"These poems were inspired by our year in Mallow County Cork (May 2012 &ndash May 2013). They happened only because we were fortunate enough to participate in two very Irish communities: the congregation of St. James (Church of Ireland) where my wife Shirley filled the long-vacant position of organist and the community of poets particularly in Mallow and Fermoy"
Bradley R. Strahan most recently taught poetry at Univ. of Texas. He is a former Fulbright Professor of Poetry & American Culture (2002-2004) and for 12 years taught poetry at Georgetown University.
He is the director of Visions International Arts and publisher of Visions-International. Since 1976 he has won numerous awards and developed a worldwide following for his work which includes several books of poetry and over 600 poems in such places as: America Christian Century Crosscurrents Rattapallax Seattle Rev Christian Science Monitor Poet Lore Confrontation First Things Midstream Hollins Critic Soundings East Gargoyle Borderlands First Things Passages North etc. in the U.K.: Orbis Tribune Nottingham Rev. Krax The Seventh Quarry (Wales) etc. in Ireland: Crannog Salmon and Revival elsewhere in Sources (Belgium) Poetry Monthly Shimunhak (Korea) Poetry Australia Poetry Salzburg Review and Yuan Yang (Hong Kong). Strahan has lectured and read his work in American Europe and Asia. He spent November 2001 to January 2 in Holland on a Vogelstein Foundation program (where he replaced John Ashbery as the American poet at the "Literaire Podia Amsterdam").
In 2006 he was a Fellow at the "Vertalershuis" in Leuven Belgium and was a featured poet at international poetry festivals in Ireland and Belgium. Strahan has been widely anthologized and translated into many languages including French Spanish Dutch Serbian Macedonian and Korean his critically acclaimed most recent book This Art of Losing' has been translated into French.
Bradley Strahan's A Parting Glass is a book of celebration. Brad and his wife Shirley spent a year in County Cork where she was an organist at St. James Church Church of Ireland. It is a sanctuary sparsely attended a lost world full of ghostly echoes and the ghostly company of those who have left or died. In a place of such absence one poem asks "What else is sacred?" The answer Strahan offers is everything: wind trees rain larks wrens stones wood moss glass. In these poems holiness is revealed through music through what they hear and how they are heard and in the poetry's keen attention to this specifically Irish landscape and historical world to what lies ruined yes but to its still blessed beauty even more. "Winter solid to the bones melts in the music " he writes a music that here sings however briefly it might stay always of wonder. - Peter Weltner author of The Risk of His Music The Outerlands and To the Final Cinder
The opening poem in A Parting Glass is set in a pub in Ballyhoolie County Cork. Listening to music the speaker reflects on "the grace / that for a moment wells up / like a perfect note held just long enough."
Most of the poems however deal with experiences in Mallow's St. James Church and they are in no way conventionally devotional. A Church of Ireland St. James seems attended largely by ghosts Nostalgia may be a strong note but there is also a positive wonder in reactions to the sacred music and stained glass.
These poems are thoughtful beautifully crafted and often moving. Strahan's phrase "a perfect note held just long enough " aptly describes his own work. &ndash&ndashKnute Skinner