“With so much negative discussion of poetry in the United States where it is periodically suggested that there are too many poets, that ‘no one reads poetry anymore,’ it has bee a tonic to live in a country where poetry enjoys a vital, secure place in the national culture. While at home [in America] I am likely to introduce myself to strangers as a writer or a professor, simply to avoid the tiresome conversations triggered by announcing that I am a poet.
Here [in Ireland] people are comfortable with poets and poetry … In Ireland, where the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rebellion were poets, where Yeats’ picture appears on the twenty-pound note, where the mayor of Galway is a poet, one begins to recognize that the alienation and isolation man poets feel in the U.S. are inherent not in the art itself but in the commercialized, television-dominated culture in which we live.”
—Richard Tillinghast, as cited by Dennis O’Driscoll in “Troubled Thoughts: Poetry Politics in Contemporary Ireland,” The Southern Review, v.31 no. 3 (Louisiana State University Press, July 1995)