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Galway Kinnell is one of the key voices of a rich generation of American poets--those who were born in the 1920s and gained critical recognition in the 1960s. In some ways representative of that group, Kinnell strikes his own extraordinary chord--a union of sensuous detail, rich music, vulnerable passion, personal experience felt through to mythic layers, and a long and brooding meditation on time and morality.
This book gathers the best and most representative writing on Kinnell. The material ranges from the caustic to the celebratory; from a chronicle of reviews to essays that describe the shape of a career and a vision; from analyses of individual poems to a reminiscence of the friendship between Kinnell and fellow poet James Wright; from early notices of his first book to several new essays written especially for this volume. What emerges is a full, many-faceted, many-toned consideration of the poet and his work.
Contributors include Harold Bloom, Louise Bogan, Joseph Bruchac, James Dickey, Tess Gallagher, Donald Hall, and William Matthews.
Introduction: The Weight of Words, the Road between Here and There 1
Charles G. Bell 25
The Poetry of Galway Kinnell
Andrew Taylor 29
The Rank Flavor of Blood: The Poetry of Galway Kinnell
Charles Molesworth 45
Part Two Book Reviews
From "Five First Books" [What a Kingdom It Was]
James Dickey 65
From "Verse" [What a Kingdom It Was]
Louise Bogan 67
From "Wonders of the Inner Eye" [Flower Herding on Mount Monadnock]
Dewitt Bell 68
From "Plath, Jarrell, Kinnell, Smith" [Flower Herding on Mount Monadnock]
John Macolm Brinnin 70
From "The Poet as Novelist" [Black Light]
Mona Van Duyn 72
From "Poets and Anthologies" [Body Rags]
Gerald Burns 74
From "Making It New" [Body Rags]
Hayden Carruth 75
The Bear in the Poet in the Bear [Body Rags]
John Logan 76
From "The Makers and Their Works" [The Bood of Nightmares]
Thomas Lask 82
Under the Freeway, in the Hotel of Lost Light [The Book of Nightmares]
M.L. Rosenthal 84
On Climbing the Matterhorn: Monadnock [The Book of Nightmares]
Robert Peters 88
From "In the Direct Line of Whitman, the Indirect Line of Eliot" [The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ into the New World]
Christopher Ricks 93
From "Autobiography of the Present" [The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ into the New World]
James Atlas 96
Galway Kinnell's Walking Down the Stairs
Susan B. Weston 98
Straight Forth Out of Self [Mortal Acts, Mortal Worlds]
Hank Lazer 107
A Poet with the Flame of Greatness [Selected Poems]
Liz Rosenberg 119
Richard Tillinghast 122
From "Kumin and Kinnell (and Kilmer)" [Selected Poems]
William Harmon 126
Daniel L. Guillory 129
From "Songs of Science" [The Past]
Phoebe Pettingell 130
Part Three Appraisals --- Notes and Essays
by various hands 135
From "The Dominant Poetic Mode of the Late Seventies"
Charles Altieri 138
From "Galway Kinnell"
David Young 140
Slogging for the Absolute
Donald Davie 143
From "Text as Test"
Donald Hall 157
From "Language Against Itself: The Middle Generation of Contemporary Poets"
Alan Williamson 169
Galway Kinnell and the Old Farmer
Robert Bly 178
Part Four Focus on Poems
From "Ecclesiastical Whitman: On 'The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ into the New World'"
Cary Nelson 187
Kinnell's Legacy: On "The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ into the New World"
Paul Mariani 191
I Have Come to Myself Empty: Galway Kinnell's Bear and Porcupine
Joseph Bruchac 203
The Structure of Galway Kinnell's The Book of Nightmares
Conrad Hilberry 210
Of Father, of Son: On "Fergus Falling," "After Making Love We Hear Footsteps," and "Angling, a Day"
John Unterecker 227
On the Tennis Court at Night
William Matthews 242
Trusting the Hours: On "Wait"
Marsha Peterson White 251
From "The Poem as a Reservoir for Grief": On "Goodbye"
Tess Gallagher 256
Knowing and Not Knowing
Ted Solotaroff 266
Part Five A Reminiscence
Sitting on Top of the Sunlight
Anne Wright 275