Imperfect Thirst

Overview

Galway Kinnell's twelfth collection of poems, Imperfect Thirst, is powerful and thrilling, beautifully crafted and astonishingly candid. In it, Kinnell approaches elemental subjects with a remarkable balance of good nature and holy dread. It includes re-visions of moments of childhood and youth; reflections on the relationship between humans and the other creatures; poems bearing on music, language, sex, mortality; five poems based on the form of the Persian ghazal; love poems; and a tender evocation of a ...
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Boston, MA 1994 Hard cover First edition. New in fine dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 81 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Imperfect Thirst

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Overview

Galway Kinnell's twelfth collection of poems, Imperfect Thirst, is powerful and thrilling, beautifully crafted and astonishingly candid. In it, Kinnell approaches elemental subjects with a remarkable balance of good nature and holy dread. It includes re-visions of moments of childhood and youth; reflections on the relationship between humans and the other creatures; poems bearing on music, language, sex, mortality; five poems based on the form of the Persian ghazal; love poems; and a tender evocation of a daughter taking care of her old father. Five longer poems close the book: a meditation on the lasting reverberations of childhood trauma; a lively ode to excrement; a disquisition on flies which weaves together the observations of thirteen other poets; a looking back at the past and a child's looking forward; and an elegy for a beloved sister. Imperfect Thirst is a bold, exact, passionate book from a poet at the height of his powers.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kinnell When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone launches his 12th book of poetry with a witty poem dedicated to ``The Pen''-a pen which, ``like the person who gets out of the truck, goes/ around to the rear, signals to the driver, and calls, `C'mon/ back.'" After that beginning, nearly anyone would follow this writer into the past to his quiet father who ``bent down out of the gloom like a god,'' and later, in another poem, step happily into an imagined future near ``the idea of paradise.'' Kinnell's breadth in the volume astonishes: poems range from an expression of poetic resistance to the fashionable scholarly disinterment of language in ``The Deconstruction of Emily Dickinson,'' to the delicate tableau he creates of a woman caring for her father in ``Parkinson's Disease,'' to his gleefully erudite tribute to excrement in ``Holy Shit.'' Primal themes-love, nature, mortality-emerge in newly compelling forms. In ``Rapture,'' for example, conventional poetic language is abandoned for sensuality's purer rhythms: ``Simile is useless.'' Though at times Kinnell's remarks to himself seem needlessly self-referential, when the poet speaks intimately to us, his voice is unsurpassable. Nov.
Library Journal
In Kinnell's 12th collection, the Pulitzer Prize winner speaks with a vibrant and sure voice. Most powerful is the poem "My Mother's R & R," a kind of fairy tale based in memory, with a fairy tale's dark, threatening side, "two small/hungry boys enflamed and driven off/by the she-wolf." Kinnell's tone is casual, his imagery evocative. These poems take chances. They confront, examine, and explore deeply the heart of life's mysteries: death, family bonds, love, aging, even bodily functions the poem "Holy Shit" could have been left out of the collection. But the point that Kinnell Three Books, LJ 9/15/93 makes with these poems is that it all counts, it's all important, because it's all so transitory: "Could heaven be a time, after we are dead,/of remembering the knowledge/flesh had from flesh?" Recommended for all collections.-Doris Lynch, Monroe Cty. P.L., Bloomington, Ind.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395710890
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 11/16/1994
  • Pages: 81
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Galway Kinnell is a former MacArthur Fellow and has been state poet of Vermont. In 1982 his Selected Poems won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. For many years he was the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing at New York University. He is currently a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. For thirty-five years—from WHAT A KINGDOM IT WAS to THE BOOK OF NIGHTMARES to THREEE BOOKS—Galway Kinnell has been enriching American poetry, not only by his poems but also by his teaching and his powerful public readings.

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Table of Contents

The Pen 3
My Mother's R & R 9
Showing My Father Through Freedom 10
Hitchhiker 12
The Man in the Chair 13
Picnic 15
The Cellist 19
Running on Silk 21
The Deconstruction of Emily Dickinson 23
The Night 26
Trees 28
The Biting insects 35
Paradise Elsewhere 36
Collusion of Elements 37
Driving West 38
Passing the Cemetery 39
Parkinson's Disease 43
Telephoning in Mexican Sunlight 46
"The Music of Poetry" 48
Rapture 50
The Road Across Skye 52
Lackawanna 57
Holy Shit 61
Flies 68
The Striped Snake and the Goldfinch 74
Neverland 79
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