Kevin Goodan was born in Montana and raised on the Flathead Indian Reservation where his stepfather and brothers are tribal members. Goodan earned his BA from the University of Montana and worked as a firefighter for ten years with the U.S. Forest Service before receiving his MFA from University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2004.
Goodan’s first collection of poetry, In the Ghost-House Acquainted (2004), won The L.L. Winship/ PEN New England Award in 2005. In an interview with Goodan for Astrophil Press, poet Gregory Lawless noted the “breathtaking moments of solitude” of Goodan’s style, which “exhibits both pastoral eloquence and psychological intensity.” Goodan’s poems have been published in various journals, including Ploughshares, the Colorado Review, and The Mid-America Poetry Review. His second collection, Winter Tenor, was published in 2009.
Goodan has taught at the University of Connecticut, and has served as Visiting Writer at Wesleyan University. He currently teaches at Lewis-Clark State College and resides in Idaho.
Let the Voices is a book about the uneasiness of living with those whose lives have been cut short by the violence of poverty. Set in a trailer park on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana, the speaker in these poems gives voice to childhood companions often hungry, both literally and figuratively, for a kind of salvation.
Kevin Goodan's poems embody a quiet, incandescent fierceness, fueled by loss, but still able to seek and find a place to dwell, despite the upper level.
In Kevin Goodan's second collection, nature is equally cruel to all, and yearning is subsumed by an acceptance as terrible as it is beautiful. These poems are ecstatic, musical prayers, finding God in the details as well as the void.
These soulful lyrics use allusive imagery and ecumenical diction to consider the pastoral as a life to inhabit, not an artifact or idealized place to visit. Here, the specter of loss makes a world more precious--notions of home and love must be ever-evolving as colts are stillborn and pigeons slaughtered, apple blossoms frozen in spring and dead lambs burned in diesel fire.