Winner of both the Pulitzer and the National Book Award for his Selected Poems, and recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant, Galway Kinnell has been a major figure
in American poetry for over four decades. His iconic poems have won him an large and passionate following. He is the author of ten books, including The Book of Nightmares,
When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone, A New Selected Poems, and, most recently, Strong is Your Hold.”
Poet Mary Oliver called Kinnell “one of the elegant and reliable voices of our times,” writing that he “rarely fails to reach beyond himself as well as into himself in his poems—his work is
concerned with the relationship of our lives to the universe.” According to The Dictionary of Literary Biography, Kinnell’s poems reflect and underline the “constant impingement of the
other-than-human on our lives.” “His point,” writes Publishers Weekly, “seems not to describe or illustrate facts of nature, human or inhuman, but to summon their essence, with lyric
violence or tenderness, and to confirm a kinship.”
Calling him “our premiere pantheist,” poet Tony Hoagland writes that Kinnell’s chief subjects are “mortality, erotic love and creatureness.” Critics often compare his work to that of
Walt Whitman because of its transcendental philosophy and personal intensity. Writes Liz Rosenberg in The Boston Globe, “Kinnell is a poet of the rarest ability, the kind who comes
once or twice in a generation, who can flesh out music, raise the spirits and break the heart.”
In addition to his many books of poetry, Kinnell has enriched the literary landscape with a novel, a collection of interviews, and a children’s book. He edited The Essential Whitman
and has published translations of works by Yves Bonnefoy, Francois Villon, and Rainer Maria Rilke (The Essential Rilke, 1999, with Hannah Liebmann).
Born in Rhode Island and educated at Princeton, Kinnell served as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and has been recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Medal of
Merit of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and the Frost Medal. He has held lectureships abroad, in France and Iran, and taught widely in the U.S., most notably as the Erich
Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing at New York University. He is now retired and lives in Vermont, where he was State Poet from 1989-1993.