Galway Kinnell - Community of Writers at Squaw Valley

Galway Kinnell (1927–2014) The Community of Writers morns the loss of Galway Kinnell who directed our Poetry Program from 1985 until 2002. He was the author of ten books of poetry, including The Book of Nightmares, When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone, Imperfect Thirst, and most recently A New Selected Poems and Strong is Your Hold. In 1982, his Selected Poems won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and in 2002, he was awarded the Frost Medal by the Poetry Society of America. In 2010 he received the Wallace Stevens Prize from the Academy of American Poets. He taught for many years at New York University, where he was Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing.

All of those who knew him and worked with him will remember what a large and splendid presence he was. The Squaw Valley poetry program, as we’ve practiced it since 1985 was mostly his conception, along with Sharon Olds's, and it reflects his attitude toward poetry. He believed passionately in the work and in sharing it, which for him involved living life as completely as possible and wrestling it into language. His enormous vitality, his warmth, his humor, a certain ferocity in his character (often visible on a tennis court or ball field) made his presence among us seem always large and splendid. He is going to be missed terribly.