James Liddy RIP

James Liddy
James Liddy. Photo credit: Salmon Poetry
…The sad, baffling news of James Liddy’s death, the mentor of my youthful verse and friend of almost 40 years. I always thought he would live to a ripe old age, still having fun, still dazzling us with his Wildean erudtion and high-class gossip. He was born on The Night of the Long Knives,as he was fond of saying ie the first of July 1934. (thanks for correction, David Brannan).

But now, after an illness that lasted just weeks and which I didn’t know about till last night, all of that fun and erudition is gone. We had our spats, as a student linked to below put it, but they always blew over. I hope he had forgiven our last disagreement, if, indeed, he remembered it.

He lived a full and rich life, to the end, that’s for sure. Along with Jim, Nora, Liam, to whom I offer my deepest sympathy, and a legion of friends and admirers and students, I will miss him sorely.

I’m not sure he would have enjoyed mention on the web, but as the news is out there already on a Milwaukee blog, as Brian Lynch alerted me, this may alert certain friends who might not otherwise hear the news.

Karl Saffran’s Tribute

James Liddy at Irish Writers Online

Tributes Paid to James Liddy: The Irish Times

Irish Times Death Notice
* LIDDY, James Daniel – November 5, 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, late of Coolgreaney, Gorey and 8, Mary Street, Wexford, Deeply regretted by his sister Nora, his friend Jim Chapson, cousins, relatives and friends. R.I.P. Funeral arrangements to be announced later.
o Date: Wednesday, 5 November 2008
o Published: 8 November 2008

Irish Times Family Notices

LIDDY, James Daniel – November 5, 2008, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, late of Coolgreaney, Gorey and 8, Mary Street, Wexford, Deeply regretted by his sister Nora, his friend Jim Chapson, cousins, relatives and friends. R.I.P. Funeral Prayers will take place at Murphy’s Funeral Home, The Avenue, Gorey tomorrow (Saturday) at 11.15 o’clock followed by removal to St David’s Church, Johnstown for funeral Mass at 12 Noon. Burial afterwards to Ballyfad Cemetery.

Irish Times Obituary

Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel Obituary

Chapson said Liddy will be buried Saturday in Ireland. A memorial service in Milwaukee is being planned.

(thanks again to David Brannan for link)

Richard Tillinghast’s letter to the Irish Times

Death of the poet James Liddy

Madam, – The obituary of James Liddy in your issue of November 8th was a fitting tribute. He was, to paraphrase Yeats, a “hearty welcomer”, a man with a big heart and many friends both in Ireland and in the United States. He was a presence not only in both countries, but also in that spiritual country that joins the two, populated by poets and readers of poetry.

Not only was he one of the first writers to prove that being Irish and being forthrightly gay was not a contradiction in terms; in his work he also showed how the spirit of the “beat generation” could enter a sensibility that remained Irish to the marrow. In doing so he opened a space for the important poetry in Irish of Cathal Ó Searcaigh. There is no one like James Liddy among us today. – Yours, etc,




Co Tipperary.


after titles by James Liddy

Esau, my kingdom is a drink.

In a Blue Smoke,
Christ and Socrates smiled.
I was forever young.

Above planning permission:
Blue Mountain.

Proposal for a mega-publisher:
A Life of Stephen Dedalus.
And his White Rabbit. 1969.

O Babóg, come into Munster with me,
And print love bonds, not war bonds.

In the Blue House we are gentlemen
And generous with time.

Of all the bars in all the world,
Baudelaire had to come into mine.

In the rock pools of Corca Baiscinn,
My body is mistaken for a flower.
I am the sea anemone
who knows how to party.

To the philistines on every mean street
Let it be known:
I have all the Gorey Details.

As Comyn sings his Lay,
I walk into eternity
Among the hemlock and hibsicus,
The rosebuds and the hollyhock.

I am a Bachelor of Chamber Pot Music,
a Fellow of the Tent of Many Drinks.

At the grave of Father Sweetman
I hear the old world
swan out of
James Clarence Mangan
Singing its song.

Thinking A White Thought in a White Shade,
I am in my white suit,
My birthday suit of white butterflies.

Young men should always go walking.
Mens sano in corpore sano.

After a night’s drinking,
There’s nothing like
A good feed of Kerr’s Pinks.

Art is only for grownups
When it is noted
By the Garda Siochána.

Bowling in the Slovak Bowling Alley
I am truly happy my whole life.

In Avondale the trees
Are warmer than green:
Global village warming.

My Collected Poems
Are in full control of the Faculties.

Let my Epitaphery
Be written on Porter.

Vincey O’Rafferty
powers up his sqeezebox
For Gold Set Dancing
On Croghan Mountain
One more time.

I Only Know
That I Love Strength –
(the old glitter)
in My Friends –
(Mad philosophy
Hurts them into song)
and Greatness,
The territory of Spicer, Burroughs,
Kerouac, Michael Hartnett.

Philip Casey, from Tried and Sentenced Selected Poems, eMaker Editions, 2015