Sunday, January 31, 2016

This is indeed a first.......

     This post does not concern poetry, other forms of literature or the arts, and not even politics. For the majority of readers this information will not be of any real use. However, I ask for their- your- understanding. I am going to list contact information for a law firm run by someone I have known for years whom I consider a sister; indeed the whole family have been like a second family to me, all the way from letting me hang out with them, helping me through high school chemistry, and providing some art work that eventually graced the cover of Places and Times.     Sandra Worthington, Esq., has long experience at the bar and specializes in personal injury. There might be other legal matters for which she could offer assistance, but I will not speak for her.

     My family has always tried to have professionals "in house" so to speak. We have had physicians, clergy, but not any attorneys (one first cousin branched into others things, and a more distant cousin practices law but I never met him). Sandy has the distinction of being the family attorney.

     My brother and I are second-generation Americans, The family dream was that my brother Alex would be a physician since he was good at science, and that I would be a lawyer since I had a way with words. Alex became a scientist, and I became a pastor/educator who is a poet.

     Things turned out for the best. My brother and I are happy, and contact my sister if you need to.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Richland Library Local Author Showcase Confirmed!

     If this were a newspaper, I wold holler "Stop the Presses!"

     But since it is not, please let me tell you that I have been invited to the 3rd Annual Richland Library Local Author Showcase, Sunday, 21 February, from Noon-3PM at the Columbia Museum of Art, 1515 Main Street, Columbia, South Carolina. Usually the Main Branch of the library hosts the event, but they are being renovated.

     Last year I attended a few months before eLectio Publishing released Places and Times. there were six poets, and (I am not gloating) most were self-published, There is simply something to appreciate when someone considers one's work marketable, as much as poetry is marketable. No, I have not quit my day job.

     The Midlands of South Carolina, as well as other regions of the Palmetto State, contains a good number of authors of various genres. Come and see us next month!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

She is one of my favorite professors of all time.....

   Dr. Ruth Kluger came to University of California-Irvine with a solid reputation as a scholar of German literature. I did my Master's there from 1975-1977, intending to stay for a PhD. The Kleist seminar she conducted was amazing, and thorough. She was unique in saying that her students cold argue with her, as long as we had some basis for doing so. That was a switch from the usual! I do not remember arguing with her, but discussions were lively.

    She was unique in other ways. Born in Vienna, she survived Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, had had the tattoo on her forearm. A tireless champion for human rights, she stood out in conservative Orange County. When my career trajectory became shaky, she offered me the opportunity to write a dissertation under her on the Reformation pamphlets (she knew I was was an active Lutheran), and assured me funding for a year's research in Germany. Were she to ever leave UC-Irvine, she had enough clout to take a doctoral student with her.

   Immediately I thought if only I had had this conversation a year earlier, which was impossible, actually. By then I had decided to attend seminary. She was genuinely happy for me,! Decades later as I was preparing to end my deployed in Germany, I saw a documentary about her in  German television. The woman in it seemed familiar. The next day I e-mailed her, and she chatted a few times.

    Today in my German III Honors class I posted some political links, including one for the Bundestag, and saw this wonderful news.

   I will be e-mailing her again.

Belated Happy Birthday, Rabbie Burns!

If I were a Scot I would be guilty of a grievous sin, wishing Burns a belated birthday. Since I am not like the person in the commercial who does genetic testing and finds out that he is Scottish, and not German as he thought, I suppose it's all right.

     My father brought back a Robert Burns cigar from a trip we took to Canada. A few years later I found it, and decided to smoke it in the bathroom after school one day. Since it was stale, it was not very good. I opened the window to remove some of the smoke; March in Pennsylvania is still cool.My mother smelled something funny and before she could detect residual cigar smoke, I made some smart-alecky remark about her need to clean better. The ruse worked. She seized on that to give me a piece of her mind, and suspicions of a cigar were erased.

     Burns was a people's poet, and cultivated his language and times. Here is Karen Matheson's version of "My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose"

Pour a glass of your favorite libation and listen!
Image result for robert burns

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Poem from a good friend and fellow poet!

         I've always been an international kind of guy. Maybe it comes from growing up in the Pittsburgh, PA area, where ethnicity was important (maybe too much). With my education, travels, and knowledge of languages, it is only natural that I resonate with an international crew of poets, etc.

        Alice Sea comes from Spain, but writes such an excellent English. We share a love for music. some of it is the same, but we share music with each other. She loves jazz, I love rock and folk. Alice was kind enough to review Places and Times prior to publication; part of her review graces the back cover. More of the review appears on Goodreads, and Google+.

    I know you will enjoy this latest poem from her.  Thanks, Alice1


You're not here.

What I see:
your body,
your shadow.


Your soul went
where you you will go tomorrow.

This afternoon even offers me
false hostages,
vague slow gestures.

A distracted love.

But your intention to leave
took you where you wanted.

Far from here.

Where you are
telling me:
"I'm here with you, look."

And you show me

your absence.


January, 2016

Friday, January 22, 2016

I am touched....

     This blog has almost 28,000 hits and over 300 posts. In the past I have deleted some earlier posts, but lately I have tended not to do that. Here is the reason; every so often I notice some newer readers actually take the time to reach back and find them. This happened often enough, and some of the same posts come up again. Part of the experience is that every so often there are hits from different places along with the usual ones. Lately there are hits from South Korea, Vietnam, and Poland.

     As a result, I have come to think that people find something in these older posts. Therefore I do not want to deny them whatever they find. Maybe when I hit 500, I will have to do something again.
Until then, please keep reaching back!


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Article about Glenn Frey's Passing

        In an article for CNN, Marc
Eliot concludes with some words that hit home for me. I still have the 'stasche, no longer feel comfortable in boots, and have had the crush on the same wonderful woman for almost 34 years.  I would like to think that the world hasn't changed me all that much, but maybe I made a better peace with it than I thought. Maybe i will think about this as i listen to music....always the music.

       Here is a link to the whole article:


2012: Glenn Frey's defining song
2012: Glenn Frey's defining song 00:35
The passing of Glenn Frey reminds us all too well of the kids we were in the '70s -- our blue jeans and black boots, our long hair and 'stashes and crushes on impossibly beautiful, unattainable girls, our nights spent cross-legged in front of turntables listening with great intent to the latest album of one of our heroes. We believed that somehow we could change the world by the force of our belief in the power of rock 'n' roll, but instead the world changed us.
When we mourn for Frey, are we mourning our lost selves and a time when we all thought we could live hard and stay free and surf and bike and run and jump and love and never lose because we were forever young?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Glenn Frey, RIP

     Although I thoroughly enjoyed the Eagles, I must confess that I never bought any of their albums until "Hotel California". In the 1970s I did not have a lot of disposable income, and was slowing trying to recreate the record collection lost during a transcontinental move.

     The importance of the Eagles, to my thinking at least, was that they stemmed the tide of Disco. Their blend of country and rock was more mainstream than that of the Flying Burrito Brothers and the early Outlaws. Eventually Bruce Springsteen appeared and put rock where it belongs.

     In some ways the Eagles were a cohesive Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Exquisite harmonies, fine songs and musicianship brought them richly-deserved fame.

    The band was to have been honored last month at the Kennedy Center Honors, but received a year's delay so that Glenn could recover his health and attend. Sadly, that will not be the case now.

    I include a video to a fine song, "Seven Bridges Road", which I am have posted
Steve Young's original version previously.

Monday, January 18, 2016

I Read Winnie-the-Pooh as an Adult

   Alan Alexander Milne was born 18 January 1882 in London, England. I knew the name, but I never read anything by him as a child, o had anything of his read to me as a child. My wife, who introduced me to Milne, found that amazing. Both my parent read to me, and encouraged reading all sorts of things. But if there was something or someone my mother did not like, there was no chance. That ended with the Beatles!

    In high school Latin class we heard of Winnie ille Pu, the translation, but by that time I had decided to switch to German and wondered why anyone would translate into Latin instead of the other way around. Around that time I knew Jefferson Airplane's album, The House at Pooh Corners, and wondered about the name.  In college I bought Steeleye Span's Now We are Six, the album that welcome a drummer. At my last shcool, Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, there is a Hundred-Acre-Wood on cmapus.

    The Walt Disney cartoons where not watched until our son was born, and through my wife, I realized how wonderful the characters and stories were. there was more to Milne that a writer of children's books. He served in both World Wars (wounded at the Somme, he was in the Home Guard in the Second War). An early teacher and later friend was H.G. Wells. Milne wrote many plays and other works, but is most famous for Winnie.

Go have some honey and roam the Hundred Acre Wood! Hopeffully it is not too blustery where you are!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

"The Transfiguration of Cap'n Douglas"

     The other night my brother called, and we spoke about people talking at the dinner table about their day at work. While that could be boring, it was not so at our house. My mother had stories from school, and when my father worked at one place in particular, it was exciting. Later I worked there off and off over summers and school breaks for a few years, enabling me to appreciate what he meant and to know some of these people.

     James Douglas was the oldest employee, in his 70s, working at a long machine that was slightly tilted, and rotated, producing barrels of some finely-made coating for coating the insides of oil tanks and pipes in refineries. The rest of the plant made similar products. When I was asked what we mad,e all I could answer was "white stuff and pink stuff.

     About half of the workforce came from the South, escaping Jim Crow for Philadelphia ghettos. "Cap'n" was a southern term of respect, and was given to this worker. He had a smile on his face, a back that was permanently-bent, and an amazing work ethic.

    There was no stop on the old Reading Line by the plant. But the trains knew the plant schedule and made stops in the morning and afternoon. I always thought that was very nice of them because they did not have to do it. In this way, people could get to work; most had no cars of their own. One night I had a date in Center City, so I waited for the train with the Cap'n.   On that ride, I saw him n a different light. He was intense, part of the community, and spoke more than he did at work.,

     Resco Products, Incorporated still is on the banks of the Schuykill between Norristown and Conshohocken, but the Reading Railroad is only on Monopoly boards.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Rave Review for "Places and Times" on Amazon

What was especially nice about Jane's review is that she knows some of the newer places in my life. I am thrilled that she sensed my newly-found excitement for them; she has know them all of her life!

Is there anyone else out there who knows some of these places?   Please let me know! Thanks.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Another Five Star Review for "Places and Times"

I sent several Facebook messages to Arthur in praise of one or two of his poems, especially the ones about places I have lived and loved.
His book is on my bedside table in case I need another healthy dose or so of his beautiful words and sunny outlook on life...
 ∙ flag

Originally posted on Goodreads, 11 January 2016

Do you have room on your bedside table? 

Monday, January 11, 2016

David Bowie, RIP

     There will be many posts about Bowie, and I might add another to this one as well. For tonight, I want to focus on his amazing creativity, and how we can all apply it to our lives.

     Early in his career, Bowie became what was called "flamboyant". Unconventional clothing and makeup accompanied an openness in his songs about his personal life. While those things did not interest me, the music stood out and attracted me.

     Not every album or style of music resonated with me. Even when I had more disposable income, I did not rush out and buy all that I could. However, I admired him to his Proteus-like persona and for trying something new.

     How do we apply that to our lives? For me, I try not to write int he same style and about the same topics. As an educator, I do not like falling into the same old rut. I am certified in three content areas, as we call them (English, German and Social Studies). Staying with English, I have been willing to change what I do from the so-called "numbered" English. I have not taught English I, but have taught II, III and IV. ( I is Freshmen, II World, III American, IV Brit, although that has been mixed up quite a bit). for the last five years I have taught Intro to Mythology, and enjoy playing with that. As a result, I am not bored, and not too many students are. I do tell them that the universe does not exist to entertain them.

    When the following song came out, I played it for my Journalism class (another example of mixing it up). One day we had a disagreement, politely expressed, about how to pronounce his name. We used our chrome books and found both ways were possible:  Bough- ee  or Boo-ee. I prefer the latter. The song talked about Berlin- Potsdamer Platz, home to the famed Josty's and also mentioned the Dschungel; I was there before it became a trendy spot, and I believe I had more fun.

    I append (12 January) a Guardian link to Bowie's Berlin. An earlier version had a map. The Dschungel mentioned was near Ka-De-We- (Kaufhaus des Westens), and the one my frineds took me to was I belive in Sch├Âneberg, not far from where Bowie lived, and not too far from Neuk├Âllm where I lived with my friends. I remember we too the double decker bus there, not the U-Bahn. Ach!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Favorite Songs Collections

     There's quite a few now, and more will be coming. It might be a good, electic, mix for background music. Give it a listen!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

New Collection: Sound Poetry

     Today I started a new Google+ Collection, "Sound Poetry". Initially I posted some of my Soundcloud recordings in order to make them more accessible. Eventually I will add some of my favorite poems, when possible read by their authors.

     Many of my friends have recorded their poems, and I invite them to offer their works here. Let me know if you are interested and send me a link. And there you will be!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Interview by Mercedes Fox

Thanks, Mercedes! I appreciate this so much. I encourage my followers to check out her site!

It's Been Almost a Year

     A year ago I was anxiously gearing up what I could for my release date for Places and Times. That was in April, but I was thinking about what I had to do. Fortunately, eLectio Publishing was extremely helpful. For the next book, whenever that will be, I am going to be so much better prepared.

    Now they offer their support for the first year anniversary. I am thinking about some things, but i would love to hear from you also. Here's what I have been thinking about doing:

  • Another Goodread
    s giveaway. Maybe fewer books, and maybe this time adding a few countries.
  • Doing a video. For part of it, asking people to read their favorite poem from the book. When I mentioned that to a friend today, she had a few poems in mind.
  • Hosting a birthday party. Aiken, South Carolina, looks like a goof place since I will be there for a classy event anyhow. 
    Let me know! comment here,, message me on Google+ or Facebook!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Now for that Goodreads Page!

     One nice thing about Goodreads is that one can interact easily with others. Follow me, like the page, ask me a question, review Places and Times, or suggest something for me to read. Setting up an account is free.

    If you are not already interacting with me on Goodreads, consider it. I sync my blog to my page. Of course, if you are reading this, you are already on the blog.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Amazon Author Page

     Stop on by and learn a little but about who I am and what influences me. You can also take a peek at Places and Times. I look forward to seeing you there, or anywhere, for that matter! Feel free to follow!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Outstanding Biography of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

     Here's the link! Even non-literary types will enjoy Noel Gerson's portrait of this pioneering woman to whom all female authors owe a debt. and not only authors, but women who have or wish for careers. We men can also be inspired by Mary's resilience, talent, and courage. I myself am lucky to have a wife like Mary;however she is too busy to read this or any other book I fear.

     As someone who has earned a large part of his livelihood teaching English, I will make a confession. At university I was not an English major and consequently i have no degree in English. There are those who would take that information and engage in character assassination.  Once in another class I mentioned that I was a German major at Penn State. A student raised his hand and asked "But weren't you in our Army?" Before I could reply, another student chimed in with, "You idiot! He means that he studied German!   As Kurt Vonnegut would say, "So it goes".

     The interesting thing about this book (yes, back to that) is how it shows that Mary had a career on her own after Percy's death. A fascinating read about the romantic Movement, Britain, art, literature, love and persistence.

Here are some links to blogs you may like

Something different for the New Year!

Monday, January 4, 2016

While it Never Gets Really Cold in South Carolina.....

.... it is going to be 25 F/-3 C tonight, so, time for a favorite song. Tom Riush covers Joni Mitchell:  Sa
ty warm!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

April Event Confirmed, Several Earlier Ones Coming

     I was invited to participate in this excellent event, the Aiken Wine and Sign on Saturday, 23 April, in Aiken, South Carolina. It is for a worthy cause, and promises to be the most sophisticated event yet. I asked a friend if I should accept, and he said if it's in Aiken, do so.

     Aiken is about an hour away from Columbia, SC, and is very close to Augusta, Georgia. In the last few months I have spent some time in the area, and I hope some friends will come out. I add a link, so that people can see pictures of those of us who will participate. The discerning eye will note my Pittsburgh Steelers necktie.

     Come and visit us!

A Cuban Poet, Shared by a Friend

     Carol Worthington-Levy is an amazing person who has been a friend for decades. One of her pictures became the cover for my book of poetry, Places and Times. But the reason I mention her today is a post she shared on my Facebook writer page from a visit she and her husband Lloyd (a gifted photographer) made to Cuba last year: We do not talk much about dissent within Cuba itself, but I hope that "the times they are a-changing" there also.

Maybe Carol and Lloyd can wrangle a visit for this poet to Cuba!  

Here is a link to my Facebook page. Feel free to like and friend me if you wish! Many thanks if you have already done either or both!

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, ...