, once again, on his nighttime, backyard patrols, his ritualized stargazing and season tracking, crooning his unending love song to Earth life and all that surrounds us, so vast and unknown, so stirring and evocative. --Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Kinnell's Selected of 1982 won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award; this new retrospective contains many of the same poems, along with ample selections from the three books that have appeared in the interim (the most recent was 1994's Imperfect Thirst). Kinnell's earliest efforts, in which the poet attempted a more formal, Yeats-inflected style, are omitted completely, but the book presents an adequate cull of Kinnell's ambitious work from the '60s and '70s, including selections from What a Kingdom It Was (1960), Body Rags (1968) and Mortal Acts, Mortal Words (1980) that differ from the '82 selection. Exploring ideas of consciousness and mortality, the deeply Romantic poems of this period typically develop in short, numbered sections full of dark imagery: "I have come to myself empty, the rope/ strung out behind me/ in the fall sun/ suddenly glorified with all my blood." Like his deep-image peers Robert Bly and James Wright, Kinnell often seeks transcendence through immersion in nature: "Across gull tracks/ And wind ripples in the sand/ The wind seethes. My footprints/ Slogging for the absolute/ Already begin vanishing." Kinnell's later work maintains a similar mode in lyrics composed of long, single stanzas. Elemental as ever, these poems forcefully evince Kinnell's longstanding themes of human extremity--birth, death, sex--but frequently veer into gender-based bathos and heavy-handed lust: "She takes him and talks/ him more swollen. He kneels, opens/ the dark, vertical smile/ linking heaven with the underneath." At this stage in the poet's career, readers might have been better served by a collected volume spanning his entire output, but this well-balanced retrospective provides an appropriate overview of Kinnell's achievements. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



From What a Kingdom It Was 1960 First Song Then it was dusk in Illinois, the small boy After an afternoon of carting dung Hung on the rail fence, a sapped thing Weary to crying. Dark was growing tall And he began to hear the pond frogs all Calling on his ear with what seemed their joy. Soon their sound was pleasant for a boy Listening in the smoky dusk and the nightfall Of Illinois, and from the fields two small Boys came bearing cornstalk violins And they rubbed the cornstalk bows with resins And the three sat there scraping of their joy. It was now fine music the frogs and the boys Did in the towering Illinois twilight make And into dark in spite of a shoulder's ache A boy's hunched body loved out of a stalk The first song of his happiness, and the song woke His heart to the darkness and into the sadness of joy. Copyright (c) 2000, 2001 by Galway Kinnell Excerpted from A New Selected Poems by Galway Kinnell All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Contents Author's Note xi FROM What a Kingdom It Was 1960
First Songp. 3
For William Carlos Williamsp. 4
Freedom, New Hampshirep. 5
The Supper After the Lastp. 9
The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ into the New Worldp. 12
FROM Flower Herding on Mount Monadnock 1964
The River That Is Eastp. 29
For Robert Frostp. 31
Poem of Nightp. 35
Middle of the Wayp. 37
Ruins Under the Starsp. 39
Flower Herding on Mount Monadnockp. 41
FROM Body Rags 1968
Another Night in the Ruinsp. 47
Vapor Trail Reflected in the Frog Pondp. 49
The Burnp. 51
The Flyp. 52
The Correspondence School Instructor Says Goodbye to His Poetry Studentsp. 53
How Many Nightsp. 54
The Porcupinep. 55
The Bearp. 59
FROM The Book of Nightmares 1971
Under the Maud Moonp. 65
The Hen Flowerp. 70
The Dead Shall Be Raised Incorruptiblep. 74
Little Sleep's-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlightp. 79
Lastnessp. 83
FROM Mortal Acts, Mortal Words 1980
Fergus Fallingp. 91
After Making Love We Hear Footstepsp. 93
Saint Francis and the Sowp. 94
Waitp. 95
Daybreakp. 96
Blackberry Eatingp. 97
Kissing the Toadp. 98
On the Tennis Court at Nightp. 99
The Last Hiding Places of Snowp. 101
Looking at Your Facep. 105
Fishermanp. 106 52
Oswald Streetp. 107
A Milk Bottlep. 108
FROM The Past 1985
The Road Between Here and Therep. 113
Conceptionp. 115
The Sow Piglet's Escapesp. 116
The Olive Wood Firep. 117
The Frog Pondp. 118
Prayerp. 120
Fire in Luna Parkp. 121
Cemetery Angelsp. 122
On the Oregon Coastp. 123
First Day of the Futurep. 124
The Fundamental Project of Technologyp. 125
The Wakingp. 127
That Silent Eveningp. 130
FROM When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone 1990
The Tragedy of Bricksp. 133
The Catp. 135
Oatmealp. 137
The Perchp. 139
The Roomp. 141
Last Godsp. 142
Farewellp. 144
When One Has Lived a Long Time Alonep. 146
FROM Imperfect Thirstp. 1994
My Mother's R & Rp. 159
The Man in the Chairp. 160
The Cellistp. 162
Running on Silkp. 164
The Deconstruction of Emily Dickinsonp. 166
Sheffield Ghazal 4: Driving Westp. 168
Sheffield Ghazal 5: Passing the Cemeteryp. 169
Parkinson's Diseasep. 170
Rapturep. 172
Fliesp. 174
Neverlandp. 178