Galway Kinnell & Mark Helprin.

Bookslut has a wonderful commentary up on one of my favorite books of all-time: A Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin. Besides being a magical story gorgeously told, this book seriously altered the trajectory of my life. The article on Bookslut by Barbara J. King is far more articulate than I’ll ever be.


Galway’s reading last night was indeed packed, and in fact we had to turn people away at the door because we’d reached our maximum capacity. Some folks had wisely come very early to stand in line, but the tardy were out of luck. The Collected Poets Series committee works really hard to present these free poetry readings, so while we’re sad anybody missed out, I think it’s great when an overflow crowd shows up for poetry!

Galway read wonderfully, of course, and shared the “stage” with his 2 grandchildren for one poem as they provided the refrain — “Ha ha! Ha ha!” I think it was. They did a great job. He took a break about halfway through to take questions, preferring that a reading end on poetry, not poetry chatter. He was funny, self-deprecating, and once again displayed his proclivity for endless revision: as he read one poem, he stopped, trying to decide which version to read, the one on the page or the one in the margins. He decided, when he was done, that he probably had read us the lesser “revisioning.” I can’t imagine many writers confessing that!

He closed, as I will this post, with this short poem:


Whatever happens. Whatever
what is is what
I want. Only that. But that.

2 responses to “Galway Kinnell & Mark Helprin.”

  1. I’ve only seen Kinnell read once, when I was a freshman in college, at the Dodge Poetry Festival, but it was truly amazing — thank you for reminding me, and for posting this beautiful short poem!

  2. You are most welcome!

    And should you ever make your way to western MA, let me know as far in advance as you can — perhaps a CPS reading is in your future??

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