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Terence Winch
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Fake (Poetry) News! But thank you anyway. And now: back to my process.
C'mon, Mitch. John Lennon is always worth thinking of. And Mr. Dylan too, of course. In this poem, I think I had Hank Williams more than anyone else in the back of my mind.
You & Ray Charles go way back, as I remember well.
Thank you, Michael.
Thanks, Earle, for your (as always) insightful response. I love Otis Redding. In the '70s, I idolized him. He was so present inside whatever song he was singing, with "I've Been Loving you Too Long (To Stop Now)" his masterpiece. The John Keats of Soul. Who knows what he would have given us with a longer life.
Well, thank you, mo dheirfiúr. You would have had fun had you been with us.
Thanks, Earle. I have become a daily communicant of TG4, so I will look for this show in their archives. It's an intriguing theory on the face of it, but I will stay skeptical for now. I do, however, very much appreciate your adding to the information and discussion here, which is always something I shoot for with these posts.
Well, thank you, Prof. Berger. It's a nice surprise to find you here.
This comment comes from Dublin-born poet Trevor Joyce: "I spent quite a few summers as a kid just about two miles back the road towards Craughwell, and I often passed that little graveyard, but I had no interest in poetry then. These days, every time I drive to or from Galway, I try to visit there, and also stop where there's a good view of Rahasane Turlough. I recall once hearing Michael Hartnett quoting a translation of the last verse of that poem: Here I stand / With my arse to the wall / Singing songs / For sweet fuck all."
Amazing exchange. I have been reading I Am Flying into Myself and loving it, but now I feel I may be violating Knott's wishes. I never met him, but as a young poet I loved The Naomi Poems (by the mysterious Saint Geraud), Nights of Naomi, and Auto-Necrophilia, all of which I still have. He was brilliant and original.
Thanks, Billy. You're absolutely right---it's a bit unkempt, but at least there is a "Cemetery of the Poets" in Ireland. On the other hand, it seems that Yeats's very well-tended grave in Sligo is home to some random bones from France.
Thank you, my friend. Very cool. I just got the book a few hours ago, so I am amazed at your speed!
Thanks, Chris. And where's the Tomb of the Unknown Poet?
Thanks, Rachel. I didn't plan it this way, but on my last trip to Ireland I wound up visiting 8 or 9 graveyards, each one distinct and beautiful in its own way---from Glasnevin in Dublin, where about one million of the departed reside, to Raftery's enchanted final resting place.
Gearóid---Thanks so much for this great addition to the post. I kind of suspected you would be able to flesh out the story for us all. I am looking forward to reading your piece on Ó Callanáin and watching the video.
Funny you should say that---another relation of ours, upon hearing of this mysterious windfall, insisted we should give it to the local priest.
Now I may have to pay a visit to O Carolan. Bás in Éirinn!
Thanks, Noel. I do know those poems. We are fortunate that his audience remembered his work well enough for these poems to have survived. (One item I forgot to mention in the post: Gabriel Byrne owns [or owned] a little house right behind this cemetery.)
Thanks, Howard. It wasn't planned, but during my last trip to Ireland I wound up in about a 10 cemeteries (not permanently, fortunately). They are profound places.
Many decades ago, my brother Jesse took a beginners’ course in the Irish language. Out of that experience, he memorized a short, beautiful poem by Anthony Raftery, usually called “Mise Raifteirí.” When we were last in Ireland, in October of 2016, he suggested that we visit Raftery’s grave, which turns out to be in the vicinity of the town of Loughrea, in county Galway, the same area where our mother was from. So, with our cousin Martin Flynn and our good friend Dominick Murray, we took the short ride from the Flynn household in Cahercrea to the Reilig na Bhfilí (Cemetery of the Poets) in Killeeneen where Raftery is buried. As Wikipedia informs us, Raftery (30 March 1779–25 December 1835), who composed in Irish, is often called the last of the wandering bards. He lived almost exactly a century later than the great Turlough O' Carolan, the itinerant harper who composed hundreds of gorgeous musical pieces that are still widely played today, just as Raftery's poems, which were never written down in his lifetime, are taught today in Irish schools. Raftery also played the fiddle, and I have a special affection for musician-poets. Both men were blind, a misfortune that had no apparent negative effect on their creative abilities. I thought I had taken a photo of the signage regarding the other poets buried in the Reilig na Bhfilí, but if I did I can’t find it. One Internet source gives their names as Marcus and Peatsaí Ó Callanáin. I believe the signage stated that they were brothers and both rivals of Raftery. I don’t know if any of their poems are extant. [Please see the comment below by my old friend Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin, who provides some invaluable information on Peatsaí Ó Callanáin.] In any case, Raftery is without question the top dog in this beautiful, serene little graveyard. (photo of Terence Winch, Oct. 2016, by Jesse Winch) There we were in this place to which the paths of glory but lead, caught up in its eerie, decaying beauty, when my cousin Martin gathers us to show us something. He holds up a white envelope sealed in a plastic cover. “Someone has left me a check!” he jokes. We all laugh. We debate the propriety of opening this mystery letter, but really there is no other choice but to do so. This place is nearly abandoned, with no office or staff or any other visitors. So Martin opens the envelope. Inside is a card showing a photo of children playing with a homemade little plane, with a real plane in the background, ca. 1940, and a caption reading, “ YOU WILL NOT DO INCREDIBLE THINGS WITHOUT AN INCREDIBLE DREAM.” There’s also an indecipherable message in longhand. But here’s the kicker: folded in the card is a 20 Euro bill. Money, after all. Graveyard money! We spent it all on caffeine and cake in a coffee shop in Galway City. Thank you, Mr. Raftery. photo of Martin Flynn by Dominick... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2018 at The Best American Poetry
Thanks for this, David. I was just reading some works by Tate in the latest Conduit and was impressed by their energy and power (not to mention the humor).