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Tributes are paid to American poet Galway Kinnell

Tributes are paid to American poet Galway Kinnell

TRIBUTES have been paid to the American poet Galway Kinnell who has passed away at age of 87.

The son of Irish and Scottish immigrants, Mr. Kinnell was known for works of a spiritual nature which often connected the experiences of daily life to larger forces. His breakthrough poem was the 14-part work, The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ Into the New World, which was published in 1960. In the work he wrote about people in the Avenue C area of New York.

The horrors of the Vietnam war inspired another of his best-known works, The Book of Nightmares. Another book of works, Body Rags (1968), was also highly praised.

He went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for his book, Selected Poems, which came out in 1982. He also shared The National Book Award for Poetry for the work.

During his long career, he wrote more than a dozen books. The critic Morris Dickstein described him as “one of the true master poets of his generation”.

Among his other poems which became well known were Last Gods (see below), The Bear (see below) and When The Towers Fell about the 9/11 terror attacks.

He served as Poet Laureate for the state of Vermont between 1989 and 1993 and received the Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement from the Academy of American Poets in 2010.

Mr. Kinnell, who had been suffering from leukaemia, passed away at his home in Vermont.

Among the many tributes was one from his friend and fellow poet, W.S. Merwin. He said his friend had been “a very generous soul” and that his works had been the creations of “someone who was independent but felt sympathy with other people”.

Listen to Galway Kinnell reading his poem Last Gods.

Listen to Galway Kinnell reading his poem The Bear .

View archive footage of Galway Kinnell reading from his work

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