The Black Arts Shouldn’t be So Much Fun


When we read Galway Kinnell’s poetry, we often come back to one of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ odd phrases: There lives the dearest freshness deep down things. Both poets live in a “world charged“, and both find great joy in the sensuous feel of words. Here’s Galway Kinnell at his most sensuous — and seemingly having enormous fun:

Blackberry Eating

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.

Galway Kinnell, from A New Selected Poems

For more on Galway Kinnell (& Gerard Manley Hopkins), here’s a few volumes from the Land Library’s poetry shelves!

selected poemsstrong is your holdmortal beautyhopkins
A New Selected Poems by Galway Kinnell, Strong is Your Hold by Galway Kinnell, Mortal Beauty, God’s Grace: Major Poems and Spiritual Writings by Gerard Manley Hopkins, Selected Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins


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