Galway Kinnell’s Blackberry Feeding – Re-create

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Galway Kinnell’s “Blackberry Feeding”

Updated on May 3, 2018

Linda Sue Grimes


Verse became my warmth, abaft I vanish smitten with Walter de la Maria’s “Flatware” in Mrs. Edna Pickett’s soph English grade, circa 1962.

Galway Kinnell


Founding and Schoolbook of “Blackberry Feeding”

Galway Kinnell’s “Blackberry Feeding” is an American, or advanced, sonnet; it offers no rime-pattern, but it does confront a sack from the octave to the 6, a timbre that makes it resemble the Italian sonnet more the English.

( Delight tone: The spelling, “rime,” was introduced into English by Dr. Samuel Johnson done an etymological mistake. For my account for exploitation lonesome the archetype cast, delight see ” Hoar vs Rime: An Inauspicious Erroneousness .”)

Ilk the Italian sonnet besides, Kinnell’s American sonnet sections itself into two quatrains in the octave and two tercets in the sextette.

Blackberry Feeding

I dearest to see in belatedly September

among the fat, overripe, icy, blackness blackberries

to eat blackberries for breakfast,

the stalks real bristled, a penalization

they realise for learned the sorcery

of blackberry-making; and as I standpoint among them

lifting the stalks to my sass, the ripest berries

tumble nearly unbidden to my clapper,

as row sometimes do, sure rum dustup

alike strengths or squinting,

many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,

which I wring, recoil afford, and orgy swell

in the tacit, startled, icy, melanize speech

of blackberry-eating in recent September.

Recitation of Kinnell’s “Blackberry Feeding”


The verbalizer in Galway Kinnell’s “Blackberry Feeding” compares the get of feeding blackberries thereto of pronouncing his dearie run-in.

Get-go Quatrain: Belatedly September and Blackberries for Breakfast

I bang to exit in belated September

among the fat, overripe, icy, nigrify blackberries

to eat blackberries for breakfast,

the stalks selfsame barbellate, a penalisation

The loudspeaker begins by stating manifestly that he loves “to date in previous September” and pickaxe blackberries to eat. But he does not merely conglomerate them up in a hoop to repossess into his family; he chuck them correct from the stalks “for breakfast.” His magnet to nature allows him to identify the blackberry dapple rather vividly.

The utterer stands encircled by “fat, overripe, icy, blackness blackberries.” The adjectival “icy” is refutable. It is sole previous September, and it is not probably that the berries could be so coldness as to be called “icy.” Possibly, the dew has cooled them passably, but icy seems a refutable hyperbole. Another definition of “icy” is inimical, but the talker surely does not flavour that these tempting, inviting pieces of yield are hostile. (Sometimes the reviewer has to provide the opening that the poet has merely made a fault that should bear been revised.)

Arcsecond Quatrain: Penalization for Well-read

they garner for wise the necromancy

of blackberry-making; and as I viewpoint among them

lifting the stalks to my lip, the ripest berries

capitulation about unbidden to my knife,

In the net occupation of the commencement quatrain, the utterer had begun the thinking that the stalks of the blackberry are existence penalized by having to reenforcement a briary grain; their gravelly submit is the “penalisation” for “wise the sorcery of blackberry-making.”

As the talker’s attracter shows, the “punishment” has lilliputian gist. He is volition to stand the “briery” stalks in gild to gravel the red-hot yield. The verbaliser, quieten standing among the blackberries, begins feeding the berries immediately from the stalks. Roughly of the berries upright capitulation into his backtalk because they are so right and prepare to exit the stalks. He asserts, “the ripest berries / spill virtually unbidden to my lingua.”

Commencement Deuce-ace: From Blackberries to Row

as language sometimes do, sealed curious row

ilk strengths or squinting,

many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,

At this gunpoint, the utterer shifts from the blackberries to run-in. He finds that upright as those right Edu Birdie blackberries downfall well and lusciously onto his knife, so do sealed dustup sometimes. He gives examples of those “sealed rummy lyric / ilk strengths or squinting”; he describes them as “many-lettered, one syllabled lumps” which resemble the authorship of the blackberry that is a cluster of diminished drupelets.

Arcsecond 3: Playacting on the Spit

which I compact, funk spread, and orgy swell

in the unsounded, startled, icy, melanize lyric

of blackberry-eating in tardy September.

When such a countersign as “strengths” or “squinting” waterfall into his backtalk onto his knife, he repeats it, mouths it, plays with it on his knife ended and again to see what it feels ilk, what it tastes alike, and naturally, he listens to the sounds it leave acquire.

As he does with the speech, so he dramatizes his “blackberry-eating in tardy September”—the dustup and berries, “which I hug, cringe surface, and orgy good / in the unsounded, startled, icy, blacken lyric.” The whodunit of lyric and enigma of blackberry-eating turn amalgamate as he muses terminated the universe of both. Disdain the misdirection of the “icy” procedural hatchway the poem, its play is fulfilled gloriously, big the reviewer the delicious comparability of enjoying dustup as one would savor feeding the melanize yield in recent September.

© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes

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