This issue of THE FLEA is dedicated

to the Memory of

Alan Sullivan



Alan Sullivan (1948-2010) was a tireless poet, polemicist, raconteur, translator and teacher of poetry.  He wrote many books, and much of his writing can be found at  the blog he maintained which drew an eclectic group of readers drawn by his disquisitions on weather, volcanology, foreign and domestic policy, poetry and matters of the spirit.  Alan was a spiritual seeker all his life, and toward its end he turned to the Catholic Church from which he drew great strength and solace.  His literary partner was the poet Timothy Murphy.

In his final year he undertook to translate the poems of King David.  With the able assistance of Seree Cohen Zohar in Israel, he completed this great, metrical work, which will soon begin appearing in periodicals, and ultimately in book form.  All who knew him marveled at the energy he focused on this final task which he completed on June 24, 2010.

         —From the Obituary of Alan Thomas Sullivan, who passed away on Friday, July 9th, 2010

So, though some have, some may some Psalmes translate,
Thy Sullivanean Psalmes we’ll celebrate,
And, till we come th’Extemporall song to sing,
(Learn’d the first hower, that we see the King,
Who hath translated these translators) may
These their sweet learned labours, all the way
Be as our tuning, that when hence we part,
We shall fall in with them, and sing our part.

   —from John Donne, ‘Upon the Translation of the Psalmes’

Alan Sullivan and I differed in political opinion, but I had the greatest respect for the integrity of his beliefs, and especially for his superb poetic professionalism, detailed knowledge, critical ability and high contribution to the Art. Our personal communications were always dignified and polite, and as an editor who published his work on several occasions, I greatly appreciated his ethical, impeccably scrupulous and generously supportive dealings. Among poets he was known affectionately (if at times somewhat fearfully) as the Editor from Hell (EfH) because of his fierce insistence on high poetic standards—yet personally he was a Gentleman. Alan is utterly irreplaceable, and the Muse has lost a wise and passionate devotee. 

                                                                              — Paul Stevens

Read Timothy Murphy’s interview with Alan Sullivan in Able Muse, which includes (at the end) Alan’s amazing poem ‘Divide and Conquer’: http://www.ablemuse.com/v6/interview/alan-sullivan