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A New Selected Poems Hardcover – 1 Mar 2001

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 173 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (Trade) (1 Mar. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618021876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618021871
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,878,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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There are few others writing today in whose work we feel so strongly the full human presence. His language tantalises us with a foretaste of meaning, an underlying emotional logic that recalls Whitman's "I am the man, I suffer'd, I was there." Like all good poetry, his finest poems attract and mesmerise us before we really understand them. --Morris Dickstein, New York Times Book Review

Kinnell is a poet of the rarest ability, the kind who comes once or twice in a generation, who can flesh out music, raise the spirits and break the heart. --Liz Rosenberg, Boston Globe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1927, Galway Kinnell made his living mostly from teaching from 1949 to 2005, in France, Iran and Australia as well as at colleges and universities across America. He was Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing at New York University for many years, and served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2001 to 2007. In 1982 his SELECTED POEMS won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. An updated and expanded edition was published as SELECTED POEMS by Bloodaxe in Britain in 2001. He has also published several translations, including books by Goll, Lorca, Rilke and Villon, and Yves Bonnefoy's ON THE MOTION AND IMMOBILITY OF DOUVE in the Bloodaxe Contemporary French Poets series (1992). His latest collection, STRONG IS YOUR HOLD, published with an audio CD in 2007 by Bloodaxe, includes his long poem "When the Towers Fell", a requiem for those who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11 in direct view of his New York apartment. He now lives only in a remote part of northern Vermont, in the house he bought as a wreck in the 60s, where he has written much of his work. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Graham Mummery TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 25 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
A few years ago at a large London poetry reading at the South Bank Centre, there was not a British edition of the Galway Kinnell's work. This is strange because he has long been one of America's leading poets, one of the most accessible, and also one of the most intellectually acute. This selection remedies that omission.

The poems here cover most of his major collections published in the USA. And there are many gems here. Personal favourites include one called "After Making Love We Hear Footsteps" about a child coming into the parent's bedroom. Kinnell is that rare bird in English language poetry, one who can write about sex without it running danger of descending into saucy postcard sense of humour, as is also shown in another poem "Last Gods" which also has a pantheistic feel about it. Another favourite of mine is "St Francis and the Sow" a meditation on what is sacred.

Kinnell is not necessarily an advocate of organised religion. His poems aim more to get to the centre of things as is shown in perhaps his most famous poem "the Bear" in which the hunter transforms himself into prey. But if he can be described as spiritual in outlook, as well physical, he also has a great sense of society as is shown in a poem about people playing tennis. He is also acutely aware of modern living and suffering. Later on in a poem titled "Rapture" he describes someone suffering dementia as a result of Parkinson's disease being fed.

And then there are some very comical poems like the poem "Oatmeal." This is a conversation with an imaginary friend, who happens to be John Keats. Its delicious silliness also says something about the relationship between the sublime and the ridiculous.

All in all, this is a collection to treasure from a humane, and deeply intelligent writer with a strong eye for the details of life, who may go down as one of the greats of American literature.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Galway Kinnell has so much humour! Some of the poems are heavy but some can really make you laugh. It is a wonderful mixture of selected poems. I have never encountered such poetry in my life. Truly original.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Between there and here, great poems were written 8 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of Kinnell's greatest poems, from his 1985 volume The Past, is "The Road Between There and Here". In that, the poet travels a familiar road, remembering all that has happened "here", for instance: "Here the local fortune teller took my hand and said 'what is still/ possible is inspired work, faithfulness to a few, and a last love,/ which, being last, will be like looking up and seeing the/ parachute opening up in a shower of gold." That's near the end of the road, of course, after literature, first love, children,contemplation,frogs, speckled eggs, piglets,and Handel are recalled. Reading Kinnell's A New Selected Poems (his last selections were published in 1982)is like traveling the life road with him between there and here, stopping to watch him as he ages from a young poet with attention to form and intellectual pursuits, to a feeling poet -- a nature eulogist and family man --, to a seeker of self in his late middle age, and finally in his latest poems from Imperfect Thirst, into a quiet and nearly sentimental muser. There are no new poems here, but the poet's full,long and deeply lived life, presented and arranged here with an old man's sense of patterns and wisdom, is well worth a return to familiar poems in this new context. I think this volume should be read from start to finish without pause, unlike most poetry books -- the real beauty here is feeling Kinnell's life and insights blossom, flourish and settle. As for the individual poems: there is vigor and attention to language and ideas in his early work, but I find the poems from his middle volumes most moving. The Book of Nightmares may be Kinnell's master work, but I love even more the succinct, prayerful poems of Mortal Acts, Mortal Words. These poems combine his bond with the natural world with his own losses and desires surely,with precision and courage, not the sentiment of later poems. This sureness fuels the poems of When One Has Lived A Long Time Alone, as he sheds life previously lived and starts anew. Reading the whole selection may actually improve the effect of the poems from Imperfect Thirst, which in that volume seemed to me rambling ,disappointingly prosey, a little too sweet. Now, I see the grace of age, letting go of rigors and concepts and form and loving simplicity, and answering the call to rush onto the page before the poet arrives at the end of road,"all used up, that's it." A moving volume that left me somehow loving my own life more,--could the hardest parts have been the best after all? Kinnell convinced me, the road is worth every mile.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
A Masculine Poet of the Natural World 6 Jun. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Galway Kinnell is a poet for all seasons. His voice is full bodied, in touch with the real world, and his vision is compelling. He deals with love and death and the glories of the natural world with crafty and beautiful language. No other American poet of his time has dealt so fully with the world of living creatures in a way that celebrates them without sentiment. His A NEW SELECTED POEMS allows us to sample the best of a lifetime of poetic output and is must reading for those who want to sample the best of contemporary American Poetry. Kinnell is one of our poetic giants and he deals with all that life, love and death, and the glorious and astounding natural world have to offer. You will feel better and less alone after sharing his thoughts and experiences. Daniela Gioseffi, American Book Award winning poet/editor/novelist.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
a life in free verse 3 Jun. 2007
By A. Marchant - Published on
Format: Paperback
A New Selected Poems. I've been savoring this book at the rate of a poem per month since my daughter gave it to me. (Don't ask how many bookmarks are propped up beside my bed.)

Gallway Kinnell's anthology is a tour de force of free verse. Kinnell speaks in an unstilted, vernacular voice that requires no academic dissection. The poems are rife with sensory description and rich with apt and original metaphor. Each poem stands alone as a satisfying emotional experience and as a unique insight into the the poet's life.

In the chronological progression of the anthology, the poems become more personal, more powerful, and more varied. It is as if the poet, having accepted the bridle of his muse, is driven year by year at an accelerating pace of insight and passion. Galway Kinnell proves that man can outrun his banshee.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If you read only one collection by Galway Kinnell, make it this one -- you will want to read more 21 Feb. 2015
By David Anthony Sam - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I remember as well as one can after 43 years when Galway Kinnell gave a poetry reading at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I was stunned, not just by his reading, but more by the poetry. I went immediately to the Centicore Bookstore and bought what they had available at the time, I think Body Rags.

This collection affirms in my mind that he wrote some of the finest verse during the last half of the 20th Century. In "The Bear" he reveals the unity of all being even as he vividly and grimly describes the awfulness of the way of tracking and killing a bear from the inside out.

In "Little Sleep's-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight" he bares the tender love of a father who sees hope and mortality in the growth of a child.

He writes passionate love poems that feel the bones beneath his lover's face. He weaves himself into nature and nature into his flesh. And his language is real, unadorned eloquence:

"In the human heart
There sleeps a green worm
That has spun the heart about itself,
And that shall dream itself black wings
One day to break free into the black sky."

or again::

"In the forest I discover a flower.
The invisible life of the thing
Goes up in flames that are invisible,
Like cellophane burning in the sunlight.
It burns up. Its drift is to be nothing."

If you only read one collection by Kinnell, this is a great one. But I guarantee it will leave you want to read more.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
great 28 Dec. 2007
By greyhound - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
if you like Galway this is a good collection. If you already have many of his books then you will have many repeats.
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