Saturday, October 31, 2015

Signed Five copies of "Places and Times"

     Tonight I signed five copies for the winners of the Goodreads giveaway, and included a card/bookmark. Later this week I will take them to a mailing place I know and off they go!
In a few minutes I will work on a sonnet; I had one to submit someplace, and it's time to listen to the muse.

     For those how think that a poet needs to wait for the muse, and answer when she calls, I wold say that they have been watching too many movies, only I do not know of many movies about poets, except this one, which does not really fit:

   Decades ago I saw it on Cinemax and really should look for it on Netflix.

    I agree with Wordsworth that "Poetry is emotion reflected in tranquility.." Since he was the only English Romantic to die at an old age, I figure he knew something. The German Romantics generally lived long lives also; I have studied them more.

Goodreads Giveaway Ended!

     496 people participated, which I think is outstanding! This week I will mail five signed copies of Places and Times to them. Will I repeat this in six months or so? I am inclined to think so.

Now on to Newberry, SC, next Saturday for a signing at Books on Main!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Coming up to All Saints Day

     This year All Saints Day and All Saints Sunday converge. My thought on this time of the Church Year began to be formed during sermon preparation, and have also been impacted by some deaths of people I know locally.

     Carrie Newcomer handles the topic as deftly and more lyrically than anyone whom I know. I post her song "All Saints Day", and also post
the lyrics even though they are on the video. Whatever your religion/spirituality/Welanschauung, there are times when you wonder about things. I know that I do, and at this time of year I have a sense of being closer to the veil.   - video'_Day   - lyrics

Thursday, October 29, 2015

More on Dylan Thomas

    Over my professional careers I have read, subscribed to, paged through countless magazines with varying degrees of regularity and interest. However, the Atlantic has been my most constant subscription, except for my deployment to Germany in 2004-2005. The Transcendentalists who founded it have served us well.

     The above article deals with Thomas' influence and his rock-star status as a poet. I will re-read when I get a chance, but that might be in a bit.

     Hopefully you can get to read before me!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Two Days left in Goodreads Giveaway of "Places and Times"

Maybe you will be one of five winners from the USA, UK, Canada or Australia!  If you do not live there, contact me if you would like a signed copy. Feel free to ask me a question or start a discussion on the page!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Happy 101st, Dylan Thomas

     I posted this elsewhere, but repost it here tonight. Back in that pivotal 12th grade English class, I remember reading "Fern Hill" and being captivated by it. A poem without rhyme, but stirring imagery. I began to wonder if I would write in the manner.

     Last week I saw a fox wandering by our woods. So I imagine that I am 'honoured among the the gay house
" at long last!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Still Four Days on the Goodreads Giveaway!

     Remember, this is for residents of the USA, UK, Canada and Australia! If you live elsewhere, I can direct you to a vendor or if you would like a signed copy, we can discuss some options.

     Ask me a question about anything on

     Right now I am writing/revising/thinking about a cycle about part of my life. Reading Rilke's Duino Elegies as given me some ideas, but this will not be an elegy! 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Book Signing at Books on Main, Newberry SC, 7 November Noon-5 PM

     I have had some copies of Places and Times here on consignment for a few months. During Newberry's Oktoberfest, I stopped in to say hello. I chatted with the owner, and with two other authors. One of them gave me some tips; both of them were from Hendersonville, NC, which is south of Asheville.

    Now I would love to schedule a reading up that way, and if they can come down this way, then I figure I can do the reverse, That is something I will work on a little later. My friend the owner of Books on Main asked if I were free in two weeks to come by for a community-wide pre-holiday sales event. While I personally think all of that is too early, I easily put my reservations aside to accept the offer.

    If you find youself down this way, come by and see me. Newberry has a few exits off I-26, and I would love to have some company!

A Miscellany Indeed

     Here are some random thoughts and observations as I prepare to head to Newberry, South Carolina;s postposed-due-to -the-1,000-Year-Storm Oktoberfest:

   It will be a nice event. Last year I met some friends there, but now they are on the West Coast. I will stop my a bookstore to see if any copies of Places and Times have sold.

   On this blog lately there have been steady hits from Portugal. Should that continues, I might have to go there. Years ago, when I had a Eurail Pass, I intended to but only made it as far as Barcelona. Also there have been some hits from Bangladesh, Guatemala, and Malta.

   Last night I was on a fun Poetry Hangout on Google +. While I knew most of the people, I met some new people.

   The Goodreads Giveaway of my afore-mentioned book has attracted 171 people, and there are still several days left. Maybe I should have thought of this before.

   After ready Rilke's Duineser Elegien (Duino Elegies) I have an idea about combining some poems I have written along with some I have to write yet about a key time in my life. Not  elegies, and no angels, although there might have been some.

    Wherever you are, I wish you joy, peace, good friends, and good reading!


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Goodreads Giveaway is on!

Do you feel lucky? Maybe you will win a signed copy of Places and Times!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Goodreads Giveaway starts for "Places and Times"

Only for people residing in the USA, UK, Canada or Australia! I am sorry to have to restrict, but at least I have three continents!

If there is enough buzz generated, there might well be another one, with other countries. Lately the blog has seen some hits from Portugal (very regularly), Slovakia (recently), as well as Bangladesh, Guatemala, and Malta.

Time will indeed tell. Wherever you are, I wish you happiness, safety, blessings, and good reading!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Rilke's Ninth Duino Elegy

     When reading the ninth elegy, I had a few recollections from that seminar at UC-Irvine from so long  ago. The image of the traveler, who does not take back the dirt to the valley as he returns from the mountain, but only the blue-yellow gentian. Also, the heart, between the hammers,  that lives on, as the tongue, caught between the teeth, keeps praising.

     The image of the traveler suggests that we cannot take the substance of our travels back with us. Many of us do take some souvenir or memento, but can that really convey the experience? I need to think through the heart between the hammers, but the tongue that praising even though surrounded by teeth is somewhat clearer to me. Rilke spends a lot of time in this Elegy on the say-able and unsay-able. Perhaps the tongue breaks through all restrictions and speaks that which cannot be easily spoken, that which gives us life and hope.

     Maybe someone knows where this image is from: I think it is German, but I am not sure. The seashell contains the sound of the sea, from whence it comes. I have a vague sense of ..."vom Meer, aus dem es herauskommt" or something like that.  Maybe someone knows!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Blick into My Creative Process

     We poets often speak of listening to the muse. While there have been a very few times when a poem comes to me thta is rare. The last time that happened, I dreamed I was in Berlin riding the U-Bahn amazed by the neon lights colored-coded by the actual line. The next day I wrote the poem in German, because I dreamed it that way. When I included it in Places and Times, I translated it into English.

     More frequently, I see something that either cries out to me to be included in a poem (to that extent I am an Imagist), or Something comes to my mind and I have to think it over. By no means do I have th eluxury of stopping everything else while I do my pondering, even when school is not in session.

     Rarely I hot it down; I have always figured that if it is meant to come into a poem, I will remember it. And should that happen, I might change it somewhat.

     Right now I am thinking of a few poems. Two I worked on a week or two ago, and actually have word-processed them, changing a little from what I scribbled down. One I did a rough draft of tonight, but have not word-processed it. This one came form a panel discussion I heard today at a conference.  The other one comes from a conversation with someone at church last week. It was my first of three Sundays in this particular parish, and someone asked me a question bout my background. This is a nice question, and certainly in order. As a result, I got to thinking about some things. Oh, there have been times, usually not in church, when the question was not so nice.

     Eventually all of these poems will appear int he manuscript for my second book, but I am at least a year away from completing it. But then again, perhaps the muse will visit be, and it will not take that long!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Goodreads Giveaway for "Places and Times"

     If you would like a chance for one of five signed copies of "Places and Times", and live in one of the countries listed below, you will be interested in this:

Congratulations! The Goodreads team has approved your giveaway for Places and Times. It is scheduled to open for entries at midnight onThursday, October 22 and end at midnight on Friday, October 30. You have selected 5 copies to give away to Goodreads members inUnited States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia.

My hopes a
re that the lucky winners will want to share what they like about the book in a review, and that even if someone does not win, they decide that this is the time to enjoy this book. Here is what a recent reviewer had to say:

Poetry is a little like art to me - I love it, it settles my soul, but I don't always understand the symbolism found in it. With "Places and Times", the author has a style that appeals to "everyman", i.e., he takes us on journeys both local and international, literal and spiritual. Sometimes the reflections are deep and multi-layered ("Return to Parnassus" and "The Island"), other times they are mundane and dotted with humor ("My Life in 180 Seconds" and "Thinking I Saw Emma Thompson on the Number 1 Line"). This book of poetry will be a welcome addition to any home library, and a wonderful well to take sips of now and then! 

The event starts soon! 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

ee cummings birthday was 14 october!

     No, I have not lost my marbles, nor have I forgot how to punctuate! It seems fitting to observe ee cummings' birthday (from the year 1894) by not capitalizing anything.

     During World War I he served in France as medical support. Due to the unusual style of writing, he was detained as a German spy (letters were censored), but he was released.

He was influenced by some of the 20th Century greats, and in turned influenced many,

Some of his poems:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ralph Vaughan Williams Again with a Lark!

     When I play this in class while students read, I explain the literary topos of the lark and show how the violin in this piece symbolizes the lark's rising. Every so often I will get a request for it later on.

Here is Shakespeare's sonnet that references the lark:

And here is George Meredith's poem that actually inspired Williams:

Speaking of poetry, a student has an assignment in Creative Writing to research a poet and asked me I I cold be that poet. Neat!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Happy Belated Birthday, Ralph Vaughan Williams!

     As much as I love classical music, I cannot honestly say that I have always done so. Back in junior high school music classes, most of the music made no sense to me. But Williams' "English Folk Song Suite" was something to which I could relate, since I liked folk music and was trying to play the guitar.

     While at Penn State, I temporarily left the daily campus newspaper staff and worked as a news reporter for the campus radio station, then with the call letters WDFM. Gradually I planned public affairs programming, and then was asked to take over the Third Program (name from the BBC's Third Programme), the classical music show.

    No, I had not learned about classical music by then. I could run a staff, mostly of music majors, tell them to put the records back in good order (which  had painstakingly organized). Additionally, I could pronounce most of the names of composers, conductors, and musicians since I was a German major and could figure out the non-Germanic names.I also did a show myself.

    Now I like played Williams for my students when they read Mythology, or when I write myself at home. Delius also is good. I love the lushness of the strings and the mood created by them.

     Williams was born in Down Ampney, UK, 12 October 1872. Down Ampney is in the Cotswold in Gloucestershire. My wife and I skirted the region on our honeymoon.

    What kind of music helps you be creative?   the Pastoral , or 3rd Symphony of Williams.

Monday, October 12, 2015

No, I am Not Becoming Enmeshed in UK Politics, But it's a Good Poem

     There are many times that I do not want to get involved in US politics. Oh, I have opinions, and I know the party I likely will support in any race at any level, That's why I do not feel the need to enter the fray.

     For UK publications I monitor the Guardian, although I prefer the Times, I prefer more strongly not paying. Today I noticed a story about Labour leader Corbyn and a poem, so naturally I was intrigued.

   Without taking partisan sides, I really like what I saw of the poem. Especially I liked the references to the "better angels of our natures" (not an exact quote from the poem);l the reference started with Shakespeare (Othello), passed through (Barnaby Rudge) but resonates most with Abraham Lincoln's First Inaugural Address.
h Dickens, (

For a self-educated person, Lincoln put us all to shame.

Read the articles, and savor some poetry that speaks to you. And if you hear the muse, write some!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Have to Bow Out of the Rosewood Arts Festival

 The Flood of the Century (which I assume will be what we call the severe storm and flooding mainly in South Carolina recently). postponed the Rosewood Arts Festival in Columbia, SC. The rescheduled date for various reasons could only be Sunday, 25 October.

   Originally I was going to bow out, because that is Reformation Sunday, a major event for Lutheran Christians such as myself. Two years ago I reluctantly gave that up so I cold attend a high school reunion near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

     Now I am going to give it up, because I was asked to extend a short-term stint as supply priest in an Episcopalian parish near by by a week. You guessed it; 25 October, Reformation Sunday, which they do not observe officially. But they had a last-minute cancellation, and I had to leave people in the lurch if I can do anything about it.

     If you can attend the Festival, please go! I hope to be there next year. There is some poetry in all this, but it has not come to me yet.

     The meme is from that trip north for the high school reunion.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

I Should Have Posted This.....

....with Skylark Hattee's brilliant take on Profrock, but I did not for whatever reason.

     Another good writer friend, Shilpa Sandesh, posted this and I was completely stunned to see that Monica Lewinsky not only likes TS Eliot, but also is a, for lack of a better work, Prufrockian!

Time for an Idyll

    Today it's raining again in South Carolina! We do not need any more rain, but there is nothing we can do about it. I think it's time for an idyll, so I am posting a Soundcloud reading of a poem.Escapism, to be sure, but there is nothing else to do! Come with me!

Idyll: The Meadow and the Muse

In strong sunlight green leaves shimmer
Underneath a sky of deepest, vibrant blue.
The meadow extends between two streams
That sparkle downhill towards a lake
Serving as genesis for a meandering river.

She glides along the copses
Examining myriads of flowers
In red, purple, orange and white,
Rainbowing at forest’s verge
Under hanging wisteria between boughs,
Inhaling the fragrances as dew dries.

From a distance I observe her
With my back resting against an oak.
She personifies elegance and sensuality
In slow motion.
As the sun ascends above the rolling hills
She will have come close enough to me
To hear the verses I have composed
As if words could express the loveliness
Of all that I glimpsed.

Arthur Turfa ©  2014

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Gail Zappa Dies- Widow of Frank Managed His Legacy

     Many people would be amazed that Frank and Gail Zappa had a happy, 26-year marriage, ended only by his death. Gail managed the Zappa Family Trust, and dare I say it, she kept it from becoming "strictly chimerical"?

     Gail knew Jim Morrison of the Doors from kindergarten; their fathers were Navy officers. She was part of the creative Laurel Canyon community from the late 1960s and supported Frank in his work. It is a shame that she will not be able to attend the premiere of the documentary that will be released shortly.

   A link form the UK Daily Mail with several good pictures:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

TS Eliot would be pleased

     If you have read this blog for any length of time, then you know my admiration for TS Eliot and "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock".  The other day when I read Skylark Hatee;s poem inspired by his masterpiece, I had tw
o reactions. First, I was absolutely blown away. Second, I messaged her asking for permission to share on the blog.

     Skylark is one of the newest friends I have form New Jersey. She is a fellow English teacher;whoever is fortunate to learn from her is blessed beyond belief. I thank her for allowing me to post her awesome work here, and for being a friend!

A poem inspired by T.S. Eliot's "Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock" with a twist:

The Wearied Love Song of Her:

And so it is here with you and I
Sitting by the morning cakes and tea
You said you liked your coffee black
And I winced a smile or two
For the room was delicately laid out 
Like a Victorian painting or 
A beautiful scene from 
Some novel of Proust's

You tenderly looked 
Up at me and proclaimed:
"La giornata è lunga la mia cara"*
And I willingly agreed
For like Prufrock's love song
Why would I 
"Force the moment to its crisis!"**

Push past the door 
Albeniz's "Leyenda" 
Fills the corridor...

And so it is my dear 
That I have to tread 
Around your song and dance
With the most delicate of feet
Taking care not to trip
On the discordant tunes 
Of your symphony
Lest I should shatter 
The porcelain chinaware!

But should the delicate pieces 
Fall and shatter
My darling t'would not matter
Lest you assume my ego is 
A thing made of such 
Gossemary frivolities 
That I would fall apart 
With the slightest 
Furrowing of your brow

Push past the door and
Albeniz's "Leyenda"
Fills the corridor...

I should have joined a convent 
And devoted myself 
To spiritual matters
Though to you I may seem 
Like some Eleanor of Aquitaine
With my silk laced camisoles
My velvet gloves and silver broach
I neatly use my locks to pin

Seven years and counting
I refuse to eat the delicacies 
You have given me
Do I dare eat a dark mint 
Chocolate covered plum
While your eyes pierce mine? 

But alas this illusion must shatter!
For I have wept and prayed
Prayed and wept 
For some divine intervention
Regarding this matter!

Push past the door and
Albeniz's "Leyenda"
Fills the corridor...

I grow weary... I grow weary 
With each passing day
That perhaps some diamond 
Would surface from within
And once again you look 
Up at me and proclaim:
"La giornata è lunga la mia carra"

And once again I float
Into the iridescent 
Sea of your melody 
Until the clarion call of reality 
Summons me forth
And in its echoing scream I drown
Within an impossible dream

Push past the door and
Albeniz's "Leyenda" 
fills the corridor...

© 2015 Skylark Hatee

* "La giornata è lunga la mia cara" in Italian translates to "The day is long my dear."

** from T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

Monday, October 5, 2015

Life After the Storm, and more Rilke

    The leaning tall pine over our driveway will be cut down in a day or so. There is massive flooding in and around Columbia, about 35 miles from us. We have been spared the worst, and feel very blessed.
    One of the great things about social media is that we can contact many people at once. Some of my high school classmates are also down here, as it turns out. My largest Facebook group comes from Plymouth-Whitemarsh High.

     While I am doing some schoolwork, writing my homilies for the month, and other things, I am finally working on some Rilke. I am blown away by him, more than I was so long ago when I had the chance to study him in graduate school.

     Click on the link for the Second elegy, and let me tell you that the tree is leaning a bit more today.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

When it Rains, You Sell From Home...and some Rilke

     Never-seen-before flooding all over South Carolina and the region this weekend cancelled all sorts of things. The Rosewood Arts Festival, Newberry's Oktoberfest, and religious services even! Interstates are closed and everyone is advised to stay at home.

    When contacting a friend and colleague, I asked if she had ever gotten my book; actually if her husband had. He has poetic interests and I have suggested a few groups to check out. She appreciated the reminded and posted that she had bought the book. Hopefully I can sign it for her soon.

     Several people commented on my "Myriad of Songs" poem I posted yesterday. One asked about others, and a few comments/minutes later, I gave her options for buying.  eLectio Publishing actual
ly is the best deal for all concerned, but I let people decide what works for them. In this case, a signed copy will be going out in the near future.

     After I read some sonnets from my scholars, I will read more of Rilke's "Duino Elegies". Here is a link to the first one:

May melody by your sole comfort and enchantment!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

New Poem! Hopefully in Second Book Eventually!

     Applying some of the things I learned this past summer, here is a new poem with shorter lines and different breaks. I would appreciate feedback. Thanks from the Moonsoon Weekend in the Midlands. 

Myriad of Songs

On occasion we met at Castalia
Splashing in the revivifying waters
Trying to render
The spring’s sweet music
Into our own verses.

Singing of places we knew
Inspired by the same voices
Sharing ones that enthused us
Gladdening hearts
Elating spirits.

Eventually stilled the songs
But echoes lingering
Through pleasant forests
Branches catching
Euphonious notes.

Standing again at the fountain
Fleeting whispers memorized
From what was sung
Savoring each word, each line.

Then gazing seaward
Toward wide-reaching waves
Searching for strains
Of your enchanting counterpoint.
At times I hear remnants
Of muted melodies
Lingering on the breeze
Wafting around me
Then soaring aloft
Far from me.

When I gaze at the sky
You I see again
Resting beside Castalia again.
In your smile the light
Of a thousand suns
And in the air
A myriad of songs.

Arthur Turfa, copyright 2015

Friday, October 2, 2015

Rosewood Arts Festival Posponed

     The South Carolina Midlands expects about a foot of rain over the next few days. A major storm from the Gulf of Mexico will be joined by rain from Hurricane Joaquin. Countless events have been cancelled or postponed.

     It will be a good time to be thankful for protection, for a nice house, family, and the chance to relax, read some Rilke, watch some football, and hope the Internet stays working.

     An appropriate song for the weekend comes from the Beatles:

     Be safe, wherever you are!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Signed up for Skype

     At the suggestion of a distant friend, I followed her lead and created a Skype account. Google+ Hangouts work fine, but he mentioned Skype, and so I took the step.

     Decades ago, these ways of communication belong in science fiction stories and in the dreams of a few creative people; I do not include myself in that sort of creativity. And now, they are a few minutes away.

     A short post tonight, but I will close by saying that it looks like Hurricane Joaquin's surrounding rainstorms will postpone Saturday's Rosewood Arts Festival in Columbia, SC. The announcement will be made tomorrow at noon.  But there re many ways to obtain a copy of Places and Times. If anyone wants a signed copy, message/.contact me and I can make it happen!

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, ...