MacArthur Fellows Program

MacArthur Fellows / Meet the Class of November 1984

Galway Kinnell


New York, New York

Age: 57 at time of award

Deceased: Oct. 28, 2014

Published November 1, 1984

Galway Kinnell is a poet who addresses subjects of eternal, human interest with precision and immediacy.

War, family, human mortality, and civilization’s underside are frequently the focus of his poetic explorations.  His collections of poetry include What a Kingdom It Was (1960), Flower Herding on Mount Monadnock (1964), Body Rags (1964), The Book of Nightmares (1971), The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ into the New World (1974), Mortal Acts, Mortal Words (1980), Selected Poems (1982), The Past (1985), When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone (1990), and Imperfect Thirst (1994).  In addition, Kinnell has published a novel, Black Light (1966), a selection of personal interviews, Walking Down the Stairs (1978), a children’s book, How the Alligator Missed Breakfast (1982), and a selection of Walt Whitman’s poetry, The Essential Whitman (1987).  He is also the translator of a number of poets’ works, including Yves Bonnefoy’s On the Motion and Immobility of Douve (1968), Yvan Gull’s Lackawanna Elegy (1970), The Poems of François Villon (1977), and The Essential Rilke (co-translator, 1999).

Kinnell is the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing at New York University.

Kinnell received an A.B. (1948) from Princeton University and an M.A. (1949) from the University of Rochester. 

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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