Renowned poet Richard Tillinghast’s wanderlust and restless spirit are nearly as well known as his verses. This book of essays captures that penchant to wander, yet Journeys into the Mind of the World is not merely a compilation of travel stories—it is a book of places. It explores these chosen locations—Ireland, England, India, the Middle East, Tennessee, Hawaii—in a deeper way than would be typical of travel literature, attempting to enter not just the world, but “the mind of the world”—the roots and history of places, their political and cultural history, spiritual, artistic, architectural, and ethnic dimensions.
Behind each essay is the presence, curiosity, and intelligence of the author himself, who uses his experience of the places he visits as a way of bringing the reader into the equation. Tillinghast illuminates his travels with a brilliant eye, a friendly soul, and eclectic knowledge of a variety of disparate areas—Civil War history, Venetian architecture, Asian cultures, Irish music, and the ways of out-of-the-way people. This attention to history and cultural embeddedness lends unique perspectives to each essay.
At the heart of his journeys are his deep roots in the South, tracing back to his hometown in Tennessee. The book explores not only Tillinghast’s childhood home in Memphis, but even the time before his birth when his mother lived in Paris. Readers will feel a sense of being everywhere at once, in a strange simultaneity, a time and place beyond any map or
RICHARD TILLINGHAST is the author of three recent books of poetry: Sewanee Poems (Evergreen, 2009; second edition, 2012), Selected Poems (Dedalus, Dublin, 2009), and Wayfaring Stranger (Word Palace, 2012). Among his nonfiction books are Finding Ireland (University of Notre Dame, 2008) and An Armchair Traveller’s History of Istanbul (Haus Publishing, London, 2012).