James Galvin (poet)

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James Galvin (born 1951 in Chicago) is an American poet.[1] He has published six collections of poetry, most recently As Is (Copper Canyon Press, 2009), "X: Poems," and Resurrection Update, Collected Poems, 1975-1997 (Copper Canyon Press, 1997) which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and the Poet’s Prize. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed prose book The Meadow (Holt, 1992) and a novel, Fencing the Sky (Holt, 1999).

In 2005, Galvin along with Barry Lopez, Peter Matthiessen, and Terry Tempest Williams was hailed in Mark Tredinnick's The Land's Wild Music (Trinity University Press, 2005) in which Tredinnick analyzed how the landscape nourished and developed Galvin's writing.

For more than 30 years, Galvin has been crafting poems that convey a profound sense of place, capturing both the harshness and beauty of the rural American West. In particular he vividly reveals a western landscape, a homeland, that is often devastating and, seemingly, on the verge of blowing away (The soil of Oklahoma/ Is leaving again./ Heaven is west of where it falls.) Galvin’s vision and voice are ennobled by a profound sense of obligation to the hard-bitten survivors of this eroding landscape.[citation needed]

The Meadow blends fact and fiction into a haunting story depicting the hundred-year history of a high country meadow along the Colorado–Wyoming border. The 100 brief vignettes are sympathetic portrayals of men and women—rugged individualists and family ranchers—living in symbiosis with this beautiful but unforgiving land.

He has a home, some land, and some horses outside of Tie Siding, Wyoming, and he is a member of the permanent faculty of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, at the University of Iowa. Among the many published poets he has mentored at the UI are Dan Beachy-Quick, Michele Glazer, Matthea Harvey, Juan Filipe Herrera, Mark Levine, Geoffrey G. O'Brien, D. A. Powell and Robyn Schiff.


Primary: Graland Country Day School, class of 1966, in Denver, CO

B.A., Antioch College (1974)
M.F.A., University of Iowa (1977)




  • As Is (Copper Canyon Press, 2009)
  • X: poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2003)
  • Resurrection Update: Collected Poems 1975-1997 (Copper Canyon Press, 1997), which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize
  • Lethal Frequencies (Copper Canyon Press, 1995)
  • Elements (1988)
  • God's Mistress (1984), which was selected for the National Poetry Series by Marvin Bell
  • Imaginary Timber (1980)
  • Dear Miss Emily


  • The Meadow (Holt, 1992)
  • Fencing the Sky (Holt, 1999)


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