Galway Kinnell


Galway Kinnell (1927-2014) was a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning American poet. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Kinnell received his BA from Princeton University, his MA from the University of Rochester, and was the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship. He has published numerous collections of poems and as well as a novel and his works address a variety of subjects from social commentary to nature to death. Kinnell was the poet laureate of Vermont from 1989-1993 and formerly served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Source

Two Set Out on Their Journey

We sit side by side,

brother and sister, and read

the book of what will be, while a breeze

blows the pages over—

desolate odd, cheerful even,

and otherwise. When we come

to our own story, the happy beginning,

the ending we don’t know yet,

the ten thousand acts

encumbering the days between,

we will read every page of it.

If an ancestor has pressed

a love-flower for us, it will lie hidden

between pages of the slow going,

where only those who adore the story

ever read. When the time comes

to shut the book and set out,

we will take childhood’s laughter

as far as we can into the days to come,

until another laughter sounds back

from the place where our next bodies

will have risen and will be telling

tales of what seemed deadly serious once,

offering to us oldening wayfarers 

the light heart, now made of time

and sorrow, that we started with.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Childhood & Coming of Age


Literary Devices:


The repetition of similar vowel sounds that takes place in two or more words in proximity to each other within a line; usually refers to the repetition of internal vowel sounds in words that do not end the same.