Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Kinnell mss., 1936-1980, consist of the correspondence, writings and other papers of poet and professor Galway Kinnell, 1927- . Kinnell was born in Providence, Rhode Island, received his BA from Princeton University and his MA from the University of Rochester in New York. His teaching career began at Alfred University in New York where he taught English. Since then he has held professorships at universities literally throughout the world, from Columbia University to the University of Grenoble in France and from the University of Iran, Teheran to the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. He has been a visiting professor or poet at such distinguished universities and colleges as Sarah Lawrence, Queens College of CUNY, Brandeis University, Skidmore College and the University of California, Irvine. He was visiting writer at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and resident writer at Deya Institute, Mallorca, Spain. In addition to his teaching duties, Kinnell has traveled extensively giving poetry readings.

Kinnell's poetry began appearing in poetry magazines and anthologies in 1953. In 1960 his first volume of poetry, What a Kingdom It Was, was published. By 1980 ten books of his poetry had been published. Although most prolific as a poet, Kinnell's other published works include: a novel, Black Light; a children's book, How the Alligator Missed Breakfast; illustrations for a book of poetry by Pati Hill; and translations of such writers as Yvan Goll, Rene Hardy, and Francois Villon.

The quality of his work over the years has brought to Kinnell many awards and prizes, such as the Ingram Merrill Foundation award, an Amy Lowell traveling fellowship, the London Translation Prize, and the Shelley Prize from the Poetry Society of America. Not least among these is the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his work Selected Poems. Among his papers are many drafts of the poems found in this volume. In general, the correspondence concerns Kinnell's teaching and poetry readings. Through the exchange of writings, advice and criticism was sought among peers, and this relationship with his colleagues is also reflected in the letters. Correspondents include: Ai, Charles Greenleaf Bell, Stephen Berg, Nell Walden Blaine, Robert Bly, Yves Bonnefoy, Daniel Joseph Boorstin, Henry Braun, David G. Brooks, Gwendolyn Brooks, Paul Carroll, Hayden Carruth, Jane Cooper, Nicholas Crome, Anne (Buchanan) Crosby, Jacques de Spelberch, Babette Deutsch, William DeVoti, James Dickey, Stephen Dunning, Richard Eberhart, William Oliver Everson, Charles Munro Fishman, Kimon Friar, Robert Frost, Jonathan Galassi, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Haskell Glauber, Claire Goll, Yvonne Hagen, Donald Hall, Oakley Maxwell Hall, Pauline Hanson, Pati Hill, Bert Gerald Hornback, Ted Hughes, Rolfe Humphries, David Ignatow, Erica Jong, Carolyn Kizer, Etheridge Knight, Elizabeth Kray, Stanley Jasspon Kunitz, David Kuhn, James Laughlin, Denise Levertov, Philip Levine, John Logan, William Stanley Merwin, Robert Mezey, Frederick Morgan, Howard Moss, Howard Nemerov, Joyce Carol Oates, Geraldine Page, Allen Planz, Arabel J. Porter, Alfred A. Poulin, Henry Rago, David Ray, Adrienne Cecile Rich, Macha Louis Rosenthal, Ned Rorem, Buffy Sainte Marie, Jacqueline Sunier-Ollier, Karl Jay Shapiro, William De Witt Snodgrass, Lester Alan Standiford, George Starbuck, Marion Kingston Stocking, Mark Strand, Travis L. Summersgill, John Tagliabue, Virginia Wade, David Wagoner, Chad Walsh, Galen Williams, Jonathan Chamberlain Williams, William Carlos Williams, James Arlington Wright, and Paul Zweig.

The collection includes countless drafts and worksheets of his writings as well as page proofs, galleys, book production material and printed reviews of his published works. There is also a large section of writings by other poets and authors.

Present also are writings from Kinnell's childhood years, as well as class notes, papers, and lecture material covering his academic career.

The collection concludes with a miscellaneous section which contains, among other items, material concerning his activities with both the civil rights movement and anti-war protests of the 1960's and early 70's.

A detailed finding aid is available

Also see the Guide to the Galway Kinnell Papers.

Collection size: 16,500 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.