James Galvin


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Though poet James Galvin hails from the Mountain West, he’s content to stay in Iowa City, where he teaches in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. “I wouldn’t trade the students at the Workshop for any physical location or any other institution,” he says in this On the Fly interview recorded in 2011, “In what I do, I have the best job in the world. So I stay…They are the future of American poetry.”

Galvin talks about the ways in which he tries to encourage his students and help them in the difficult endeavor of writing. “I believe in originality,” he says. “And I think that’s all that matters. I’m not interested in schools and movements. I’m just interested in how much horsepower is under their hood.”

Galvin, who earned an MFA from the University of Iowa in 1977, is the author of seven collections of poetry, including Resurrection Update: Collected Poems 1975-1997, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.

As he says in the interview, he is “guilty of two books of prose, as well,” including 1992’s The Meadow and 1999’s Fencing the Sky.

He has garnered a “Discovery”/The Nation Award and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award. He has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.