“God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins

3.13.09

From the Favorite Poem Project video archive, here is Stanley Kunitz reading “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Kunitz (1905–2006) was a poet in New York, NY.

Kunitz:

“Back in 1926, I was roaming through the stacks of the Widener Library at Harvard. When I was walking through the section on English poetry of the nineteenth century, I just at random lifted my arm and picked a book off the shelf. It was attributed to an author I was not familiar with—Gerard Manley Hopkins. The page that I turned to and began to read was a page devoted to a poem called ‘God’s Grandeur.’ I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It really shook me, because it was unlike anything else I had ever read before. Suddenly that whole book became alive to me. It was filled with such a lyric passion; it was so fierce and eloquent, wounded and yet radiant, that I knew that it was speaking directly to me and giving me a hint of the kind of poetry that I would be dedicated to for the rest of my life.”

Related: The Favorite Poem Project is dedicated to celebrating, documenting and encouraging poetry’s role in Americans’ lives. Robert Pinsky, the 39th Poet Laureate of the United States, founded the Favorite Poem Project shortly after the Library of Congress appointed him to the post in 1997.