Thursday, 10 May 2012

London Poet and Dentist Dies in Crash

London dentist (and poet) Chris Guiltinan died this morning (May 10th, 2012) when his car rolled over in a ditch off the 403 near Hamilton. He was married and the father of two sons and opened the Guiltinan Family Dentistry Clinic in 2007 [source: London Community News].

In 1998, while editor and publisher of Afterthoughts, a London-based poetry journal, I had the privilege of publishing a few of Chris’ poems, all the while wishing I’d see more of his work in the future. I imagine his professional and family life took up much of his time and so the poet part of his life never came to full fruition (at least as far as I know) – a taste of which you can read in the three poems below. His work was skillfully written and extremely impressive. These poems are taken from issues 13 & 14, which also featured, in either or both issues, poets and writers such as Ian Ayres, Beryl Baigent, Michael Bogue, Jason Dickson, Vic Elias, Katherine L. Gordon, John Grey, Gregory Wm. Gunn, Claire Litton, Stan Rogal, Kenneth Salzmann, K.V. Skene, Fredrick Zydek, K.A. Corlett, Louis Gallo, Susan McCaslin, Molly Peacock, and Al Purdy.

Skating on Summer’s Egg
by Chris Guiltinan

Though Winter spread south like spilled milk
(I still think
the snowflake Is more work
in terms of intricacy, in terms of sheer
Spring smoked the landscape like a cigarette
and Summer came
in with its changeable light.
If habit is the body’s vanity over and over,
then who is to say
which thing weighs most:
a leather jacket or the knife it conceals;
jewellery or starlight;
the moon or the blue wick it burns on?
You say the blade might be Yevtushenko.
I believe you.
But who is the Chinese kite, dear lady,
beneath which we make love?

On Spring Nights
by Chris Guiltinan

On Spring nights, hyacinths
stuff the dark air,
men think
black must be blue that went too far,
women know
and sit quietly wishing
the perfume meant something,
the bruised light meant something,
anything at all.

by Chris Guiltinan

Numbers are the crudest form of abundance,
The fingers and toes of keeping track.
When does enough
tip into too much,
want into need,
Heaven become mere happiness, carved
down from ecstasy, smaller
but less conditional?

Preserved in amber
the town I grew up in,
and the blood and the voice of a lifetime
the light; word finds its laser and enters
to be holy,
to bear witness,
to be the pencil
of your next move.


  1. Condolences to the family and to you, Andreas...
    Such a shame.


  2. Andreas,

    Thank you for letting us all know. This is indeed a sad loss not only to his family and friends but to the world of poetry.

  3. My condolences to you as well, Andreas, on the tragic death of your friend.

    When a poet dies, a very big hole in the world is made

  4. Hi folks, thanks for your comments. Chris' passing is really sad news. I didn't know him personally, just via our correspondence in the late 90s regarding his poems which I had a very high regard for. Some of the very best poets are completely unknown as such and live doing other things which in Mr. Guiltinan's case was worthy work indeed.

  5. Thank you so much for posting these. I met Chris in dental school and knew he wrote poetry even then but had never read any of his pieces until now.

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