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A New Selected Poems Paperback – September 13, 2001
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How many nights must it takeKinnell is a poet who feels life most keenly as it slips through his fingers. Nothing lasts, but this is less cause for lament than for celebration; after all, he tells us, "the wages / of dying is love." Before we break out the booze and have ourselves a ball, however, there are the poems from his brutal Book of Nightmares to consider, with their apocalyptic howling; his Vermont poems, with their "silent, startled, icy, black language / of blackberry eating in late September"; the noise and clatter of his early New York poems, "Where instants of transcendence / Drift in oceans of loathing and fear..." Kinnell is a poet with a leg in each world, one up above where the bears and porcupines live, and one down below, in what we might call the imaginative underworld. Witness the stunning progression of "When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone," in which he is both Orpheus and a misanthropic Eurydice, singing himself back to the company of the human. How glad we are that Kinnell failed to look back! In the tender "Little Sleep's-Head Sprouting Hair in the Moonlight," the poet advises his infant daughter, "Kiss / the mouth / that tells you, here, / here is the world." After reading these poems, you might feel like doing the same. --Mary Park --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
one such as me to learn
that we aren't, after all, made
from that bird that flies out of its ashes,
that for us
as we go up in flames, our one work
to open ourselves, to be
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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."
"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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found this volume very enlightening, but the writing over worked.Published 13 months ago by Robert S. Kull
Trying to find excellent poetry collections by a single author is not always easy. Some such collections have a few excellent poems up front followed by large numbers of... Read morePublished on August 11, 2013 by Ben J Korgen
A good collection that represents Kinnell well. Only Kinnell available on the Kindle and good to have within reach Glad I bought it.Published on March 12, 2013 by Long Island Man
It really is a wonderful collection. I only wish The Shoes of Wandering was included in the poems from the Book of Nightmares. Read morePublished on October 21, 2012 by Amazon Customer