Traces the evolution of critical responses to the work of poet Galway Kinnell

Look Inside


Introduction: The Weight of Words, the Road between Here and There     1
Chronology     19

Part One Three Overviews


Galway Kinnell
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

Selected Poems
Richard Tillinghast     122

From "Kumin and Kinnell (and Kilmer)" [Selected Poems]
William Harmon     126

The Past
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

Bibliography     285


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.