Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Introduction

Galway Kinnell: Born February 1, 1927 in Providence, Rhode Island. He was inspired by poets Edgar Allen Poe and Emily Dickinson. He studied at Princeton University where he graduated in 1948. He then received his master of arts degree from the University of Rochester. After completing his education, he traveled extensively through Europe and the Middle East. During the 1960’s, the Civil Rights Movement in the United States really caught his attention. He came back to the states where he was very active in CORE (Congress of Racial Equality). Between his strong feelings involving the Civil Rights and his protests against the Vietnam War, Kinnell wrote The Book of Nightmares. This was the kick start to his writing career.

Influences: Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson

220px-Edgar_Allan_Poe_portrait_B

emily-dickinson

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

“Fergus Falling”

He climbed to the top
of one of those million white pines
set out across the emptying pastures
of the fifties – some program to enrich the rich
and rebuke the forefathers
who cleared it all at once with ox and axe –
climbed to the top, probably to get out
of the shadow
not of those forefathers but of this father
and saw for the first time
down in its valley, Bruce Pond, giving off
its little steam in the afternoon,
pond where Clarence Akley came on Sunday mornings to cut down
the cedars around the shore, I’d sometimes hear the slow spondees
of his work, he’s gone,
where Milton Norway came up behind me while I was fishing and
stood awhile before I knew he was there, he’s the one who put the
cedar shingles on the house, some have curled or split, a few have
blown off, he’s gone,
where Gus Newland logged in the cold snap of ’58, the only man will-
ing to go into those woods that never got warmer than ten below,
he’s gone,
pond where two wards of the state wandered on Halloween, the Na-
tional Guard searched for them in November, in vain, the next fall a
hunter found their skeletons huddled together, in vain, they’re
gone,
pond where an old fisherman in a rowboat sits, drowning hooked
worms, when he goes he’s replaced and is never gone,
and when Fergus
saw the pond for the first time
in the clear evening, saw its oldness down there
in its old place in the valley, he became heavier suddenly
in his bones
the way fledglings do just before they fly,
and the soft pine cracked.
I would not have heard his cry
if my electric saw had been working,
its carbide teeth speeding through the bland spruce of our time, or
burning
black arcs into some scavenged hemlock plank,
like dark circles under eyes
when the brain thinks too close to the skin,
but I was sawing by hand and I heard that cry
as though he were attacked; we ran out,
when we bent over him he said, “Galway, Inés, I saw a pond!”
His face went gray, his eyes fluttered close a frightening
moment.
Yes – a pond
that lets off its mist
on clear afternoons of August, in that valley
to which many have come, for their reasons,
from which many have gone, a few for their reasons, most not,
where even now and old fisherman only the pinetops can see
sits in the dry gray wood of his rowboat, waiting for pickerel.

Galway Kinnell

“Fergus Falling” Analysis:

The major themes in the poem, “Fergus Falling,” by Galway Kinnell are mortality, the permanence of Mother Nature, and the desire to discover in spite of the dangers.

In the first stanza of the poem we read the, “he” climbed to the top of a pine tree.  Later, in the poem we find out that, “he,” is Fergus.  In the poem Kinnell writes, “climbed to the top, probably to get out of the shadow not of those forefathers but of this father.”  In saying this Kinnell is trying to show that Fergus has climbed the tree to get out of the shadow of mortality. Despite the dangers of this climb Fergus is willing to accept the risks involved to perhaps discover a way to break away from the shadow of death.  When Fergus gets to the top of the tree and looks out he spots, Bruce Pond down in the valley.  The third and fourth stanzas discuss Fergus’ fall and the last line in the fourth stanza Fergus proclaims, “Galway, Inés, I saw a pond!”   This proclamation shows the reader that Fergus in his dying moment is excited about what he discovered.

The second stanza is devoted to showing the permanence of Mother Nature and the mortality of humans.  Kinnell does this by starting every line in the second stanza with, “pond where,” or, “where,” and then he ends every line with, “he’s gone.”  The first line of the second stanza is a good example of this technique,

“pond where Clarence Akley came on Sunday mornings to cut down
the cedars around the shore, I’d sometimes hear the slow spondees
of his work, he’s gone,”

This shows that while people may come and go the pond persists eternally.

The only line that differs from this is the last line of the second stanza,

“pond where an old fisherman in a rowboat sits, drowning hooked
worms, when he goes he’s replaced and is never gone,”

In this last line Kinnell is showing how Mother Nature and fisherman have formed an inextricable pond, and while a fisherman may perish, one will take his place. Therefore, as long as the pond exists there will be a fisherman on the pond fishing.

Bruce Pond in, “Fergus Falling,” has an omnipresent quality about it, because everything that happens revolves around the pond.  Also, it seems that the pond wants to be left undiscovered, because almost everyone that comes across it perishes.  In the case of Fergus,

“and when Fergus

saw the pond for the first time

in the clear evening, saw its oldness down there

in its old place in the valley, he became heavier suddenly

in his bones

the way fledglings do just before they fly,

and the soft pine cracked.”

Then, in the last two lines of the poem,

“where even now and old fisherman only the pinetops can see

sits in the dry gray wood of his rowboat, waiting for pickerel.”

Kinnell makes it seem as though the only thing that has a right to view the pound is the tree tops, and that Bruce Pond is somehow the reason for Fergus’ fall.

Leave a comment

Filed under "Fergus Falling"

“The Bear”

1

In late winter
I sometimes glimpse bits of steam
coming up from
some fault in the old snow
and bend close and see it is lung-colored
and put down my nose
and know
the chilly, enduring odor of bear.

2

I take a wolf’s rib and whittle
it sharp at both ends
and coil it up
and freeze it in blubber and place it out
on the fairway of the bears.
And when it has vanished
I move out on the bear tracks,
roaming in circles
until I come to the first, tentative, dark
splash on the earth.
And I set out
running, following the splashes
of blood wandering over the world.
At the cut, gashed resting places
I stop and rest,
at the crawl-marks
where he lay out on his belly
to overpass some stretch of bauchy ice
I lie out
dragging myself forward with bear-knives in my fists.

3

On the third day I begin to starve,
at nightfall I bend down as I knew I would
at a turd sopped in blood,
and hesitate, and pick it up,
and thrust it in my mouth, and gnash it down,
and rise
and go on running.

4

On the seventh day,
living by now on bear blood alone,
I can see his upturned carcass far out ahead, a scraggled,
steamy hulk,
the heavy fur riffling in the wind.
I come up to him
and stare at the narrow-spaced, petty eyes,
the dismayed
face laid back on the shoulder, the nostrils
flared, catching
perhaps the first taint of me as he
died.
I hack
a ravine in his thigh, and eat and drink,
and tear him down his whole length
and open him and climb in
and close him up after me, against the wind,
and sleep.

5

And dream
of lumbering flatfooted
over the tundra,
stabbed twice from within,
splattering a trail behind me,
splattering it out no matter which way I lurch,
no matter which parabola of bear-transcendence,
which dance of solitude I attempt,
which gravity-clutched leap,
which trudge, which groan.

6

Until one day I totter and fall—
fall on this
stomach that has tried so hard to keep up,
to digest the blood as it leaked in,
to break up
and digest the bone itself: and now the breeze
blows over me, blows off
the hideous belches of ill-digested bear blood
and rotted stomach
and the ordinary, wretched odor of bear,
blows across
my sore, lolled tongue a song
or screech, until I think I must rise up
and dance. And I lie still.

7

I awaken I think. Marshlights
reappear, geese
come trailing again up the flyway.
In her ravine under old snow the dam-bear
lies, licking
lumps of smeared fur
and drizzly eyes into shapes
with her tongue. And one
hairy-soled trudge stuck out before me,
the next groaned out,
the next,
the next,
the rest of my days I spend
wandering: wondering
what, anyway,
was that sticky infusion, that rank flavor of blood, that poetry, by which I lived?

Galway Kinnell

“The Bear” Analysis:

In “The Bear” by Galway Kinnell, the narrator of the poem is an experienced hunter. The first stanza, “put down my nose and know the chilly, enduring odor of bear,” gives off the vibe that this hunter has been hunting bears for many, many years. He knows where to find bears and exactly how to hunt them down. He has a passion for it. The description that Galway Kinnell uses to describe the hunter’s strong urge but even more powerful patience gives the reader a sense of the “hurry up and wait” technique that the hunter uses later in the poem. Also, in the first stanza, we can tell that Galway Kinnell has some sort of education or personal experience involving bear hunting or just hunting in general.

The second stanza follows the format of the first stanza very closely. Instead, it goes into depth about how long the hunter has been preparing for a large kill such as this bear. The hard work and all the effort that goes into this hurt is reflected in these lines. “I take a wolf’s rib and whittle it sharp at both ends and coil it up,” are a few lines that the author uses to give the reader a view of the outside work that is going on as we read. There is no mention of a gun in this poem. Personally, this gives me the feeling that the hunter is very traditional in his styles. Instead the hunter uses simpler tools, “with bear-knives in my fists.” I believe that a gun is an unfair advantage to the hunter and the man using a knife to hunt the bear shows me that he respects the bear.

In the third stanza, we see the relationship between the hunter and the bear grow furthermore. The hunter finds evidence of the bear’s recent presence, “at the crawl-marks where he lay out on his belly to overpass some stretch of bauchy ice, I lie out.” He literally rests where the bear itself rested. This shows closeness between the two. It’s almost like the hunter is trying to act as if he is the bear. He even crawls like the bear in this stanza, “I lie out/dragging myself forward.”

As the hunter goes on, he becomes more of the bear. Hunger starts taking over and he begins to rely solely on the bear blood. The thought itself makes me nauseous. I think that most people would turn home before relying on drinking blood so this shows how extremely dedicated this hunter is. I think from the author’s standpoint, the bear blood that the hunter is drinking is meant to give the reader an even stronger sense of the man slowly transforming himself into the bear. The bear’s blood is now flowing throughout the man’s body.

In the third stanza, the hunter slices the massive bear open and climbs inside of it. He then continues to eat the bear’s meat and drink the bear’s blood. He was not just hunting the bear for fun and games; it was for survival purposes. In a dream, the man and the bear are one. The man is inside the bear and when he awakens from the dream, the man feels the bear’s pain from dying a slow death. The hunter then sees another bear and with new energy it is almost as if both the bear and hunter have been brought back to life. Galway Kinnell now describes the an as a more bear like figure than a human figure. He begins questioning his way of life. Once again he is hungry, once again he will hunt, he will kill and then eat and then he will become hungry again. It is a never ending cycle. Its almost as if we can just start from the top of the poem again, the process that the man goes through is continuous.

Leave a comment

Filed under "The Bear"

“Saint Francis and the Sow”

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

Galway Kinnell

“Saint Francis and the Sow” Analysis:

Galway Kinnell’s “Saint Francis and the Sow” concentrates on multiple themes that involve innocence, guilt, beauty, and loveliness. At the beginning of the poem, Kinnell refers to “The bud” as “all things”. A bud is simply the first phase of a flowers life. However, buds can represent many different things, including the potential of beauty to come, pureness, and innocence. A bud is pure and I assume refers to infancy, which also implies that it’s primitive. The thoughtful claim in the first two lines of the poem suggest that the bud has ubiquitous characteristics. The type of characteristics that which influence some sort of substance on “all things”. That being said, it’s quite ironic how something as powerful as “The bud” sits on a line by itself in the poem. It’s as if the bud is actually susceptible. Also, included throughout the poem are senses and descriptions of the pig. “From the earthen snout all the way through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail”. Kinnell uses the sow to differentiate its spirit and body.

Certain lines from this poem regard quite a lot of people in this day in age of society. “Though sometimes it is necessary, to reteach a thing its loveliness”. The line suggests that it’s often necessary to remind others that there isn’t one standard of physical loveliness. Everything is lovely in its own unique way. A large portion of our culture is fixated on an absolutely wrong perception of what beauty actually is. This poem influences individuals to try and love themselves for who they are, not what someone else thinks you should be. “To put a hand on its brow, of the flower, and retell it in words and in touch, it is lovely”. Kinnell could not have done a better job reaffirming this to the reader with “Saint Francis and the Sow”.

Leave a comment

Filed under "Saint Francis and the Sow"

“Trust the Hours” (Wait)

Wait, for now.
Distrust everything, if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become lovely again.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again,
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. And the desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.

Wait.
Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a while and listen.
Music of hair,
Music of pain,
music of looms weaving all our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear,
the flute of your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.

–Galway Kinnell

“Trust the Hours” (Wait) Analysis:

“Trust the Hours” by Galway Kinnell makes the reader think about patience and what time can truly bring to one being. Galway Kinnell’s writing shows an optimistic way to see life. Time is precious and in lives today, time is either rushed through or slowly participated. Growing in life brings pain; feeling pain brings life. Pain is brought to one life and it can be seen as weakness is leaving the body. What holds us on to keep going day by day into our lives? What keeps us to believe time will heal us? You can see it as vice versa when things come down to it, Galway Kinnell explains it all in perfect words in this poem. As humans, we will feel regret, guilt, pleasure, and pain, but when the negatives go away, we look back and can laugh at the past.

Time is often seen as a value aspect of life which sometimes could be wasted on someone’s life. When people say time is everything, it really is. Time is used to trust someone, time is used to fall in love, time is used to watch something grow, time is used to see how much we can truly endure, time is used to measure when the pain will go away, and time is used to know when to awake and when to rest. Galway Kinnell says, “Personal events will become interesting again. Hair will become interesting. Pain will become interesting.” When we are going through a hardship, we do not often overlook what will happen when we finally overcome it. But Galway Kinnell says that eventually the events we go thought will be looked upon later on with joy and we will be able to learn from it. The analogy with hair brings that we can never know how long each strand is going to grow; some strands take longer than the other, but we can be compared to a strand of hair. Some people get affected by obstacles differently and they take different times to get healed. Pain will eventually be seen as interesting and not as a negative way when we see how we can mature from it.

Towards the end of the poem, it reads as a dialog where he’s going back and forth with himself. “Don’t go too early. You’re tired. But everyone’s tired. But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a while and listen. Music of hair, Music of pain, music of looms weaving all our loves again. Be there to hear it, it will be the only time, most of all to hear, the flute of your whole existence, rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.” The smallest or the biggest things can be portrayed to be looked at differently. When we hear music, do we listen to it deeply? When life brings us a ball of fire, we are not to let it completely destroy us. It will be exhausting and it will be overwhelming. Even though, we do get tired in life mentally, we still have that bit of energy to push us through. What we may do may not be perfect at first; moreover, even choirs have to rehearse to get better and better. We should be able to see things as a whole than looking at life through the outline of a picture.

Leave a comment

Filed under "Trust the Hours" (Wait)

Galway Kinnell reads The Deconstruction of Emily Dickinson

Leave a comment

Filed under Video