Strong is Your Hold
Galway Kinnell
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Buy *Strong is Your Hold: Poems* by Galway Kinnell online

Strong is Your Hold: Poems
Galway Kinnell
Houghton Mifflin
Hardcover & CD
80 pages
November 2006
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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In his eleventh book of poetry after more than a decade, Kinell covers a variety of topics, each introspective and thoughtful, representative of a body of excellent work. The title is taken from Walt Whitman’s “Last Invocation,” and the collection includes a moving requiem for 9/11: “When the Towers Fell,” a reminder of the world’s trauma on that terrible day.

Death is a familiar, accepted with a particular grace that comes from many years of living, marking the seasons, the comings and goings of loved ones:

“This morning did she wake
in the dark, almost used up
by her year of pain?

When her room filled
with daylight, how could she not
have slipped under a spell, with him
next to her, his arms around her…”
                (How Could She Not: In Memory of Jane Kenyon 1947-1995)
Not feared, but bartered with, death is yet another stage of the process of life, a bridge:
“If I die before you…

I will cross over into you
and ask you to carry
not only your own memories
but mine too until you
too lie down and erase us
both together into oblivion.”                 (Promissory Note)
Kinnell plumbs past, present, love, desire and memory, a poet’s perception of perfect and imperfect moments:
“Once when we were playing
hide-and-seek and it was time
to go home, the rest gave up…

I remained hidden as a matter
of honor until the moon rose.”
                (Hide-and-Seek 1933)
The requiem for the unimaginable 9/11 is painful, poignant and forever touched with the images of loss and disbelief, images burned into the nation’s psyche:
“In our minds the glassy blocks succumb over and over
slamming down floor by floor into themselves, blowing up as if in reverse…

As each tower goes down it concentrates into itself, transforms itself
Infinitely slowly into a black hole…”
                (When the Towers Fell)
Long-awaited by faithful fans, Strong Is Your Hold does not disappoint.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Luan Gaines, 2006

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