A Poem For Friday


Dish poetry editor Alice Quinn writes:

The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Galway Kinnell died last week. He loved the poems of his predecessors, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, whose line from “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” we post in his honor.

“I, chanter of pains and joys, uniter of here and hereafter.”

“Blackberry Eating” by Galway Kinnell (1927-2014):

I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry making; and as I stand among them
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
like strengths or squinched or broughamed,
many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
in the silent, startled, icy, black language
of blackberry eating in late September.

(From A New Selected Poems © 2000 by Galway Kinnell. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Photo by Jared Smith)