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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Galway Kinnell - US Poet

One of my favourite poets, and no doubt an influence on some of my poems, is Galway Kinnell, US poet with a very distinctive voice. His 'Book of Nightmares' was a huge influence on many younger poets when it appeared in 1971, and his selected poems collection 'Body Rags' was another which taught me a lot. I have read a lot of Kinnell's work over the years, and have come to a healthy conclusion to be as much an individual poet myself as he is himself. No doubt I have learnt some techniques from his work - mainly about pace and line endings - but I no longer feel I am influenced by him.

He is the focal point of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation blog now at

Here's a quote:
In all of [Kinnell's] collections, but particularly in those of recent decades, there is a sense of a relentless striving toward a poetry that is not based on emulating music, chant, Hebraic verse or any other constructed model, but on the physicality of words themselves. For Kinnell, every word has its own weight, texture, taste and mouth feel, which, as he writes in “Blackberry Eating,” “I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well.” His poems have come closer and closer to a keen appreciation for the value of words for their own unique existence as corporeal things, a savoring of the pure languageness of language.

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