Friday, November 7, 2014

poems for November 5 Tribute to Galway Kinnell

First Song
The Cellist
Another Night in Ruins

In choosing some Kinnell poems, to honor this beloved poet who just passed away, I stumbled on a site about his 70th birthday, with poets choosing poems to honor.

Another Night in Ruins -- Galway Kinnell
chosen by Anne Marie Macari for Kinnell’s 70th birthday party.
(a poem, in part, about poetry as life’s work.)

"Galway, you are amazing," said Yusef Komunyakaa before reading "Vapor Trail Reflected in the Frog Pond" in a deep, sonorous voice.

"You make me feel less embarrassed to be human," explained Marie Howe, who chose to read "Freedom, New Hampshire."

Robert Bly prefaced "The Bear" by calling Kinnell "a wonderful bear of a man."

Doty explained that Kinnell's work showed him where the imagination could go, then read "It All Comes Back."

Williams was blunt: "When I first heard Galway read, something in me said, 'Holy shit.'" He concluded with "The Porcupine," his southern accent gliding across the stanzas.

Sharon Olds launched straight into "Oatmeal,"
which, like so many Kinnell poems, uses an experience rooted in physicality (eating) to discuss a mental experience (writing poetry). In this case, the lonely speaker decides to invite an imaginary companion to share his unappealing bowl of gloppy oatmeal—he chooses John Keats so that they might enliven the meal by discussing literature.

I choose these quotations at random, to give a flavor of his thinking:
“ What troubles me is a sense that so many things lovely and precious in our world seem to be dying out. Perhaps poetry will be the canary in the mine-shaft warning us of what's to come. - Galway Kinnell

“To me, poetry is somebody standing up, so to speak, and saying, with as little concealment as possible, what it is for him or her to be on earth at this moment”
― Galway Kinnell

And what a rich experience it is to be a Galway Kinnell recounting this.

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