Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year! 2016

    It was a wonderful year. Places and Times appeared from eLectio Publihing, I gave some readings, went to some book signings, and was blessed far more than I deserve.

   Thanks to all of you for dropped by this page, who follow it, who comment, and who spent some of your time with me chatting. I really enjoy it all! God bless and I hope to become more involved in 2016!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Article about Friend and Fellow Poet Al Black

     Free Times does a fantastic job in and around Columbia, SC. They often probe where the mainstream media does not. Al Black told me recently there would be an article about him appearing. I only wish they had mentioned his book I Only Left for Tea. I have appeared at Al's Mind Gravy, and will do so again. From him I borrow the term "transplanted". For me it help avoid the Southern Writer label, as if only those actually born here can so anything from a "Southern" perspective.

    What Al does for poetry in these parts is amazing. He has broadened the scope of poetry and brought it to more people. As he does it, he keeps a low profile and if very generous. I am proud to call him my friend.

    And by the way, he has a publisher for his book; he does not do it himself. He and I are both fortunate in having publishers who believe in us,

    Bravo, Al! 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Jim Autry "Life After Mississippi"

     What a wonderful day! A few errands with my wife, Pam, the new Star Wars movie, picking up Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti 40th Anniversary Edition (playing in the background), and now between sips of a Paulaner Hefe-Weizen, blogging about a treasure I found at the record store in a FREE bin, Jim Autry's 1989 Life After Mississippi.

     Pam was not born in Mississippi, but moved there young enough for her to call it home. I picked up the book, showed it to her, and said, "Why not?" We are glad that I did. So far I have read only a few, but they are superb poems that convey an image/story in winsome language. From  "Ordination":  "They came through rain/ wrestling the wheels of their out-of-country cars.."

    I will certainly finish the volume in a few days, and also want to make contact with the
poet.   Only a few times I have done that, and while I do not always hear back for whatever reason, I know how important that is. Today I received a Chrsitmas card from a poet friend Down Under.

   Here is the poet's page:

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Powerful True Story

     One of the things I have enjoyed over the last year and more is interacting with fellow writers, especially from eLectio Publishing, my publisher. recently I was able to read a copy of Darcy Leech's book about the illness that devastated her family, but which did not prevent her from rising above the situation and finding fulfilment in her own life.

    From My Mother is a powerful story told in a straightforward fashion. Darcy's coming-of-age narrative will draw you in and will let you know how not even genetic disease can destroy the human spirit and a strong legacy.

And here is a link to Darcy's blog!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Blog Interview in the Works

     A Goodreads writer friend will be interviewing me on her blog sometime in 2016. More details later, but it is a great thing and I wanted to talk about it now. Speaking of Goodreads, you can ask me a question.   Scroll don to "Ask the author" and leave me a question. When I respond, it will all appear!

    Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, Happy Holidays for everyone else! Glad to be part of your lives!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

"The Island" now on Soundcloud

     A friend said that she wished I would record this one. It has been well-received, and I am glad to post this. I hope that she, and everyone else, appreciates it. This is one of my favorites from Places and Times.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

      Of all the Christmas hymns, "O Come, All Ye Faithful" holds a special place in my heart. Those who know me well may wonder, since it is not German at all. Maybe it is because the first foreign language I formally studied was Latin. That someone actually wrote a Latin hymn in the 18th Century intrigued me. On Christmas Eve I still sing the first verse in Latin.

     Years later I learned the Jacobite origins of the hymn. Genetically it means little to me. I suppose I should support the Hanoverians. Perhaps the 2000 US presidential election caused me to think of Jacobitism. I remember at least one military dinner where I passed my hand over the glass for the "president in this care" across the waters. But it was not water! LOL.

   Two links about the theme:

Some good alternative history:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Solstice!

     This is a neat cartoon that came out when the song did! Now the days grow slightly longer. Whatever this season means to you, I think we could agree that light is better than darkness on several levels, and that light conquers darkness. My we all be the light where we are.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Another Five Star Review

Places and Times is a beautiful book, descriptive and revelatory as the poems take us along on travels and adventures in Europe and America. Walt Whitman and Robert Frost came to mind as I read, although the author's style is unique, expressing at once wisdom, nostalgia, reverence, and humor. An authentic and inspiring read, I highly recommend this collection.  - Robert Lampros, poet, autor of Fits of Tranqulity

Thursday, December 17, 2015

What or Who to do on 19 March?

    In an earlier post I mentioned how early 2016 is getting busy.Today I agreed to present something at the March meeting of the American Association of Teachers of German-South Carolina meeting. Whatever I do will be poetry-based. Perhaps I will do something about Rilke.

    Next semester I will have my highest-level German class, so I can try something out with them. I have been reacquainting myself with Rilke, so this sounds like a plan.

    Here id a goof link to German poetry, with excellent readings:    

I have used it several times before.  Stay tuned for further developments.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I Twit, no, I Tweet....Well, I;m on Twitter     That's the account I use for school, writings, etc. Right now I have 71 followers. I wonder how many more I will get, and from how many places, after this?

A few years back PM David Cameron came a cropper with some remarks about people who twitter, as I call. The image in my mind was of Monty Python's Upper Class Twits. But I understand things better now.

I even used a hash tag twice today! And I even earned some badges!

That reminds me of a song from Cream:

Monday, December 14, 2015

Another five-star review for Places and Times: 

 "A collection of well crafted poems with an emphasis on sensory detail, Places and Times 

takes the reader on a word voyage across America. The author's voice is resonant and wise, 

soft and searching. My favorite was "The Island". I'd love the chance to hear Arthur recite 

some of his poetry as the smooth lines invite a personal connection and 

human aspect."

Thanks so much!

Any other reviews out there? I would love to see them! 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Fabulous Surprise! Thanks, Kathryn Robson@

   UK author Kathryn Robson paid me the honor (or honour, I should say) of devoting some of her blog space to me and directing people to my blog. I am genuinely touched and very appreciative. Many thanks, Kathryn!    I encourage everyone who stops by my blog to see Kathryn's. I am impressed and will be spending more time here reading about her YA works and anything else she posts. I will also link it to mine , making me even more international!
blog list

Saturday, December 12, 2015

At Another Milestone for the Blog...Some Words

     Since this blog has passed the 25,000 hits milestone, I want to reflect on a thign or two and also comment on what I hope to do here. Impetus for the latter point is that some of the Indi Autor groups I have joined on Facebook currently highlight members' blogs, and I want to welcome some people.

     A writer friend described  a blog as a "place to let your freak flag fly", as opposed to a Facebook author page. That flag waves high and proudly here. Certainly I have talked about my first book of poetry, Places and Times, as I counted down to publication. Since 7 April 2015, I have chronicied various readings, signings, and the like.  I will do the same for future publications.

     "Some Poetry: Poetry and Thoughts by Arthur Turfa" explores my preferences in literature, music, and anything else that comes to mind. I try not to be political or to pontificate. It has been my good fortune to have traveled a lot, met some amazing people, to have had some extraordinary experiences/influences, and I want to share them with you.

    Of those 25,000+ hits, about 80% have been from the USA. The next three countries are Russia, Germany, and the UK. I do have some regular followers from Portugal, France, and India. In all, 66 countries have at one time or another logged on.

    I am also on Goodreads and Amazon for author pages. Check me out on Facebook, both my personal and professional page. On Google+ I have over 261,000 hits, several collections, and serve as a moderator on Words on Fire and Peppered Poets communities. You can also find me on Twitter and Weebly. The latter two mix in some of my school-related events. I am not going to give you a plethora of links. You are savvy enough to find me and if there is a glitch, contact me here.

    Please let me here from you! I love the contact and love finding out what influences you!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Fan Mail Today!

     Awaiting me in the mailbox was a letter from a reader of Places and Times. It was a very nice,m personal letter. Let me share a little of it with you:

     "You have a way of bringing poetry to life in the daily activities through word pictures. That is a splendid way to reach the reader's imagination."

     This reader perceives what I intend to do. While poetry indeed often has great thoughts and/or emotions, poetry can also imbue ordinary things with a sense of something else.  A few remarks follow about some of the poems, and it is a nice letter.

     What always interests me is what readers "find" in my poems, Sometimes I nod in agreement, and at other times, I nod and think "I never thought of it that way, but it makes sense."

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Good Time to Post This

     During my second year in seminary a friend lent me a copy of the Final Entries- 1945 by one of history's most malevolent figures, Dr. Josef Goebbels.

    Too many people in this world knowingly tell lies over and over again until some people believe them. Goebbels had a limp, and some German laughed behind his back, recalled the proverbs "Der Teufel hinkt."  (The devil limps).

    I pray that we are not descending again into barbarism and hatred. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

2016 Events are lining up!

     Even before 2015 ends, there are three events I already! more details as they come in, but for now, suffice it to say that:

  • late January the Coogler Festival in Blythewood, SC. Once again with students at lovely Doko Manor, scene of my first-ever poetry reading!  I can sell books there.
  • early March, a Meet and Greet for local authors at the Irmo Branch Library of the Lexington County, SC system. I can sell books there as well.    
  •  late April at an event in Aiken SC. I need to reserve and pay for that one, but I should be able to arrange that soon enough. It's a book signing event.     

     As always, if you would like a signed copy of "Places and Times for yourself or a friend/family member, message me and we can work something out!


Monday, December 7, 2015

Favorite Songs Collection Started

     So far there are five, and about five hundred more to come! I cannot help all of the "Skip after x Seconds" and all that. But you can ee what I like and has inspired me.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Lovely Version of a Christmas Carol I Did Not Know

     One benefit of being on the road early Sunday mornings is the opportunity to listen to "the folk show on Sirius XM's "The Bridge". There used to be a separate channel, but that went the way of all radio channels with low ratings.

    Today I heard Steeleye Span's excellent recording of Edward Caswall's "See Amid the Winter's Snow" Originally a priest in the Church of England, Caswell was in the Oxford Movement and became a Roman Catholic priest. There are supposed to be some verses deemed "too Catholic" for Anglican and Protestant hymnals, but I could not find them.   Maddy Prior really lets loose on this one!

A brief bio on Casewall:

I include a picture of the Lady Chapel at St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church, Aiken SC, an Anglo-Catholic parish where I was fortunate to have filled in as supply priest for three weeks.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

How Many Songs Do you Know That Are Based on the "Song of Solomon"?

 There is this from Steeleye Span!

  The lyrics:

What a Day, What a Day

     After I woke up I eased into everything,went for a thorough workout, and got prepared for the Open Mic at the Richland County Northeast Branch. That's right, the one I've been posting all over the place!

    Between the gym and the library, I checked on how my consignment books were doing at 302 Artisans in Columbia.   I met the owners in September at the Bythewood Butterfly Festival, and we hit it off. I missed a local television station crew by a few minutes, but did discuss having a reading there in the coming months. In the back of my mind I am thinking about a March library regional author session, and an April fair.

     Not all of my student poets showed, and the general public did not show up, but we had a great time. I sold a few books but more importantly, helped nurture some young poets. They would have been fine anyway, but I am glad to have been there for and with them. Afterwards I spoke with the library about doing a workshop sometime.

     Back at home, I eventually got to the computer and found an invitation to become a moderator at Peppered Poets. PP considers itself to be a guild, where poets help each other perfect their craft. It is a wonderful idea, but it does require some time and commitment for everyone involved. since I consider it an honor to be asked, I accepted at once.

    Ironically, the timing is interesting. Yesterday I messaged a poet whom I respect . In the course of our conversation she noted she had not seen much from me. I explained how contractually, my publisher limits how much from the book I post. Other places to where I submit do not accept things already on the Internet. My comment to my friend was that I avoided sites, primarily on Facebook, that are "like-for-like" clubs. or are popularity contests. Take a look at the artists/writers whom I admire, and you can see why. Zappa, Waylon Jennings, Bukowski, et al.

    What a day, what a day!





Friday, December 4, 2015

Frank Zappa, RIP, 4 December 1993

     Twenty-two years already? So much has happened in this world, and there are times I wish Frank were here to cut through some of the nonsense and speak his mind, whether on music, politics, society, or anything. Of course he was not always correct; none of us is. but he had substance that is sorely lacking.

     I am going to post a link to his parody of "Sgt. Pepper", entitled "We're Only In It For the Money". the double irony is that there was not much money pouring in from the album, and that the Beatles admitted that the Mother of Invention's "Freak Out influenced their concept album.

    According to the liner notes, Zappa suggested that one read Franz Kafka's"In the Penal Colony" before listening to the album. My brother had a copy in an anthology of German short stories that he had for a college class, so I read it and got ready to learn about Camp Reagan. Oh, what Frank could have done about Trump et alia!

   A reposting of my poem about meeting Frank and the band:

When the Music of the Spheres Came to Town

Gliding past the ionosphere,
Equally at home in worlds
Little-known or undiscovered,
Transmitting music of the spheres
To anyone who dared dream
That such a thing existed,
His path was not less taken
But unimaginable, connecting
To others at crossroads
Only he could mark.

Music far beyond my ability,
But lyrics articulated what
I attempted to say. All of it
Commercially unacceptable
But available on the FM dial
And hipper record stores.

Those three days flowed
At different rates as Parnassus
Came to me one spring.
Hair brushed back, clad in
Turtleneck and blazer, I
Almost sat in on a panel on
An Educational TV show.
Afterwards we talked by
A baby grand about Varese
And I received an autograph
Finally framed decades later
Now hanging in my den.

Backstage at the concert
Mesmerized by jazz-rock-blues
Fusion, laced with
Classical overtones and drama
I watched among managers,
Groupies, and the rest.
At times the guitar
Stayed silent as he
Conducted the band
Never missing a beat.

The following day after classes
Hanging at the Sheraton
Illegally sipping screwdrivers
On the managerial tab,
Speaking and kidding with him
Being mistaken for
A member of the band,
Eventually I led some to
An impromptu basketball game
In the shadows of six-story
Pollock Residence Halls.

Years later living near
A city he called “a sealed tuna sandwich”
I relive those hours, thinking
On a life that heartened many
Behind the Iron Curtain and
Those of us here not content
To accept the status quo.
For progress demands deviation
(Those words posted outside
My classroom door along with
When I do what I do).

And some of us dare to differ
And seek our own unimagined paths
Leading to crossroads as
The beckoning ionosphere
Urges us to soar higher and higher
And where we converge
Into that music of the spheres.

Arthur Turfa © 2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Rubber Soul is 50 Years Old

     I am not escaping from the headlines, necessarily, merely taking a break. The Bundestag will take a vote in my favorite city of Berlin that will have wide ramifications. Westminster had its vote yesterday, with a byelection in the Labour heartland. My family almost moved to San Bernardino 25 or so years ago.

     Rubber Soul marked a departure from the Beatles danceable music. The trend had been underway, but with this album there was a complexity about the music that made it all the more telling. Five years after the album's release I remember a high school dance where we all sat on the cafetorium floor and listened as though we were at a concert. The teachers panicked and thought we were holding a sit-in to protest something!

    "Norwegian Wood was the song John wrote to tell Cynthia that he was having an affair with Yoko. George's sitar was the first Western recording with that instrument. My favorite is "In My Life"; each year it etches itself deeper into my mind. 

   Thanks, Beatles!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Local Poet and Friend Pays a Visit at School

     Len Lawson visited two of my classes and the Blythewood Poetry Society this morning at the Blythewood High School in Blythewood, SC. He read some poetry, answered questions, and asked some himself. I am really proud of everyone, because they were very interested and respectful (I knew they would be).

     We met last summer at Ed Madden's Poetry Workshop in Columbia, SC, hosted by the Richland County Public Library. Since then we have heard each other read here and there. A poem of mine was included in a local poetry initiative about church burnings in the South,

     Len, Ed and I sell enough poetry books to keep our jobs. A student asked Len if he made a lot of money selling books.

Here is a link to Len's work:

and to Ports Respond to Race (which can be accessed from the above link also:

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Remembering George Harrison

     George Harrison passed away on 29 November 2001. He was the quiet Beatle, but without much fanfare or publicity, he solidly established a considerable body of work that deserves respect in and of itself.

    I thought about his tribute to John Lennon, who would have been 75 had he not be murdered nearly 35 years ago. Here is a link to the song:

    Far be from me to judge, but could not Paul or Ringo have written something for George? Grief is a personal thing, and what works for one might not work for another. Fr
om an artistic point of view, not having a mediocre tribute is better than having a mediocre tribute.  This is Ringo from the 2003 Concert for George:

    Goerge, you are missed. May you rest in peace!

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, ...