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Galway Kinnell Biography

(1927– ), What a Kingdom It Was, First Poems 1946–1954, Flower Herding on Mount Monadnock, Body Rags

poems verse natural university

American poet, born in Providence, Rhode Island, educated at Princeton University and the University of Rochester. Since the early 1950s he has held a succession of visiting posts at universities in Europe, the Middle East, and America; he became director of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers in 1979. His earlier verse, represented by What a Kingdom It Was (1960) and the belatedly published First Poems 1946–1954 (1970), combined a straightforwardly reflective tone with fluent use of complex traditional forms. The vivid and imaginative presentation of natural imagery in these volumes remains an essential feature of his later work, collections of which include Flower Herding on Mount Monadnock (1964), Body Rags (1969), The Book of Nightmares (1971), Mortal Acts, Mortal Words (1980), Selected Poems (1982), The Past (1985), and When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone (1990). Throughout the 1970s his verse became increasingly experimental in coveying his encompassing vision of the fundamental unity of the human and natural world. The most notable of his many poems addressing social and historical injustice is the long title work of The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ into the New World, a collected edition of his verse published in 1974. Among his other works is the novel Black Light (1966) and numerous translations, which include The Poems of François Villon (1965) and The Lackawanna Elegy (1970) by Yvan Goll.

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