Sunday, May 31, 2015

Why I Listed Two Other Genres on Goodreads Authors

   The first thing that comes to mind is, they gave me the option. But adding History and Young Adult is actually not such a stretch for me.

   Anyone who spends ten minutes with me knows I love history. Some of my earliest memories are attending bicentennial celebrations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Ft. Ligonier, not far from there. Seeing re-enactors and Native Americans left an impression on me.

   When it came time to choose a college major, I oddly did not choose History. I was enthralled with German and Journalism, read other literatures, and thought that my love of history might be hampered by a serious study. Years later I earned a Master's in History from Bunghamton University in New York state. (It is part of the SUNY system but does not openly admit it for some strange reason.)

   But my dissertation is actually historical religious. My bishop approved my request for graduate study by saying I should write "etwas Theologisches" ("something theological"). At the time I was rostered in the ELCA's Slovak Zion Synod. The bishop was more comfortable with German than English/ I did not speak Slovak, so we spoke in German; I pointed out that is what our Slovak and Hungarian ancestor would do in Austria-Hungary!

   And the result:
I likely sold more of "Places and Times" in one week than the dissertation has sold in seven years!

    So that makes my case for History genre. Young Adult? My brother has urged me to tell about some of our adventures growing up outside of a mill town in the Monongahela Valley, south of Pittsburgh. I will disguise the actual location, and change some of the names, but this summer I plan to write down a few episodes.

   Here's a teaser: home-made bazookas.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Author page also on Amazon!

Now I am on Amazon as well!   They will eventually have a link to the blog, which exists on my Goodreads Author page.    Check it out and interact on both sites! Follow me, post reviews, look at the pictures!  Thanks!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Goodreads Author Page Created!

Today Goodreads accepted me as an author, and tonight I crafted the page.

Remember that this is certainly a work in progress, and I am interested for your feedback!

I also am posting events; so far there are two of them.

My birthday was Thursday, and I was touched by approximately 200 people who sent wishes to me. About 70 of them were from Google+ poetry friends from around the world. How cool is that! Very cool!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Being published again!

     Normally I am not this inscrutable, but I am learning how to create a buzz! I have been asked to submit a bio sketch to a publication. soon I can announce who it is, when it will appear, and how many poems are involved.

     In this revised bio sketch, I could proudly tout the release of Places and Times.

     Wherever you are, I wish you joy, peace, and all manner of good things. "As long as your business does not interefere with my business," as Vito Corleone said. (Just kidding)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

   Any poem about Waylon Jennings needs a song. when Outlaw Country broke, I was in Southern California (actually in Orange County of all places) learning how to hide behind a facade of respectability while still being me. Additionally, I was a graduate student at UC-Irvine unable to replace the vinyl lost in my move West when my parents did not send my records UPS. They saved me money by using the US Mail, which meant most of them were lost.

   As a result, what money I could spare for music was to replace lost records and selectively purchase the best of the new, like Bruce Springsteen. Outlaw was not getting airplay, so it took some time for me to groove on it.

Waylon is known for being a coin toss away from dying with band mate Buddy Holly, and for eventually telling Nashville where to put their slickness. I post a poem about him, and a song in which he mourns the changes in Country music from the times of Hank Williams, Sr.

In The Best of All Possible Worlds

In a backwater town
Far from the Interstate
But close to the siren call
Of rumbling freight trains,
I sit with Waylon Jennings,
Bottle and two glasses between us
In the glow of neon beer signs
Behind an empty bar.

Long-haired and bearded,
Freak and Outlaw we find
Common ground as we express
Who we are, as we chase
Our Holy Grails
Unconcerned with people telling us
We are wrong and foolish.

Each drink, each story, each joke
Fuses our spirits together.
We say the same thing
In different dialects.
Consensus does not imply
Betrayal of one’s roots
But the appreciation of another’s.

As rosy-fingered dawn spreads
From the east over the fields
Waylon and I revel in the
Best of all possible worlds
My lyrics melting into
His flawless music and
His gritty baritone voice.

Arthur Turfa, © 2015     Crank this one up loud!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Finally! "Innisfree" by Judy Collins

     I have the vinyl, but I have been searching youtube for this gem. It is based on W.B. Yeats' poem "The Lake Isle of Innisfree". As an undergraduate I bought the album, and later read the poem; Yeats has become a favorite.

    Recently I sent this to a dear friend who is having some rough times. Whatever is going on in your live, I hope you find peace from whatever afflicts/bothers you!

Here is Judy:

And here is William Butler Yeats:

He sounds like my 8th grade English teacher, John J.McGuire. When I had him in class, Mr. McGuire was in ill health and near the end of his teaching career. Earlier he had been a football coach and hailed from the anthracite coal country of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania- tough country then and now.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The lyrics are stand alone poetry....

...and when matched with the music, sheer perfection!

The Doors' "The Crystal Ship". They were the quintessential Los Angeles band and took their name from Aldous Huxley's "The Doors of Perception".  Jim Morrison wrote the lyrics, and everyone in the group received credit for the music.

While there is a growing intensity in the music, it does not overwhelm, which sustains the mood. When I was a teenager, it was the "thousand girls, a thousand thrills" that caught my attention, but also the haunting line "the streets are fields that never die."

Too bad Morrison left us, as so many of his profession, at age 27. I would liked to have seen what he would have become. Maybe a professor of poetry somewhere in the University of California system or at a smaller, private campus that would have tolerated his Dionysian personality.

Enjoy anyhow!  The Crystal Ship is being filled....

Saturday, May 16, 2015

"See the Changes" by Crosby, Stills, and Nash

    As I finished my workout today, I was listening to the band's greatest hits. "See the Changes" came on as I started to clean the elliptical machine. Since I sweat profusely, which means I am healthy, I had some time to listen to the song closely.

   Stills wrote the song, and reflected on the previous decade of his life. My birthday comes and the end of this month, and my son's is this coming week. As a result, I have a double reason to reflect on some things; not in a bad way, but I use the milestones as opportunities to see how things are going and where I am right now.

   Because some things do get harder as we get old, we should not give up trying. And while I may not weep as good times come, I remember people and situations that are not only memories. Fortunately Stills provides some upbeat music, and I share it and the lyrics with you!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Rest in peace, Riley B. King

    Born in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, which is where my wife began her first career, Riley came from nothing but his guitar blazed a path beyond his expectations.

   When I was listening to covers of the blues by white Americans and Brits, BB.King's name came up again and again. As I went back to the source of the blues, I was captivated by the music and the guitar work long after I ended by feeble attempts to play like that.

    Here I post his story about how Lucille received her name. You have earned your rest, B.B.!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Congratulations from a US Congressman for "Places and Times"

This is a fantastic surprise! Congressman Joe Wilson read a story in our local weekly paper, and sent me the following letter. Hopefully you can enlarge this to see his kind words.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

 Here is a really nice posting on Scriggler about "Places and Times". Thanks, Dmitry Selemir!

Books by our members

In keeping with the newly formed tradition of showcasing the books by our members, we have a new book for you today. Arthur Turfa has just recently published a new collection of poetry: Places and Times

Have a look at Arthur's profile on Scriggler for a sample poem from the book, there are also links to his website and FB page. He is already backed by a couple of five star reviews, please consider getting involved and reviewing it as well.

The site is really expanding and it is worth checking out!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Honored to be featured here!

A huge thanks to Michael David Saunders Hall, creator of the Words on Fire Google+ community! I am one of seven moderators, and am thrilled, honored, and humbled to be included among so many fine poets and friends!  Enjoy!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Look Back into My Past

The Year of Seeing Things More Clearly

Some took other roads
Swam other rivers,
But I traveled through
The steeply-rising gap
Toward uncertain destination.
Seemingly-easier paths
Led to dead ends and quicksand.

A year chronicled in a journal
And discarded a year later
Before moving to Virginia.
A twelvemonth spent
Between phases of my life
Between two institutions,
Missing one, anticipating the other
Between two languages
Which never has changed.

On Blue Marsh Lake
No wind in the sails
From the cloudy sky,
Trusting two sisters,
Resplendent in youth
And vitality, I realize
That trusting at times
Is the best decision
As they steer to shore.
That memory crystalized
Over ensuing decades
And recalled during visits;
Bringing joy when
Recollected so much later.

From that shore seeing
So much so clearly
Realizing the year
Focused who I was
And who I was to be.

Arthur Turfa, Copyright 2015

Some Thoughts on the UK General Election and "First Past the Post"

     Jack Bruce and Pete Brown song came to mind in the aftermath of the UK General Election this past week. Normally I do not let my political views to color neither my poetry nor my postings. Granted, the keen reader who knows me will detect evidence of some of what I think.

     A few friends on Facebook and of course elsewhere have criticized the "first past the post" electoral system.First the Liberals, and now the Lib Dems, Greens, and UKIP have joined the chorus. Certainly they have a point; each party receives a considerable percentage of total votes cast, and together they amass several million votes.

     From my American perspective, Proportional Representation might not be to the UKs advantage. (I am no fan of our Electoral College, as anyone who was around earshot of me from November 2000 through February 2001 can confirm). My thoughts stem from the dysfunctional US Congress, with Democrats and Republicans and only one Independent in the Senate, who caucuses with the Democrats.

    There was a time when Democrats and Republicans argued vehement in session, and then met for drinks and golf later. They actually could be friends with each other. Not since New Gingrich became Speaker of the House in 1994!

    Imagine, if you will, UKIP's 12% vote share giving them 67 MPs, the Lib Dems 8% evolving into 50 (nearly what they had going into the General Election(, and the SNP's 5% given them about 25.
The resulting chaos in Westminster would be colorful in more ways than one, as two or three parties would need to form a coalition, which would be broken, then reformed.....

    Soon there would be a situation like Italy's, with numerous governments. When I was in Rome in Summer of 1973, the government fell and no one noticed much. By then they were adept at the whole thing.

    Across the Channel and then some, Germany has it's Grosse Koalition of CSU/CDU and SPD. These parties are not close to each other, but they make it work and keep Europe's largest economy going steadily along.

    For some reason the last line from the immortal Fawlty Towers episode, "The Germans" comes to mind: "How did they ever win the war?"

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Request for reviews on amazon

Hello! If you have bought my book, Places and Times, please be so kind as to leave and honest review on Amazon or anyplace else. I really appreciate it!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

   The other morning I heard U2's "Running to Stand Still" on SiriusXM's Deep Tracks. Then I realized how much I missed the song, especially for its lyricism, and rising intensity in music and vocals.

    Enjoy the song, and search through your musical or listening pasts to rediscover some gems! I know you have some.

Friday, May 1, 2015

     Even if I had not read Faulkner by the time I marriedPam,
my Mississippi wife, I would have read him via her. A friend sent me this link about connections between poetry, novels, and short stories, starting with Faulkner's views.

     One day I will write a novel, or so I have been telling myself for years. There is a rough draft somewhere. Occasionally I think abaft distilling a short story or two from it. And then I write a poem that is unrelated.

     some friends say they enjoy the stories in my poems, so maybe that is how I do it!  Ponder the link! Thanks, David Ewanick!

Reviews Are So Very Important to Writers, and So Hard to Get

      When my first poetry book was published seven years ago, I dutifully asked readers/friends to review it. That book, Places and Times, ...