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profile/james-galvin.md
Published: Wed Oct 15 1975
Wosene Worke Kosrof, The Inventor V (detail), 2022, acrylic on linen. Courtesy of Sullivan Goss Gallery, Santa Barbara, California
Take Utah

Take Utah for instance.
There is a land that is content
with the lot of continual dying,
content with an occasional cactus
blossom which is like a gasp.

Utah usually lies open
mouthed, barely breathing under
splintered columns, heroic bones.
Their shadows are like willow
leaves on the land.

The treasure that lies
hidden among the arches,
buried beneath the dry wash
is not Uranium or even water.
It is water’s cool breath.
It is a ghost that floods
the chapped arroyo;
that nurtures match-like
spires sun bound;
that soothes Utah’s body,
bathes it in sandstone.

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James Galvin’s most recent books are Resurrection Update: Collected Poems 1975–1997 (Copper Canyon, 1997), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Lenore Marshal Poetry Prize, and a novel, Fencing the Sky (Holt, 1999). His honors include a “Discovery”/The Nation award, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEA. He lives in Laramie,Wyoming, where he has worked as a rancher part of the year all his life, and in Iowa City, where he is a member of the permanent faculty of the University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop. (updated 2001)

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