Galway Kinnell is one of America's most important poets. "Strong is Your Hold" is his first new collection since his "Bloodaxe Selected Poems" (2001), which updated his 1982 "Selected Poems", winner of Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. In the citation for the 2003 National Book Award, the judges called Kinnell 'America's preeminent visionary' whose work 'greets each new age with rapture and abundance and sets him at the table with his mentors: Rilke, Whitman, Frost.' The title of his eleventh collection comes from Walt Whitman's 'Last Invocation': 'Strong is your hold, O mortal flesh, / Strong is your hold, O love.' In this striking and varied new book, he gives us poems of intermingling with the natural world, love poems and evocations of sexuality, poems about his father, his children, poet friends, poet heroes and mythic figures. There is also anger and sorrow at human destructiveness, and "Strong Is Your Hold" includes "When the Towers Fell", his stunning requiem for those who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11 in direct view of his New York apartment.
Kinnell has said: "What troubles me is a sense that so many things lovely and precious in our world seem to be dying out. Perhaps poetry will be the canary in the mine-shaft warning us of what's to come" and "Maybe the best we can do is do what we love as best we can". "Strong Is Your Hold" is a powerful testament to Galway Kinnell's loving view of the world. "There are few others writing today in whose work we feel so strongly the full human presence. His language tantalises us with a foretaste of meaning, an underlying emotional logic that recalls Whitman's I am the man, I suffer'd, I was there. Like all good poetry, his nest poems attract and mesmerise us before we really understand them" - Morris Dickstein, "New York Times" Book Review.
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. An updated and expanded edition was published as Selected Poems by Bloodaxe in Britain in 2001. He has translated works of Bonnefoy, Goll, Lorca, Rilke and Villon. His translation of Yves Bonnefoy's On the Motion and Immobility of Douve was published in the Bloodaxe Contemporary French Poets series in 1992. Galway Kinnell divides his time between Vermont and New York City, where he is the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing at New York University. He is currently a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets.