A Very Great Poet is Gone: Galway Kinnell

A great American poet is gone. Galway Kinnell, whom I met several times, both at Poetry Center San Jose in the 1980s and at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, where he was lauded as one of the founders, has died. You can read many of his poems at the Poetry Foundation site, and there are numerous videos of him reading his work, as he came to prominence in the age when people first thought to film poets.

Here is a short collection of some, I particularly love.

One of my very favorite poems of his is “St. Francis and the Sow” which you can read here. Reading this poem as a young woman encouraged me, gave me a place to start. These two lines are among the reasons I teach poetry:

though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness

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This photo is from the SVCW’s website. That’s Bob Hass, Galway Kinnell, Brenda Hillman and Sharon Olds, probably at a benefit reading.