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A New Selected Poems Paperback – September 13, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (September 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618154450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618154456
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #504,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Read A New Selected Poems to catch Galway Kinnell's myriad fine-tunings of poems decades old; read it for the pleasure of watching his early formalism blossom into long, joyous, almost Whitmanesque lines; but most of all, read it for the eagle's-eye view it provides of one of our finest American poets. Well into his 70s, Kinnell is still producing poetry as visceral as it is philosophical, forging the universal from the fleshy, messy specifics of life. "Lieutenant! / This corpse will not stop burning!" comes the cry in "The Dead Shall Be Raised Incorruptible," a remarkable war poem that literally embodies his political anger. Throughout A New Selected Poems, which Kinnell has culled from eight previous collections spanning 24 years, that corpse burns fiercely, fiercely, as if to heed the poet's own warning from "Another Night in the Ruins":
How many nights must it take
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
is
to open ourselves, to be
the flames?
Kinnell 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.

From Publishers Weekly

Kinnell's Selected of 1982 won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award; this new retrospective contains many of the same poems, along with ample selections from the three books that have appeared in the interim (the most recent was 1994's Imperfect Thirst). Kinnell's earliest efforts, in which the poet attempted a more formal, Yeats-inflected style, are omitted completely, but the book presents an adequate cull of Kinnell's ambitious work from the '60s and '70s, including selections from What a Kingdom It Was (1960), Body Rags (1968) and Mortal Acts, Mortal Words (1980) that differ from the '82 selection. Exploring ideas of consciousness and mortality, the deeply Romantic poems of this period typically develop in short, numbered sections full of dark imagery: "I have come to myself empty, the rope/ strung out behind me/ in the fall sun/ suddenly glorified with all my blood." Like his deep-image peers Robert Bly and James Wright, Kinnell often seeks transcendence through immersion in nature: "Across gull tracks/ And wind ripples in the sand/ The wind seethes. My footprints/ Slogging for the absolute/ Already begin vanishing." Kinnell's later work maintains a similar mode in lyrics composed of long, single stanzas. Elemental as ever, these poems forcefully evince Kinnell's longstanding themes of human extremity--birth, death, sex--but frequently veer into gender-based bathos and heavy-handed lust: "She takes him and talks/ him more swollen. He kneels, opens/ the dark, vertical smile/ linking heaven with the underneath." At this stage in the poet's career, readers might have been better served by a collected volume spanning his entire output, but this well-balanced retrospective provides an appropriate overview of Kinnell's achievements. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 8, 2000
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.Read more ›
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 5, 2001
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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Marchant on June 3, 2007
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew C. Floyd on December 28, 2007
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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