Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

A Poet's Reflections on Travel

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

A Poet's Reflections on Travel

Article excerpt

A Poet's Reflections on Travel ···· Richard Tillinghast. Journeys into the Mind of the World: A Book of Places. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2017. ISBN: 978-162190-281-2.

A set of travel stories that looks at the history, politics, culture, spirituality, art, architecture and ethnicity in the places described. Tillinghast has previously published other travel narratives as well as poetry collections. He merges a personal memoir with guidance for travelers in these stories. He begins before his birth with an account of his mother's trip to Paris. From there he describes his childhood home, Memphis, Tennessee. The rest of the sections look at India, Nepal, Ireland, England, and Hawaii. These are interrupted with a return to the rest of Tennessee other than Memphis and with two interludes on music and storytelling. Each of the stories is told from a first-person perspective in a casual tone that summarizes what Tillinghast did, saw, and experienced at these places. For example, in an introductory chapter, he talks about listening to a Romanian gypsy CD, visiting a jazz festival in Istanbul (16). He inserts a few poems or long quotes throughout, such as a poem from George MacBeth, on whom Tillinghast stops for a long while, as he contemplates the life of a novelist writing under a pseudonym. Tillinghast describes a poetry reading performance where George read this masterpiece, "The Twilight of the Ascendancy," which is pretty funny as exemplified by this stanza:

Anyway, there you have it. …

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