(Thomas) Anthony Kerrigan

Start Your Free Trial

Download (Thomas) Anthony Kerrigan Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Kerrigan, (Thomas) Anthony (Vol. 4)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Kerrigan, (Thomas) Anthony 1918–

Kerrigan is an American-born poet and translator now living on Mallorca. (See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 49-52.)

Kerrigan is the moment's epicure, therefore its elegiast….

Kerrigan's views are seldom tentative: praiser of the moment, he also makes his mind up about it, and has a critical, passionate bias to pin it to. Making up your mind is risky though; may be damned for every error, and in poetizing the risk is greater than it would be in the moral-religious sphere simply because (if one is not rhapsodizing or improvising) one has the time to reseize the moment, many moments, and make something of them—a poem if possible, an epitome of the self. Judgment is most severe, severer than the fantasies of religious practice, in my opinion, unless you are the karmic ribbon clerk computing every ell of error, or the Grand Sinster of Sinai whose votaries keep tabs on every nanosecond of vagary. Kerrigan's poetry therefore relies on the perceptions of a mind that has studied the real places out there, the scenes we should enjoy if we came to stand where in memory he stands. Dublin, Chicago, Barcelona, Paris, the galleries of the early twentieth-century painters, whose forms he sometimes contemplates by translating their essential ideas of structure into attitudes about people or music or building—but always arriving at something that he can say very succinctly. And his mind also reveals itself, not as an intellectualizing apparatus, of which there is a great surplusage these days, but as the thinking portion of a singular person.

Kerrigan's complex responses reflect a world measured, understood, and largely relinquished to its own chaos of unimportance in favor of a few, but discriminating choices: the woman, in whole or in part: her hair, her eyes, a breast, a thigh; the wind in a certain place; the light in Muslim North Africa; streets built in other times, a quiet square in Dublin….

[ At...

(The entire section is 497 words.)