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Hell’s Hot Breath: Galway Kinnell at Black Mountain College – Movie Screening and Discussion with Laura Hope-Gill

  • The Block on Biltmore 39 South Market Street Asheville, NC, 28801 United States (map)

Pulitzer NC Mountains


Pulitzer-Prize and National Book Award recipient, Galway Kinnell, attended Black Mountain College during the summer session of 1947. Seeking “experiential learning” in contrast to Princeton’s ‘preceptorial model” as he mentions in his application letter, he discovered a world of women and wilderness—and also an awakening, one that only the Jim Crow South could offer, that would alter his worldview forever. The fifteen-minute film presents the poet’s transformation from student to witness in an environment that removed insulation from the realities of the world while shoring up his strength to speak of them. During the discussion, poet and historian Laura Hope-Gill presents her insights into her research on the poet’s attendance at Black Mountain College and the impact of the College’s educational models on social justice awakening. This interactive evening invites audience members to reflect on their own initiations into witness and social action.

Collaborator: The Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Asheville