Six Mile Mountain by Richard Tillinghast. Storyline Press, 2000




Review written by Eamon Grennan

Richard Tillinghast's well-travelled weather-eye is always open on and to the world. It's a world--private and public--which he knows in its mundane particularities as well as for the mystery that surrounds it--a mystery mostly unspoken but never shyed from. A laconic idealist, his voice is a lyric mix of celebration and lament, is worldly, ethical and, above all, civil. In their unobtrusive formality, as well as in the way they move between clear-sighted familial memory and sharp-edged present observation, the poems of SIX MILE MOUNTAIN embody the thoughtful, humorous, affectionate embrace which the imagination is capable of, reminding us not only of the sensuous surface of things (landscapes, weather, a "nimbus of sawdust," the "oystery tang" of a street in Galway, a butterfly folded up "like a spare pair of spectacles," the rich scent of "beeswax, pipe tobacco, ink"), but also of a grim historical truth like that of "The Emigrant," as well as of "this lightness I can't define/ that rises like river mist/ over everything the eye beholds." Like his father's decently cut plaid jacket in one of them ("His sweat must still be somewhere in the satin lining"), Tillinghast's poems wear well, testament to a civilized sensibility taking his own and the world's pulse--with some humor and some melancholy (see "Incident" for a perfect example), but always awake to the complicated ticking life in it.


© 2008 Richard Tillinghast, All Rights Reserved