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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
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RICHARD TILLINGHAST

 

Richard Tillinghast

RICHARD TILLINGHAST is a poet, translator and critic from Memphis, Tennessee, who has lived for several years in rural County Tipperary. He is the author of eight books of poetry—most recently The New Life, 2008. A book of essays called Finding Ireland: a Poet’s Explorations of Irish Literature and Culture, from the University of Notre Dame Press, was also published in 2008. His poetry and essays have appeared frequently in Irish and American periodicals and his book of criticism, Poetry and What Is Real, was published in 2004 by the University of Michigan Press, which also brought out Robert Lowell’s Life and Work: Damaged Grandeur, a critical memoir; Lowell was Tillinghast’s teacher at Harvard. With his daughter, Julia Clare Tillinghast, he has translated from Turkish the poems of Edip Cansever, to be launched in 2009. The Dedalus Press is also bringing out his Selected Poems later this year. He has also worked extensively as a book reviewer for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Irish Times. In 2008 he was awarded a bursary from the Arts Council.

 

 

Cognac

from the Turkish of Edip Cansever
(Konyak)

Today is Sunday, I’m bringing red home with me.
I’m looking for my uncle, my uncle is looking at the wall.
What’s with the wall? I start looking too.
I call the neighbours, they look too.
I call whoever passes by, they look at the wall as well.

It’s as if none of us has ever seen a wall before.
I’m committing the most charming of crimes,
I’m hammering nails, agreeably sharp nails.
On them I’m hanging boxes, houses, shirts atop the wall.
I hang and hang and hang
Right in front of love, of my uncle, of the colour blue.

I look at the wall. By looking at it like this, I’m improving upon it.
The wall, too, is looking at me. What’s with me?
The way it looks is making all hell break loose—
As strange as a woman who has just become a bride.
I can’t explain, it’s a look that makes the sun stand still.
How many shots of cognac does this make?

©2009 Richard Tillinghast

 

Author Links

Richard Tillinghast home page

'Big Doors' by Tillinghast at Poetry Daily

Edip Cansever on Wikipedia

 

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