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When One Has Lived A Long Time Alone By Galway ...

Frost claimed that the poem came to him and he wrote it all at once, but an early draft of the poem shows that it was reworked several times.More than 20 years later, in 1947, a young man named N. Arthur Bleau attended a reading Frost was giving at Bowdoin College. Bleau asked Frost which poem was his favorite, and Frost replied that he liked them all equally. But after the reading was finished, the poet invited Bleau up to the stage and told him a story: that in truth, his favorite was "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." He had written the poem based on his own life, he said. One year on December 22nd, the winter solstice, he realized that he and his wife wouldn't be able to afford Christmas presents for his children. Frost wasn't the most successful farmer, but he scrounged up some produce from his farm, hitched up his horse, and took a wagon into town to try and sell enough produce to buy some gifts. He couldn't sell a single thing, and as evening came and it began to snow, he had to head home. He was almost home when he became overwhelmed with the shame of telling his family about his failure, and as if it sensed his mood, the horse stopped, and Frost cried. He told Bleau that he "bawled like a baby." Eventually, the horse jingled its bells, and Frost collected himself and headed back home to his family. His daughter Lesley agreed that this was the inspiration for the poem, and said that she remembered the horse, whose name was Eunice, and that her father told her: "A man has as much right as a woman to a good cry now and again. The snow gave me shelter; the horse understood and gave me the time."

When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone by Galway ...


Since his first collection,What a Kingdom It Was, 1960, Galway Kinnell's voice has, over time, settled into a calmer, self-assured tone. "The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ Into the New World," was a long rhapsodic poem in fourteen sections which strove for epic proportion. In his first full-length collection published in 1960 and republished in a 1974 collection of that title -- it was full of variant voice, and differing poetic techniques. It embodied an exhilarating observation of the life around him on the lower East Side of The City. It was passionate and often sardonic in tone -- aware of the absurdities of urban civilization. That tone can still be found between more measured passages of his later transcendent poems.

The current collection: A New Selected Poems , 2000, follows by eight years, Selected Poems, 1982 -- which won The Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award -- and comes after the publication of four ensuing collections: The Past, 1985, When One Has Lived A Long Time Alone, 1990, Three Books, 1993; and Imperfect Things, 1994. The new book allows us to graze through the mutations in Kinnell's poetic articulation. Though distinctive in voice, there are several poems with a Whitmanesque cadence -- such as "The Road Between Here and There," from The Past, published in 1985, close to the period when Kinnell was editing The Essential Whitman, published in 1987. For the most part Kinnell's lyrics are composed of long, single stanzas. Whatever form Kinnell adopts, he does it justice and makes it his own -- always grappling with earthy and full-bodied themes. Kinnell has been accused of harboring "bathos and heavy-handed lust" in some of his poems, but no doubt by lesser men who can't understand a passionate desire for women and who have not participated so fully in nature's awful beauty. There is none of the, stylish -- in some quarters -- solipsistic world of effete and decadent experiment operating in Kinnell's writing. He has real things to say about an actual world of flesh and bone and excrement, full of nature's glories and horrors, always viewed from within the reality of our gutsy, animal being, our need to survive from the land and its vulnerable animal life, a world poignant with transient beauty and helpless mortality.

Recently, the critic, Marjorie Perloff -- in a symposium held at Cooper Union by the Poetry Society of America on "Poetry Criticism: "What is it for?" -- made a blatant pronouncement saying how tired she is of poetry that isn't experimental or different.As we all know she is a champion of Charles Bernstein's "Language School," now swiftly becoming passe-- as most of the poetry it produced had nothing to grip the soul and spirit for long. That short-lived school, claiming to explore new territory, was merely an imitation of the same experiments that more venerable poets like Jackson McClough or Armand Schwerner, as well as John Ashbery, had already explored, soon followed by Richard Kostelanetz and many others. Kostelanetz magazine, Assembling, published through the seventies had enlisted every sort of language experiment in its democratic style. Anyone was allowed to reproduce an experimental work and send it to Kostelanetz for inclusion. He would assemble and distribute the pages, and thus Assembling was open to every sort of experiment with language early on. Wright, Bly and Kinnell were then busy exploring Lorca, and Latin American writing, and involved in the "Deep Image" school. Bly's magazine titled The Sixties and then, The Seventies explored the idea of incorporating deep symbolic imagery that could speak volumes in one line. This idea of poetic creativity is still alive, well and kicking across the board of poetic endeavor, even as the "Language School" along with Bernstein's convoluted conceptualism is boring many. Yet, Marjorie Perloff claims that no one knows who James Wright is anymore and no one reads the old boys, Kinnell, Bly these days.

GK: Ah, well, it was mostly that I found it unbearable to live in a segregated society. In my childhood in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, I wasn't really aware of the prevalence of segregation because, though practically everybody was an immigrant, they were almost all immigrants from Europe. In my childhood I saw very few people of color. In my grammar school, there was one Jew. I learned about segregation later when I traveled about the country and spent time in the South. I soon realized that segregation wasn't confined to the South but pervaded the entire country.

Unlike the trees of home, which continuously evaporate along the skyline, these trees have been enticed down into eternity here. No one knows which gods they enshrine. Does it matter? Awareness of ignorance is as devout as knowledge of knowledge. Or more so. Even though not knowing, sometimes we weep, from surplus of gratitude, even though knowing, twice already on earth sparkled a flash, a white flash.

SIDELIGHTS: Galway Kinnell is an award-winning poet whose work over four decades has sought to establish the significance of life through daily human experience: the poetic, the cosmic, the social, the cultural, and the individual. New York Times Book Review essayist Morris Dickstein called Kinnell "one of the true master poets of his generation and a writer whose career exemplifies some of what is best in contemporary poetry." Dickstein added: "There are few others writing today in whose work we feel so strongly the full human presence." Robert Langbaum observed in the American Poetry Review that Kinnell,"at a time when so many poets are content to be skillful and trivial, speaks with a big voice about the whole of life." As Al Haley noted of Kinnell on the Abiline University Web site, "His poetry is understandable, and at the same time amazingly lyrical, energetic, and inventive. He has lived long enough to have produced a significant body of work that makes a lasting contribution to American poetry."

A New Selected Poems, a retrospective collection, focuses on the poetry of the 1960s and 1970s, eras when, according to a Publishers Weekly contributor, Kinnell's poetry "typically [developed] . . . numbered sections full of dark imagery." Bernard Dick, in World Literature Today, noted the inclusion of the eleven related poems from When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone as the "real triumph" of this collection, saying that "never has loneliness been so seductive, so strangely inviting, so desirable, and at the same time so horrifying." Of Kinnell's later poetry, Ned Balbo, writing in Antioch Review, characterized them as "more relaxed and idiomatic, more apt to very tone, and frequently erotic." Balbo pointed to "Last Gods" as an example, saying that in this verse Kinnell "discovers the sacred element in a sexual encounter."

When an individual is lonely, he seeks affection from any creature. The poem contains of ten stanzas that beings and ends with the title, as a refrain. The repetition structure of the poem emphasize on the loneliness affecting the character and how he seeks love from any creature that he comes across. He becomes protective of every creature despite the fact that it can harm him because he requires their presence to negate his feeling of loneliness. The exposure of loneliness has taught the character to tolerate and value other creatures which could not have happened if he had other people to interact. When the poem beings the narrator shows the readers gentle images of tolerance and protection in the face of loneliness. The narrator says "when one has lived a long time alone," one is not in a rush to "strike the mosquito," (line 1-3) instead, one carefully takes to a safe place a toad trapped in a pit or a bird locked in in a house. These protective and gentleness actions are inspired by is loneliness and isolation. The person the narrator talks about has been living alone for a long time, and now he feels isolated from other creatures. He desires for contact with creatures such as birds, mosquitos, and even snakes. He is desperate to form a close relationship with them and he persuades them to be his friends by his tender feelings.

Relationship is established when one learn and understand the other party. The speaker is reader to help the other creates to show them that he cares for their well-being "carries him to the grass, without minding the poisoned urine he slicks his body with" he goes to an extent of risking his life to establish a close relationship with the creature. The speaker wants other creatures to be happy and free and this is demonstrated when he releases the swift outside. It flies up like "a life line flung up at reality" (Line 12). The speaker forms a relationship with creatures who belong other species as close observation leads to close identification. He now connects with dangerous creatures such as a snake who clamps his split, orange tongue between his teeth, "letting the gaudy tips show, as children do / when concentrating, and as very likely / one does oneself, without knowing it / when one has lived a long time alone." (Line 23). The speaker is not afraid of the snake and watches it as it undergo ecdysis, and renew its skin. He does not fear its poisonous bite and when he sees it he rap it by the head until it stop stricken its divided tongue. He does not regret demonstrating his brevity and wholeness, loss and renewal at are related with death and eternal life. 041b061a72


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