Fall 1985 • Vol. VII No. 4 A PoemOctober 1, 1985 |

Last Holy Fragrance

    In Memoriam James Wright When by first light I went outfrom the last house on the chemin de Riouto start up the cistern pump, there he sat,mumbling into his notebook at an upstairs windowwhile the valley awakened: a cockcalled full force, a car's gearsmisshifted, a dog made some feeble yaps.The next winter in Mount Sinai, voiceless,tufted with the shavelessness that dragglesfrom chins on skid row in Saint Paul,Minnesota, he handed me the poemof that Vence morning. Many times since,I have read it and each time I have heardhis voice saying it under my voice,and in fact in those auditoriumsthat don't let you "hear yourself," sometimesI hear only his voice, edged, pitying,surprising language with the mourningthat goes on inside it, for what it namesmaking my eyes "pop" a little, perhapsshowing the whites, as his used to,when the poems were at their saddest.But poetry sings past even the sadnessthat begins it: the drone of poetry readingsor the mutterings coming from poets

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Galway Kinnell 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.

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The Auction

By Galway Kinnell

    In Memoriam James Wright When by first light I went outfrom the last house on the chemin de Riouto start up the cistern pump, there he sat,mumbling into his notebook […]

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