Home Arts & Culture Galway Kinnell dies from leukemia aged 87

Galway Kinnell dies from leukemia aged 87

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Poet Galway Kinnell has died at his home in Vermont after suffering from leukemia, his wife Brabara announced. He was 87.

Galway Kinnell, who died on October 28, was among the most celebrated poets of his time and wrote more than a dozen books spanning five decades.

He won the Pulitzer for his 1982 book Selected Poems.

The collection also won the National Book Award for Poetry, sharing the honor with contemporary Charles Wright.

Galway Kinnell’s other best-known works include The Book of Nightmares, inspired by the horror of the Vietnam war, When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone and Mortal Acts, Mortal Words.

One his most famous poems is The Bear, telling of a hunter who, after consuming animal blood and excrement, comes to identify with his prey.

Galway Kinnell was among the most celebrated poets of his time and wrote more than a dozen books spanning five decades

Galway Kinnell was among the most celebrated poets of his time and wrote more than a dozen books spanning five decades

Other notable poems include After Making Love We Hear Footsteps and When the Towers Fell, about the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York.

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, on February 1, 1927, Galway Kinnell was the son of immigrants from Scotland and Ireland.

He attended Princeton University, where he was roommates with future poet laureate W.S. Merwin, who introduced him to the works of W.B. Yeats.

W. S. Merwin told Associated Press he and Galway Kinnell had been “like brothers” and remembered his friend as a “very generous soul”.

Galway Kinnell’s breakthrough poem came in 1960, with The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ Into the New World – a 14-part work about Avenue C in Manhattan and the people that walked the street.

He served as poet laureate for Vermont from 1989 to 1993, and moved there in 2005.


The Academy of American Poets later gave him the Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement in 2010.

Galway Kinnell married his first wife, Spanish translator Ines Delgado de Torres, in 1965 and had two children, Fergus and Maud, but divorced 20 years later. He married second wife Barbara in 1997.

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