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English Department The Swiss Centre of Irish Studies @ the Zurich James Joyce Foundation

Richard W. Halperin, "Lucerne" (2013)

Read by Richard W. Halperin.

Text of the Poem

Richard W. Halperin, "Lucerne"


Biographical Note

Richard W. Halperin holds Irish and U.S. nationality, and for the past thirty years has lived in Paris. His work is part of University College Dublin’s Irish Poetry Reading Archive. Since 2010, he has published four poetry collections via Salmon Poetry Ltd, Cliffs of Moher; the most recent is Catch Me While You Have the Light, 2018, with People in a Diary listed for 2021. Since 2014, he has published twelve smaller collections via Lapwing Publications, Belfast; the most recent is Under the Olive Tree: Three Poem Sequences, 2020. An abridged version of his first Salmon collection Anniversary was published in Japanese by Kindaibungei-sha Press, Tokyo (2012). An abridged French version, entitled Présence, was the subject of an article in Translation Ireland 2017

His poetry is widely published in magazines Ireland and the U.K. – over 400 poems to date – with over 20 poems each in Cyphers, The Stinging Fly and, until they closed, THE SHOp and Revival Literary Journal. He has had a poem in ten of the past twelve annual Stony Thursday Books. His poem ‘Snow Falling, Lady Murasaki Watching’ is on permanent display at Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo.

Mr. Halperin reads frequently in Ireland. Past readings include the West Cork Literary Festival, the Clifden, the Goldsmith, and the Cuisle. Readings originally scheduled for 2020 and deferred because of COVID-19 may take place in 2021, depending, including the Heinrich Böll Memorial Weekend, Achill Island. His first readings were given in 2006 at Glenstal Abbey, Co. Limerick; and at the Glencree Centre for Reconciliation, Co. Wicklow. In 2020 he won the annual bourse provided by the Irish Writers Union to spend a week in September in Rome, under the auspices of the Italian Writers Union; this has been deferred until September 2021.
Richard W. Halperin was born in Chicago in 1943. He obtained his B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy at Manhattan College in the Bronx; and his Ph.D. in English Literature in 1969 from The City University of New York, under the mentorship of Sears R. Jayne. After teaching for three years as an Assistant Professor of English at Hunter College, New York, he embarked on a career in administrative humanitarian work which lasted forty years: first at the Board of Education of the City of New York, where his last title (1990) was Deputy Director of Career and Vocational Education; then at UNESCO, first in Vienna (1991-92), then at Paris Headquarters, where his last title (2005) was Chef of Section for Teacher Education, with oversight of this issue in over thirty field offices worldwide. For UNESCO, he edited Reading and Writing Poetry: The Recommendations of Poets from Many Lands on the Teaching of Poetry in Secondary Schools, downloadable gratis in English, French and Spanish.

Mr Halperin knows Switzerland principally from many trips to Geneva in the 1990s and the early 200s connected to work with the International Labor Organization and the UNESCO International Bureau of Education; and from a related trip to Lucerne. To these official trips, he added days of holiday. More than a decade later – and skipping every step – some of this found its way into poems.

Richard W. Halperin, Paris, 31 October 2020


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Halperin, Richard W. Shy White Tiger. Ennistymon: Salmon Poetry, 2013. 70.


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Richard W. Halperin

Richard W. Halperin

Photo © Bertrand A.