Sunday Poetry with Matthew Tierney
Today for Sunday Poetry we have Matthew Tierney, author of The Hayflick Limit, and Probably Inevitable, to discuss a poem from his most recent collection, Midday at the Super-Kamiokande, about the birth of his son.
My poor poems. COVID has fucked them up. They just don’t read like they used to. All those dystopian references in my latest collection…what was I thinking? They mock me. Likewise all that observation from a distance and the rattling of melancholy thoughts. Sound like anybody? Sound like everybody? Even those who don’t write are now writers—which, to be honest, is most writers on an average day.
I thought I would pick something hopeful. This poem recounts the days after the birth of my son. Of course, it’s set in a hospital, which is the front-line in today’s war. A doctor walks by on her cell, and now I’d like to stop her and thank her for her heroism. Normal, everyday worries backdrop a happy event made temporal by the foreboding of a TV press conference. Would that we had no need of daily press conferences.
We’re an adoptive family. We met the birth mother when she was about seven months along. We were with her at the hospital when she gave birth to August, who arrived a week or so earlier than his due date—though in another sense, about nine years later than we expected.
Those nine years were long years. We were ready. I was ready.
Here is a spot of happiness.
Matthew Tierney is the author of three books of poetry. His most recent is Probably Inevitable, which won the 2013 Trillium Book Award for Poetry in English. His previous book, The Hayflick Limit, was shortlisted for a Trillium Book Award. He is a former recipient of the K.M. Hunter Award, and has placed his poems in numerous journals and magazines across Canada. He lives in Toronto.