October 31, 2014

Galway M. Kinnell ’48: An Appreciation

Poet Galway M. Kinnell has passed away.

Born in 1927, Kinnell graduated from Princeton in the Class of 1948. He studied with John Berryman and R.P. Blackmur, and was roommates with the poet W.S. Merwin. In the course of his distinguished career, he won the Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for poetry, and was recognized by the Academy of American Poets with the Wallace Stevens Award for “mastery in the art of poetry.” In recent years, he served as a member of the Lewis Center for the Arts Advisory Council.

The prolific Kinnell published over a dozen volumes of poetry, translations of poets including Rilke, a novel, and even a children’s book. He wrote with equal passion and power about city life and the wilderness, with extraordinary originality and empathy about love, parenthood, mortality, and so many other subjects.

Kinnell once said in an interview that the poet’s job is “to figure out what’s happening within oneself, to figure out the connection between the self and the world, and to get it down in words that have a certain shape, that have a chance of lasting.”

His words stand more than a chance of lasting — they will leave an indelible legacy on poetry and on the lives of many readers.


Hear Kinnell read from and discuss his work in a series of interviews:

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