Monday, September 28, 2015

Bi-lingual selected "Sonnets to Orpheus"

     I posted in my Mythology class Edmodo site Robert Hunter's English translation of Rilke's masterpiece. Here is a link to about half of them, from Cliff Crego:

"Gesang ist Dasein/ Song is being"   III. Sonnet

Rilke wrote all 55 of these in about a month. At the time he was finishing the "Duino Elegies".  I feel like such a slacker.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Of Metaphor and Munyori

     One of the things I have always enjoyed is encouraging people to use their talents. Long before Pay it Forward came into common speech, people have done that for millenia. What I can do today comes in no small part from people who encouraged me.

     Last night I checked two publications where I have been printed, and to my pleasant surprise, found that I am still listed on their sites. Metaphor Magazine from the Philippines and Kenya's Munyori Literary Journal list me among their contributors. On a hunch, I asked the latter to consider reviewing Places and Times, and they are willing to do so.!ourcontributors/cihc

     Actually I have been in two editions of Metaphor, and it was my appearing in Munyor
i that convinced me that I had an audience out there in the wide world.  Those are comforting thoughts after an unsuccessful session today at a local establishment; not their fault, success was not in the cards. But I did use the time to catch up on some magazine reading. I did enjoy a special event at the White Rose Artisan boutique in West Columbia, where my book is on consignment.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Great Time at TYCA-SC

    Today's Two-Year College Association-South Carolina Conference in Sumter, South Carolina, could not have been better! I saw some friends, made some new ones, gave a 30-minute reading that was well-received, and networked for some future events. Additionally, I learned some things I can use in my classrooms.

     Rhonda Grego, who had the idea to invite me to read today, said some very nice things. She is a former English Department chair at Midlands Technical College,. We share Penn State and some ties to Western Pennsylvania. I've been an adjunct at Midlands for a decade now (where does time go?) and have no plans to stop anytime soon.
     Reading to an audience of fellow English instructors could be intimidating, but doing such things never stopped me before. They of course knew some of my English literary allusions, and a few caught some of the others. One colleague said he even learned a new word: "thalassic".

    My poet friend Len Lawson, from Morris College across town (he also adjuncts at Central Carolina Technical College, site of the conference) took the pictures. I will also include the link again to my poem "Brief Elegy for a Burned-out Church" from his Poets Respond to Race site.

    I debited my new "English teacher sportcoat".


Thursday, September 24, 2015

"Soul Fragments"

     Almost as enjoyable as writing poetry is meeting other poets and writers, even if it is only in cyberspace. About six months ago I purchased an e-book version of "Soul Fragments". For some time before I had known Shilpa Sandesh, admired her work, and then got to know her through commenting and chatting.

     Recently, Shilpa created a Facebook author page, and I encourage you all to check it out. There is a fascinating article she posted about an unlikely T.S. Eliot fan.

    Now to prepare for tomorrow's reading.........


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Now on Weebly

     A friend at school suggested I share a bit more about what goes on in my classroom and things that happen from it. Weebly was somewhat know to me, so I gave it a go! It is a work in progress if there ever was one.  Let me know what you think!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Three Events Close Together!

     The first, and there is no link for it, is reading at the TYCA-SC Conference at Central Caro
lina Technical College, in Sumter, SC., 12:45-1:15 pm This will be to a group of peers, but I wanted to post it because it is a great honor.

   This is at Lexington, SC's original Starbucks, NOT the one by the Interstate.

    And this is at a prestigious arts fair.!

C.K. Williams, Poet, Dies at 78

    C.K. Williams, 2000 Pulitzer Prize winner, has died at age 78. I was vaguely familiar with the name, but not the poems. After reading a few of them, and snippets of others, I am certainly going to read some more. 

   Here is one of the many pieces written about this week:

I conclude with a quote of his:

C. K. Williams

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Preparing for Next Friday's Reading

     Not only will I be reading for a group of peers (English instructors at technical colleges
(junior or community colleges for those of you unfamiliar with the post-secondary two-year education in the South), but I will have a 30-minute time frame. However, that is generous to be reading at a conference, and I appreciate it.

     I will select some of the more educational and Southern poems from "Places and Times", and add two or three which I intend for the second book.  Here is one of them:

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

Ask me a question... and here's a friend's book!

 Some of you know about Goodreads, and some of you probably have author's pages there, or at least check them out. If you would like to ask me a question about writing, what inspires me, or anything at all, click on the link and ask me a question, please!

 If you want to read some prose, click on this link to learn about my friend's and fellow eLectio Author's new book! Beth Hammond is the author>

My Facebook author page is now at 403 likes! I dread what will happen when the "Dislike" option is available.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Honored to be included here

     Mine is one of several poems addressing the unsolved burning of several black congregations in the South. I am honored to be included here, but sad for the reason.

Rosewood Arts Festival Draws closer!!!! And Beth Hammond's Book is Out!!!

     By far this is the largest fair in which I have participated. They also seem to be the best-organized, and I am glad that they gave me the honor to be with them. Maybe it will be an annual event! they even are using our modest fees to provide tentage! How cool is that!

     For those of you who cannot attend any of these fairs where I am, and would like a signed copy, message/contact me and we can arrange for it to happen. For about $5.00 over list price, I can get you a signed copy!

Also, my friend and fellow eLectio author Beth Hammond "The sound of the Stones" was released today by eLectio Publishing! Check it out!!/The-Sound-of-the-Stones-Paperback/p/54764602/category=4758361

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Another Nice Thing Happened

     At a recent festival, I sold a book to a friend who said she would get me a check at work. We work in the same school district, but at different locations. Inter-office mail works, and with the check wa
s a card with a really sweet note.

     My friend said she read a poem from the book to a local artsits' group. That really touched me, and of course I will let her know. She also said some nice things about the book and about myself.

    For my next book, I intend to be more intentional about arranging the poems. But for this one, I have gotten a lot of positive feedback about the opening poem, which I run here again:

At times I want to ride
At times I want to ride a chestnut horse
over wide, undulating, endless steppes,
with hooves pounding out a staccato beat,
our heads lowered to enhance speed,
pointing toward the elusive white stag
ever within our sight, ever out of reach,
leading to verdant valley far away.

Years ago I only kept the gas tank half-full
in my ’72 Duster slant 6.
Great was the temptation to drive beyond
the mountains hazy with residual smog,
looming as I dropped from the 55
on slender concrete ribbon down to the
San Diego Freeway towards Irvine.
The time had not come for me to leave.

Now my life no longer fits into a car.
The white stag has blended into the mists
and I am content to be where I am.
Dismounting, I set the horse to pasture

and sit sheltered by the tall pine trees.

Arthur Turfa, copyright, 2015 "Places and Times"

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Roberto Clemente Day

     Not only because he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates is R Clemente my all-time favorite baseball player. His statistics on the field are stellar. The charitable work that he performed until the last hour of his life is astounding.

     Since Roberto left us on 31 December 1972, all sports have been hit by scandals involving players, many of them stars. Roberto sets a better example. and his name is deservedly honored to this day.

     I was fortunate to have seen him play about a dozen times. There are not enough superlatives to describe his talent, as a fielder and at the plate. Nut his fame extended far beyond the  diamond. As one of the first Hispanic players in Major League Baseball, he blazed the way for others. His reputation was such that the Somoza regime would not allow the much-needed relief to Nicaragua to disappear. For this reason he left a hastily-loaded plane from Puerto Rico on that deadly night.

    Many of my international readers may not know about him. I post a few links. One from a Pittsburgh newspaper, the second from Baseball Hall of Fame, and the last is about a biography.   The first chapter is a winsome view of Pittsburgh in the 1950s.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Unexpected but delightful surprise

    For the past ten years I have taught English as an Adjunct at Midlands Technical College here in South Carolina. For those of you elsewhere, it actually is a community or junior college in all but   name.

    I have been invited to give a thirty-minute reading on Friday, 25 September, at the TYCA-SC conference, to be held in Sumter, SC. There is a lot that I can learn from the conference of English instructors, and I hope to contribute something meaningful at this reading. It will be nice exposure for me.

    I hope that you also have many unexpected by delightful surprises heading
your way!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Feedback- A post from a friend's blog

     Of course we think most everything we write is superb. When we do want some feedback, usually we are hoping to hear how superb it was. My friend H,R, Hook posted an article that is very instructive. The link is below:

Saturday, September 12, 2015

What a week!

     I had been getting ready for selling at Columbia. S.C.'s Rosewood Arts Festival on 3 October, and a reading at the original Lexington, SC Starbucks on Sunday, 27 September.

     Then I was asked to read on 25 September in Sumter, SC, at a conference of English instructors from several midstate technical college systems. No problem there.

     Earlier today with the Palmetto Penn state Club watching the game in Columbia, SC, a few friends bought books and laid the groundwork for me to sell at one of our game-watching events. One of the servers said she would go on-line, as well as some other alumni.

     Tonight I found out that a poem was accepted for a website on a site about an on-going social problem in the South. Nice to know that art is not only for its own sake, but to make a point. More on that when it appears.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Back to Espanola

     Tonight I heard from a former students from Espanola Valley High School, Espanola, NM. That was my first teaching position, and I left there we years ago. My former student was in the Army, like, as were his father, sister, and other relatives. I came close to being deployed from New Mexico during Desert Shield; those thoughts on are on mind on this 9/11 anniversary.

     The poem is from "Places and Times":

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"The Blimp" by Captain Beefheart

     Don Van Vliet's parents moved from New York to California, and carefully selected a house in a good school district so that he would not fall in with the wrong sort of people.

     Van Vliet met Frank Zappa.  Need I say more? That is Frank speaking at the beginning and the end of the recording.     -video  - lyrics

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A verse than inspired me

     Even during those years when I was not writing poetry, I would think of the fifth verse of G>M> Hopkins' "The Wreck of the Deutschland" when getting the paper from the mailbox on dark mornings, especially in colder weather, when the stars shone more brightly:

     I kiss my hand
      To the stars, lovely-asunder
   Starlight, wafting him out of it; and
      Glow, glory in thunder;
Kiss my hand to the dappled-with-damson west:
Since, tho' he is under the world's splendour and wonder,
    His mystery must be instressed, stressed;
For I greet him the days I meet him, and bless when I understand.

This morning I saw the stars vividly, and my 15 Words a Day Challenge piece was:

Against deep-black sky
brilliance of starlight
descending to earth
raising eyes
to constellations and more
Arthur Turfa, copyright, 2015

I think Gerard Manley Hopkins would approve.  Check out the site on Facebook and Google+ and add your 15 Words a Day. It does help keep a writer in practice. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

It's time for Collections

     Not like on "The Sopranos", where people go around picking up envelopes of cash to pass on to Tony. Having noticed that some of my friends have formed collections for things that are special to them, I decided to do so as well.

     My first one features Places and Times. my first book of poetry. There are two more as of now. One shows some of the musicians, singers, and composers whom I like; this is extremely eclectic. you might find some you love, and some you cannot stand. The third has writers whom I admire; this one is not so diverse, but I am still working on all of the collections.

     I would love some input on some collections that you would like to see me make. What would you like me to create? What might be good for me to add?

     Here's the link:

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A blog from a it's not poetry at all!

     A little-known fact about me is that for one cross country season, I was a coach. It came with the job; I was at the school one year, and afterwards the school contracted with someone in the community who knew more about it than I did. But I was a coach, and I took it seriously.

     Back then I could run behind the team during most practices, and I was in excellent shape. Many of my colleagues over the years have or are coaches, and some of them are my closest friends. We respect each other for what we are, and we appreciate what we do.

     Ben Ehrlich is an assistant baseball coach and a friend. His passion is Sports Psychology, which he currently is developing by clients and a blog. The above link to his blog shows that. I am honored to include it on my list of blogs I follow.

     Maybe the Pirates will use him and he can get us tickets! My physician cousin almost worked for the team years ago, and we would have been set.

     Even if you are not into sports, I think you can get some ideas from Ben's blog.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Reflecting on the Blythewood Butterfly Festival

 What a fantastic event! The first-ever Blythewood Butterfly Festival has ended. I sold some books, and some folks said they would buy in on-line. My new cards were passed out liberally, which was a big help. I saw friends, and made new ones.Doko Manor is a wonderful setting for anything.

    Some of the new friends operate the 302 Aristans in Columbia's Vista section. Here is a link to their Facebook page:  Blythewood Butterfly Festival

     There will be 10 copies of "Places and Times" there on consignment. We are talking about some poetry events. They are even open to some workshops when and if I have the time and confidence to lead them (Columbia has a lot of fine poets, and I can and do learn form them).

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Improving on Something Already Good!

     Yesterday morning as I turned onto the Interstate, Sirius XM's Classic Vinyl played Cream's "I'm So Glad" cover of Skip James' song. I thought the announcer said it was Elmore James, but I was watching traffic and may have not heard correctly.

     A high school friend showed me how to play the early bass part on the song. That's as far as I got which is why I write! The country blues song becomes something else great with Cream, as Clapton masterfully adds a psychedelic dash to the guitar.

    We all built on each other, no matter what our talents are. First Skip, then Cream!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Rimbaud and Morrison

     Contrary to what many people thought, or think, 1960s underground/countercultural musicians read voraciously. The Doors took their name from Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception. They envisioned themselves as the doors opening to new realities.  i carried a German edition purchased on my fir
st trip there in 1973; I had been told that the book was banned in the USA, but then how did the Doors read it? Maybe it was "banned in Boston" for a time.

     It was natural that Jim Morrison gravitated toward Arthur Rimbaud. Both wanted to turn the artistic world of their time upside down, and both also led lifestyles that went against the grain. Rimbaud lived longer, of course. Morrison could not read French, but read all of Rimbaud he could find in translation.

     Of course, Morrison died young in Paris, and is buried in Père-Lachaise cemetery there, where many artists rest. Rimbaud traveled throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East,, but returned home to France to die.

     I post a few links about these two poets for you to read, and also a video, where Morrison speaks at  the end, perhaps to Rimbaud. "o you remember when we were in Africa?"  - On the two poets video of "Wild Child"   The English translation I checked had spelling errors.  about Rimbaud   - about Morrison

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, ...