Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Awesome Reading in Charleston, South Carolina!

     A huge "Thanks!" goes out to Jim Lundy, who organized the Monday Night Poetry and Music at the East Meeting House in Charleston, South Carolina, and for the two dozen who filled the restaurant! I had 45 minutes to read, and people were very supportive! I have enough time to catch my breath to prepare for next week's Mind Gravy in Columbia, but more on that later!

     There are lots of pictures on Facebook, so wander over there to see!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Slides, not memes

     Lately I have given some thought about making a meme with a quotation from a poem and a picture/image. After a discussion on Goodreads, and thanks to all who participated, I thought doing a slide would be easier. That way I would not have to download yet another program!

    You can see an original picture that inspired a line in the poem. Please tell me what you think. Any feedback is appreciated! Thanks!

A poem in Hungarian by a new friend on Soundcloud

     B. Daniel posted his poem, Menedékem/Sanctuary, (the English is also given). What amazed me about it, outside of the fact that it is a great poem, is that the language sounds lyrical. My Grandmother Turfa, rest her soul, was aghast that my brother and I would not going to be taught the language. We are half-Magyar, so my parents figured there was no need. It would have been nice to learn some of it, but she wanted us to be as immersed in the language and culture as one could have been while living in the USA. Her  three children were, and none of them enjoyed it, although they were proud of their heritage.

    I mentioned this poem and my reaction to the sound of the language to my wife. I told her what I heard in Hungarian was usually louder and more dramatic. She said, "Thant's your family!"

Here is the poem in both languages, and the link to the recording. Thanks/Köszönöm!

magyar)                                                 (~english)
Menedekben                                          In Sanctuary
Leszereltem                                           I disarmed
Fegyveremet,                                         My weapon,
Elmem retteg…                                     My mind is scared…

Elnezesed                                             -Excuse me,
felszeg kerem,                                      I ask it awkwardly,
ezt veletlen                                            by mistake
elvetettem!                                            I missed this!
Meg egyszer                                        Once more-

Menedekben                                         In Sanctuary
Leszereltem                                          I disarmed
Fegyveremet,                                        My weapon,
Leheveredtem.                                      I lied down.

Elmerengtem                                        I was lost in reveries of
Eredeten,                                               Origin,
Szereteten,                                            Love,
Szenvedelyen,                                       Passion,
Elfeledett                                               Forgotten
Emlekeken.                                            Memories.
Elmeselem,                                          I tell you the tale,
Ejjeleken                                               In nights
Ej kek egen                                           In night-blue sky
Vegtelenbe                                           To the Infinity
Ket szemedbe                                     Through your two eyes,
Beled lestem,                                       I peep in,
Nem remelve                                       Not hoping to,
Fenyt kerestem,                                  I searched for light,
S Lelked leltem,                                  And your soul was found.

Keptelen, de                                       Absurd, but
Elkepedve                                           Astounded
Beleestem,                                         I fell in love with her,
Megszerettem,                                  I conceived an affection,
Beket leltem,                                      I found peace,

S kepzeletben                                   And in imagination
Eltevedve,                                          I have lost my way,
Megvesz lelkem,                              My soul is excessively fond of,
De megertem,                                   But I understand,
El mer vesztem.                                Why I lose her.

Vedelmemre,                                  -For my defense,
nem sejthettem                               I could not suspect,
megszeretlek,                                  I take fancy to you,
s eleneklem,                                     and I sing,
Meg, szeretlek!                               Meg, I love you!-

Szegyenemre,                                  Shame on me,
Tehetetlen                                        Unable to deal with
Elengedem,                                      I let her go,
Eleresztem                                       I lose hold of,
Elvesztettem.                                   I lost her.

Elveszetten                                       As lost
El nem rejtem,                                  I do not hide it,
Nezzetek el,                                     Turn a blind eye on it,
Lelkem gyenge                                My soul is weak
E percekben.                                    In these minutes.

Leplezetlen                                     Unconcealed
Szerelmemet                                   Of my love
Lehetetlen                                       It's impossible
Levedlenem,                                  To me to get it off,

S                                                       And

Hiteltelen                                       Without interest is
Hiedelmem                                    My belief,  
Hite vesztve                                   Shorn of faith
Hitegetem.                                     I dupe in fine words.

Hihetetlen.                                     Unbelievable.

(C) Daniel B 2014  


Friday, June 26, 2015

   Saddened by the passing of Patrick Macnee, the epitome of suaveness and cool as John Steed in "The Avengers". As I recall, in the first season Steed was a gritty, almost criminal character, but was transformed. Having served in the Royal Navy during WWII, Macnee refused to carry a weapon on the show and suggested the umbrella.

     As a junior-high student desperately wanting to be cool, Macnee offered a goal. He could hold his own in a fight, was extremely intelligent and perceptive, and best of all, had a glamorous female partner. What an inspiration!

    When shown on West German television, the title of the series was "Mit Schirm, Charme, und Melone" (With umbrella, charm, and bowler/derby), That say it all!

     Macnee was also a schoolmate of the late Sir Christopher Lee, also recently passed away.RIP for both of them!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Reading in Charleston, South Carolina on 29 June

     Next week I will be at James Lundy's Monday Night Poetry and Music Event at the East Bay Meeting House in Charleston, South Carolina. This city has of course been the scene not only of the senseless murder of nine people in their church, but also of incredible forgiveness, compassion, solidarity, and a resolve to combat those forces that led to such an event.

     What am I going to add to this process? Nothing. I am working on a poem related to the causes of the tragedy, but there is nothing I can add that has not been said already, and said better than I could. I am going to read some poems from "Places and Times", add a few newer ones, and make some new friends.

      Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/939540136077676/

      If you are in the Low Country, come and see me!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Meet my newest writer friend!

     It is simply amazing whom one can meet these days. Poetess Brooke Dylan lived where I work (and lived for a few years) in what is now suburban Columbia, South Carolina. We found some other things in common, and I am proud to share some information about this talented writer with all of you:


There certainly is plenty to see on her site!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Recording of a recent poem

     I imagine this will be in the second book, whenever that will be. It is interesting how a conversation with someone, a memory, or something similar triggers the muse. Let me know what you think of it!


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Collaboration with Denise Baxter Yoder: redux!

Back on October my collaborator, Denise Baxter Yoder, premiered our video. She is an excellent poet and lyricist, but she took my words and wrote some lovely music. Then she found some fantastic images for the video.

     Looking at these mountain images makes me feel a little cooler. We have been dealing with 100-degree heat and then some in the Midlands. Fahrenheit, i.e. Celsius 38 or so. If anyone is a musician, or knows one, I am open to another collaboration.

    If you like the video, share it. If you like the music, check out other things Denise has posted.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bicentennial of Waterloo

   I do not mean the song by Abba, and not even the one by the Kinks! Certain battles are pivotal and determine the course of history. Waterloo in Belgium was one of them; Napoleon's Hundred Days ended, and with them the First Empire.

  There might have been an ancestor of mine there. Pierre-Fortune Turfa was in Napoleon's 4th Regiment of Dragoons. The unit was at Ligny 17 June 1815 fighting the Prussians. Pierre-Fortune rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (so I was not the first in the family to do so!) While I have no proo
f that he was actually at Waterloo, from what I see his apparently survived the wars and might well have been present. If he was, then he likely was fighting against some of the other part of my genetic pool in the Prussian and other armies!


   Of the many songs about the battle, I post Ship of Fools' (with John Renbourn) "Plains of Waterloo".


 Apparently Napoleon left in a hurry. The Prussians obtained his hat.



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Request and a Song

   Does there always have to be a connection? Not on this blog, at least! I shall explain.

   Of you have read "Places and Times" and have not left an honest review on Goodreads, Amazon, or wherever, please do so. We all tend to procrastinate. I should be cleaning out the middle drawer in the master bathroom my wife asked me to do. That will happen soon, I promise!

   We have a birdhouse in our back yard, and a bluebird family moved in. Occasionally we see a flash of blue in the yard. We also see a flash of green, which would be a scampering lizard. Hopefully our cat does not see either flashes.

    Lately I've been talking music with a younger friend who appreciates good music. Buffalo Springfield came to mind, and that got me to thinking about Stephen Stills'
signature song, "Bluebird". So here is the link!


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Getting to Know Johannes Bobrowski

   One of the things I plan to do this summer is to read more by and about Johannes Bobrowski. I first came to know him in an undergraduate German class at Penn State, Several things intrigued me about him; his last name, his interest in Eastern Europe, and that he lived by choice in the German Democratic Republic. Primarily for the latter reason, reading him was not encouraged. At the time I had wanted to explore Germany's literary concertinas with Eastern Europe.

   I visited friends in the GDR, an certainly am not fan of totalitarian governments. Years later I found out some more about Bobrowski. He was an active Lutheran layman, who had joined the Confessing Church (Bekennede Kirche), as Bonhoeffer has done, and resisted Nazism. Bobrowski even was an eyewitness to German atrocities on the Eastern Front. He firmly believed that socialism and Christianity were not incompatible with each other.   Maybe that is why he was not part of the curriculum.

   Bobrowski was a great-great-nephew of Joseph Conrad. Born on the edge of East Prussia, Bobrowski ended his days living and working in site of the Berlin Wall, another border. I post three links, including an English translation of a poem.

   More about him will follow!




Friday, June 12, 2015

A Meeting I So Wish Had Happened

I posted the poem some time back, and now I have recorded it!

Select your favorite Waylon Jennings song, play it loud, then listen to this!


Thursday, June 11, 2015

New Soundcloud

Here's my reading of "Lovely Luminescence" from Soundcloud. I put up a generic picture to avoid copyright hassles. I also re-recorded "The Conversation: and posted it on Poet's Dream.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Meet the new Poet Laureate of the United States

    If I had stayed in California, I might have met Juan Felipe Herrera. But now I can spend some time this summer reading him. Congratulations!


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

New poem

Sometimes a poem receives no introduction; it exists for its own sake.  Enjoy! Too late for this book!

Lovely Luminescence

Striding along the shore
moving in thalassic beauty,
her splendor resembles
oceans whence she came.

Her smile catches the sun
reflecting radiance
the horizon round
bringing landscape and sea aglow.

Sun-drenched hair cascades
down over shoulders
touching necklace
of amber stones linked in golden strands.

All that one can do is to simply bask
In that splendor and linger
In lovely luminescence.

Arthur Turfa © 2015

Monday, June 8, 2015

Another Neat Thing I Get to Do.....

.... is to read poetry and become friends with some amazing people, even if I have not seen them! From Australia comes my friend Elusive Me, who shared this amazing poem with me before she posted it.

   I was struck by the beauty of the language, the imagery, the entire piece, so I asked for an received her permission to post it on my blog! Many thanks, Elusive Me, for granting me this request!

Summer rain...

He fell upon me
Like summer rain..
Me - a desert wilderness
Aching for his gift
Parched in the most needful of ways..
Vulnerable and thirsting
Word after word fell upon me
Causing sweet pools of wetness to form
Time...unfolded...across rivers of poetry
Until the words permeated
Causing my earth to swell...to open...
Like a torrent he penetrated
Flooding my heart
Flooding my soul
Until all was drenched, healed, and supple
Until all that was once barren was alive
Alive and teaming with life
A landscape luscious and luminous and ripe
And in return
With the fruits of his rain I fed his hunger
Fed his need
Filled his heart
Consumed his soul

Elusive Me

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Published Again in Metaphor Magazine

Now I can tell you that Metaphor Magazine has kindly accepted several of my more recent poems for inclusion n their new issue! April Mae Berza produces an excellent publication, and I invite everyone to check it out!


Friday, June 5, 2015

Significant Song Number 10

"Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty

   By the mid-1970s I had stopped writing poetry. I was either in graduate school and then seminary, so I was writing to satisfy requirements or make my mark as an academic. I did enjoy myself, however, lest anyone think there was never any time for fun. After all, this was the era of the Steel Curtain in the NFL, and when I first visited the UK.

   Stealers Wheel I certainly knew and liked, so when I heard "Baker Street" by Rafferty (one-half of the Wheel), I was receptive. What drew me in deeper were the lyrics and the sense that one was in the process of simplifying one's life. Finding a quiet little town was appealing to me then.  certainly heard the song in pubs and I went from London to Aberdeen and the West Country. When I wrote the rough draft of my novel (located in a box in the attic a few feet away from where I sit now), I entitled it "A Quiet Little Town". 

   Yes, there it sits. Perhaps one day I will rework it, perhaps boil it down into a few short stories, perhaps do nothing at all. However, writing it kept me somewhat sharp, and I suppose was a necessary portion of my writing career.

   Why th elong hiatus between Significant Songs? Places and Times has kept me busy, but that is all right. Enjoy the song from the late Gerry Rafferty:


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Repost of Fairport Convention's "Liege and Leaf"

Liege and Leaf by Fairport Convention

 At the gym tonight, I was in a mood for something different to listen to while working out. I am of a generation that learned to do things without needing electronic devices for everything. While I do not listen to music when downstairs on the machines and weights, it is nice to listen to something during aerobic exercises; especially in  those rare cases when someone is on a mach
ine while talking on the cell phone about how they are exercising. I want to do one of two things: 1. Scream, "If you can talk, then it is not exercises!" or 2. Starting singing along to what I am listening to." But I  behave myself, since someone has to.

   Why this album tonight? Perhaps  because I hear recently heard from some dear friends who are really family who not only loved this music, but also played and sang it. We were talking about Places and Times, my poetry book. Also, it might be because I was thinking of the time I discovered this music.   Below the original post form some time ago: 

 This time, it is an entire albums! Mixing traditional folk with original compositions so seamlessly with electric guitars, Fairport Convention ignited interest in older music. My mother had a copy of Francis James Child's one-volume abridgment of English and Scottish Popular Ballads which I pored over. Friends of mine could play and sing, I could read and dream of writing. I heard Fairport in Berkeley, CA in 1975 minus Sandy Denny.  Later on I used songs from this album and others like it when teaching British Literature.

  I post a link to "Matty Groves": . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK_7AqH1VGQ

Monday, June 1, 2015

I would be the Oxford Chair of Poetry...

     .....only no one has asked me. Likely one needs to be a UK citizen, and I am not willing to change my citizenship, nor am I in threat of being deported. But there seems to be quite a public row. read this from the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/may/26/wole-soyinka-not-too-grand-and-old-oxford-poetry-chair-melvyn-bragg

     Today there was a revelatory blast from the past about how Philip Larkin did not want to face those dreary literary parties when one sipped sherry. I would insist on neat whiskey or at the very least, some good ale or brown beer. But that probably would not suit Oxford. My own experience there is limited. I should say, our experience, since my wife and I passed through on our honeymoon in 1983.

     Actually I was going to offer myself as a summer Professor of Poetry, since I am available as of Friday for a while.  am certain that Oxford would not mind paying for me to fly back to South Carolina for some previously-scheduled readings here. But then I took another offer locally for some of the season, so Oxford will have to sort this out without me, at least this time.

    I conclude with a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins about of Oxford of a medieval philophers, whose grace I actually stumbled on in Cologne, Germany.


Maybe next time!


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, ...