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Richard Tillinghast, Poetry


Richard Tillinghast has published twelve books of poetry and five of creative nonfiction. His most recent publication is Journeys into the Mind of the World: A Book of Places, 2017. He studied with Robert Lowell at Harvard and later wrote a critical memoir, Robert Lowell’s Life and Work: Damaged Grandeur. His Selected Poems came out in 2010, and in 2010 he was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in poetry in addition to a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in translation for Dirty August, his versions of poems by the Turkish poet, Edip Cansever, written in collaboration with his daughter, the poet Julia Clare Tillinghast. His 2012 travel book, An Armchair Traveller’s History of Istanbul, published in London, was nominated for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize. He has been a faculty member at Harvard, Berkeley, Sewanee, and the University of Michigan, and is one of the founders of Bear River. Richard retired from the UM in 2005 and lived in Ireland for six years, moving back to this country in 2011. He now lives most of the year in Hawaii and spends his summers in Tennessee.


Workshop: Poetry as a Form of Fiction

Poetry has the reputation of being more wedded to reality than fiction is. We are inclined to take the poet’s word for the “truth” of the events, characters, and attitudes in poems. Whereas, when we look behind the curtain, we discover that poems can be just as fictional, just as made-up and invented as short stories and novels. Both poetry and fiction use our world of experience as raw material, but that is only the starting point. We’ll explore this in the hope of broadening our attitudes about the art of poetry.