21 Mar Niagara Falls Review: Rescue Me: The prying poems of Niagara’s Eva Tihanyi
By John Law, Niagara Falls Review
Monday, March 21, 2016 4:11:32 EDT PM
Niagara poet Eva Tihanyi is usually the guest at other writers’ readings. But on April 4, she’ll gather some prominent friends for one of her own.
To help launch her latest book, The Largeness of Rescue, Tihanyi will bring together Toronto writers Andrea Thompson (Over Our Heads), Susan Glickman (The Tale Teller) and Patricia Keeney (The Incredible Shrinking Wife) to join her at Niagara College’s Benchmark restaurant in Niagara-on-the-Lake for a free event.
“Usually, I’m part of someone else’s party,” says the Niagara College broadcasting teacher. “But this is kind of my brainchild.”
Tihanyi is very familiar with all three women (Keeney edited her 2012 book Flying Underwater, Poems New and Selected), and “everybody’s been at it for a very long time.
“Between the four of us I’d say we probably have about 30 books.”
The Largeness of Rescue, Tihanyi’s ninth book, doesn’t officially come out until May. She describes it as her “soul book” – a reflective collection of poems about looking inward to better process, and change, what’s happening around us. As Tihanyi writes, that can be through art (“On Easter Island, 887 stone heads stare down time / Monumental reminders that art might survive”), spirituality and maturity. It is her most serious work – no trace of the humour or witty wordplay of her early books.
“This is not a book I think I could have written when I was 30,” says Tihanyi, 59. “It’s more outward looking. I’m talking about the world around me now far more than my own life.”
It has earned plenty of advance praise from other writers, including Carole Giangrande who calls it “serene in spirit and precise in language…her finest work,” and Lawrence Hutchman who says it gives us “a larger idea of what it is to be more ourselves.”
“Now, I’m looking at this crazy world of Donald Trump,” she says. “I’m looking at people being beheaded on TV. I’m looking at these kind of things, and it’s a different kind of introspection. It’s really saying, ‘I’m one person among millions of people,’ so I’m hoping to express things that will resonate with people on a very serious level.
“This is a very serious book. It’s not comical, it’s not flippant. It doesn’t have any attitude.”
As with every Tihanyi book, there are some heartbreaking passages. Urban Hikerecounts the true story of the night she was walking along the Bloor viaduct in Toronto moments before someone had jumped: “Soon people surround us. Nothing draws a crowd like a public death. It won’t be in the news though. Not a good idea to give people ideas.”
The free Niagara-on-the-Lake event was co-organized with Niagara College’s head of libraries Karen McGrath, and is open to the public.
- WHO: Eva Tihanyi, with Andrea Thompson, Susan Glickman and Patricia Keeney.
- WHERE: Benchmark restaurant; 135 Taylor Road; Niagara-on-the-Lake
- WHEN: April 4, 1 to 3 p.m.
- ADMISSION: Free