Selected Poems by Galway Kinnell

Selected Poems

Galway Kinnell

Kinnell is in love with the richness of language but also obsessed with the minutae of life, so the combination is both exhilarating and instructive - I feel like I learn something with every poem. Morality and the momentousness of life lurks in each poem, so it's definitely not a 'light' read.


Fishes are nailed to the wood,
The fishmonger stands like Christ, nailing them to
the wood, He scrapes the knife up the grain, the
scales fly,
He unnails them, reverses them, nails them again,
Scrapes and the scales fly. He lops off the heads,
Shakes out the guts as if they did not belong in the
first place, And they are flesh for the first time in
their lives.

from The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ into the New World

  • The Metamorphosis (short story) by Franz Kafka
  • The Dead and the Living by Sharon Olds