Irish-American poet Galway Kinnell, winner of the 1982 Pulitzer Prize and the 1984 National Book Award, will read a selection of his poems this month at The Catholic University of America.
Kinnell, considered one of the greatest poets of his generation, is expected to read a new poem about the tragic hours of Sept. 11 at the event, which will start at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, in Caldwell Hall auditorium. Afterward, he will sign copies of his “A New Selected Poems,” which was published two years ago.
Kinnell, who teaches at New York University where he also directs the graduate creative writing department, is known for his “gorgeous sense of rhythm and gorgeous use of language,” says CUA Associate Professor of English Rosemary Winslow.
The poet’s work has been compared to the writing of Walt Whitman because of its personal intensity and transcendental philosophy, which seeks to give meaning to reality through spiritual intuition. In his writing, images of death, fire and graphic elements of nature are countered by expressions of compassion and tenderness.
“Kinnell tracks through the horror of the 20th century experience with what he has called ‘tenderness toward existence,’ ” says the professor. “He is a poet attuned to the body and all its senses. He makes a downward movement toward earth, the interior and human love.”
His books range from “Body Rags,” which contains “The Bear,” one of his best-known poems, to “The Book of Nightmares,” with its images of dead fish and decapitated chickens, to the more meditative writing in “The Past and Mortal Acts, Mortal Words.”
His upcoming appearance is the latest in a series of Catholic University readings by acclaimed American poets who include Pulitzer-winners Yusef Komunyakaa, Philip Levine and Charles Wright in addition to four-time Pulitzer-nominee Dave Smith.
A reception will follow. The event is free and open to the public.
For more information, contact the Department of English at 202-319-5488.
Revised: Feb. 18, 2002
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