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ACU Home > Major Events > News > 2003 News Archive > Galway Kinnell

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet to read in major literary event at ACU

For immediate release
Jan. 23, 2003

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Galway Kinnell will visit Abilene Christian University Jan. 30-31 where he will meet with faculty and students and conduct a poetry reading. The poetry reading, which is free and open to the public, will take place Thursday, Jan. 30, at 8 p.m. in Cullen Auditorium. A reception and book signing will follow.

Now in his mid-seventies, Kinnell is recognized as one of the great living practitioners of American poetry. Kinnell's "Selected Poems," published in 1982, won both the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. A 1948 graduate of Princeton, he is a former MacArthur "genius grant" Fellow, State Poet of Vermont, and Samuel F. B. Morse Professor of Arts and Science at New York University.

"The opportunity to bring Galway Kinnell to Abilene was one we did not want to miss," said Al Haley, ACU's writer-in-residence. "His poetry is understandable, and at the same time amazingly lyrical, energetic, and inventive. He has lived long enough to have produced a significant body of work that makes a lasting contribution to American poetry."

Haley adds that Kinnell's readings are legendary for their passion and the incantatory quality of the poet's voice. "Many people who have had heard numerous poets read have told me that Galway Kinnell is the very best," he said. "No one else can declaim poetry like him."

Critics have noted that Kinnell's poetry derives from personal experience and his inner self. Many of his poems observe nature and humanity's coexistence, the proximity of death to the living, and the hard-earned truths that come from being alive. As Kinnell has put it, "Poetry is the singing of what is to be on our own planet."

Vogue magazine said "Galway Kinnell mesmerizes his audience - in person as well as on the page." The Nation said, "Each generation looks about to see who the great ones are in the arts, and in our time we can single out Galway Kinnell as one of the few consummate masters in poetry."

Kinnell was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1927. He studied at Princeton University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1948, and the University of Rochester. His volumes of poetry include "A New Selected Poems" (Houghton Mifflin, 2000), a finalist for the National Book Award; "Imperfect Thirst" (1996); "When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone" (1990); "Selected Poems" (1980), for which he received both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award; "Mortal Acts, Mortal Words" (1980); "The Book of Nightmares" (1971); "Body Rags" (1968); "Flower Herding on Mount Monadnock" (1964); and "What a Kingdom It Was" (1960). He has also published translations of works by Yves Bonnefroy, Yvanne Goll, and François Villon, and, Rainer Maria Rilke. Galway Kinnell divides his time between Vermont and New York City, where he is the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing at New York University. He is currently a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets.

Kinnell's past accomplishments include a stint as director of an adult education program in Chicago, a journalist in Iran, and a field worker for the Congress of Racial Equality in Louisiana in 1963. During the past twenty years he has taught poetry at colleges and universities in this country and in France and Australia. Kinnell is still writing vital, important poetry including a poem selected for Best American Poetry of 2001.

The public reading and the opportunity for Kinnell to visit with English faculty and their classes has been made possible by the John H. Knox Writers Series and these ACU entities: Office of the Provost, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Faculty Development Committee, and The Center for Christians and the Arts.

For more information, contact Haley at 915-674-2262.

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If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Wendy Kilmer, university news coordinator.

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Last Update: December 17, 2007
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