Monday, February 29, 2016

Move "The Bell Jar" to the "Read" Pile

     My wife was amazed that I had not already ready Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Certainly I was aware of it, and knew that it was highly-respected, but until I had a chance to read it on my Kindle for a discount, I never read it.

     Some readers will know that my early literary training was as a German major. Earlier I read thing sin English that interested me, and years later, preparing to teach English, I read what I had to read.

     What impressed me about The Bell Jar is Plath' ability to tell a story in first-person narrative. As she does so, She juggles the chronology of events but never loses her reader. I regret that she was not able to develop more as a writer, whether of prose or of poetry, and leave behind more works
to savor. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Next Saturday in Irmo, South Carolina

     It's Local Author Meet and Greet sponsored by the Lexington County Public Library, Irmo, SC,Branch. I have some cousins who live nearby, and maybe they will show up. There are some colleagues and friends. I know two of the other authors, fellow poet Ray McManus from the University of South Carolina, and Jane Gari, author. She and I were at the Richland Library Local Author event last week at the Columbia Museum of Art.

     Come by and have a look at everything there! A signed copy of Places and Times is available, and part of the proceeds will go to the library. Support literacy and literature at the same time!

Friday, February 26, 2016

A New Sonnet

I posted this on Words on Fire and Poet's Dream, two excellent Google+ poetry groups. Full disclosure: I am a moderator at the former. Reaction was fantastic, and I am touched at not only how many liked it, but also made some nice comments. Thanks!

The Moon at Pre=Dawn
Above the trees, a brilliant moon beckons
Me in the final hours of darkness
Before sunlight spills upon the lake’s edge.
Although surrounded by clusters of stars
In constellation dazzle and display,
To her turns my gaze, on her rest my eyes
In fleeting moments before she takes leave
and those things that I have to do commence.
For but a moment I marvel, savor
beauty contained in hovering orb,
which accompanies me through the long day.
In tedious or languid times moonlight
Enlivens my mind and quickens my soul.
Only I behold the beauty from there.

Arthur Turfa, © 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

More Things to Read!

     Poets & WritersMarch/April issue arrived. While I enjoy the e-mails they send out, there is something to actually having a portable copy with much mor ein it. It is a great publication.

     At long last, my copy of  my friend and mentor's new book made its appearance. Joanna Kurowska's Intricacies (Finishing Line Press)  is something I read the manuscript of and reviewed. But I also wanted a real copy. Born in Poland, she wrote in her native language and has mastered English, much like Joseph Conrad.
a Kurowska's

     \What are you reading, or planning to read? 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Reading is Piling Up!

   Whether on K
indle, my shelf, or in my bag, the reading is piling up! Maybe it's because I decided to do some writing!

     The latest copy of The Atlantic came last week. Of course, I expected it., and have read some of the shorter pieces. The EasyBub offerings the other day including Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar for a low price, so I bought it with one click. I'm about 14% through with it.

     And now to people I actually know! Kenyatta Jean Paul Garcia offered his "What Do the Evergreens Know Of Pining" as a free Valentine's Day gift to anyone. One click made it mine. I know him from Altpoetics, where he published me a few times. Finally, Ed Madden, Columbia SC's Poet Laureate, had some advance copies of his soon-to-appear book, Ark, and I bought one that he signed for my last Saturday at the Deckle Edge SC Literary Festival.

    It would be great if someone out there wrote about Places and Times in this way. some have already, and I appreciate that a lot.

     More about these great things when I read them!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Richland Library Local Author Showcase Over!

   And so the Deckle Edge, South Carolina's revamped Literary Festival! Today went well, with quite a few people saying they will check out Places and Times on the web. I made some new friends, and saw some old friends. The Library really did a superb job of arranging everything, and I cannot thank them enough.
    Yesterday I met Marjory Wentworth, the state's Poet Laureate. Later she posted that she was eager to read the book I presented to her. I also swapped books with someone today, but more about that later on.

    Next event in two weeks!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Very briefly on Deckle Edge Saturday

    It is always great to see friends and fellow poets like Al Black and Len Lawson. Their Poets Respond to Race event is timely and profound.  also saw Columbia Poet Laureate Ed Madden, whose workshop I took this summer past. From him I was able to purchase a signed copy of his soon-to-be-released book, Ark. Hopefully I can read it in a few days.

    And hopefully it will not take South Carolina Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth that long to read the signed copy of Places and Times which she graciously accepted. Later, she commented on Facebook that she was eager to do so.

    The third and final Poet Laureate I met today was Edgefield's Laurel Blossom. Her county is next to mine, and maybe I can go over there sometime to visit her community.

omorrow to Local Author Showcase! 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Off to Deckle Edge this weekend

   The South Carolina book Fair has been transformed, and Deckle Edge is one of the events:

    Saturday, 20 February, I am going to see my friends Al Black and Len Lawson present and see another event. Of course there will be networking, and new people to meet. On the next day, Sunday, it is the Richland Library Local Author Showcase at the Columbia Museum of Art, where I will be with 29 other writers. Quite an honor!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Guest Devotional

    We all know that there are some fascinating people on the Internet, and otherwise we might never have met them. What first attracted me to Desiree was a poem she wrote, from back in the days when I regularly checked Facebook's poetry groups.

     After a few chats, we friended each other, and learned more about each other. Once I noticed that she offered space for guest devotionals on her blog. I took her up on it, and in the fullness of time, she kindly published it. What is interesting from all this is the other reading she has been doing about the overall subject.

    In 2005 I saw the movie she posts in Germany. As a German-speaking US Lutheran (with Lutherans in the German and Hungarian parts of my DNA), the story of the Confessing Church and its valiant resistance means a lot to me.

    Below I post a link to her blog, You can also find the post on our respective Facebook pages. Thanks and blessings, Desiree!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

My Google Collections  I've added one on favorite films. Tell me if there is anything you would like to see. Eventually I plan to have one with links to some of you reading poems from Places and Times.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Sunday is getting closer and closer

    I am excited even more about this upcoming event. If you are anywhere near Columbia, SC, come on by. And if not, let me know that you want to be there in spirit! There are a few days of literary events in Columbia this weekend; I am thrilled to have a part of them.

    Anyone wanting to know how they can obtain a signed copy of Places and Times, let me know! To celebrate the first anniversary of the book I am thinking about some special things. One is to
encourage people to record their reading of their favorite poem from it (on Soundcloud or video). 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Mixed Bag Tonight

     There is a lot of buzz around the USA these days about feeling the "Bern", as in "Bernie Sanders". While I feel some of that (not a time for politics), I do feel the burn from the gym. Right now I feel a little from some Johnnie Walker Red, purchased at Ft. Jackson's Class 6.

     A week from tomorrow it's this event:   Last year I attended with a book a-coming, now I have one. If anyone out there would like a signed copy, we can talk, regardless of where you are! that will save you a trip to Columbia, SC, which is worth seeing by the way.

     A few more visits from Syria to this blog. I am humbled that someone has the interest with everything going on in that part of the world. There have been many hits to older posts, which means I do not have to winnow the out. My post about the Grey Cup has 11 hits today. Not bad, eh?

    I am also reading and loving Jenna Le's Six Rivers, but that will deserve a special post, as will something forthcoming from a dear friend and fellow poet.

   Right now I;m listening to this:  

   Take care and let me hear from you! I would love it if you wold follow this blog. I believe I have that set up correctly.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Whitman was socially-engaged and artistic

     In my most advanced-level German class today we learned about the Dinggedicht (thing-poem). We spoke about how poetry previously (and since of course) was written about other topics. I mentioned Whitman's poems about the death of Abraham Lincoln, born on 12 February 1809.
For that reason, I post a link to Whitman's poem about lilacs and so much more:

If only Lincoln had been allowed to finish his second term in office! This nation would have been spared so much!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Two years ago I became president.....

......of the South Carolina Foreign Language Teachers' Association. Most of you probably thought I was hallucinating. If I ran for President of the USA, my family promised to campaign against me.  Perhaps I could persuade a few cousins to support me, thought.

     Three years ago (when this picture was taken), I became President-Elect about two minutes after being nominated from the floor. There were no other candidates; in retrospect, maybe someone is out there wondering if he or she should have run also. About an hour later, two Mandarin teachers who were in the States for a short period, and whose names I sadly forget, asked to pose with me. I thought this might lead to a trip to China to share my knowledge of pedagogy with them and to learn from them.  That did not happen.

    Over these past three years I made many new friends and helped the organization. During this time Places and Times was published, which proves that things happen simultaneously, not necessarily in succession.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

I ordered "Six Rivers" by Jenna Le

     Actually, I was leaning this way, but Amy King's comment on Goodreads Poetry Group clinched it for me. Having spent a lot of time at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, I figured this would be twice as good! LOL. Seriously, since the concept of place plays a major role in my own poetry, "six Rivers" seems like a logical choice.

    After it comes and I get to reading it, I will let you know about it!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Maybe I will make my decision this weekend.....

     Forgive the hype, but it is Super Bowl L weekend, after all. Since my beloved Steelers are not playing, I have some time on my hands. This will be the weekend for me to decide which of Jenna Le's poetry books to read. 

     Connecting with  and learning about fellow writers all over the globe is simply fantastic and energizing. Sometimes it is a place we share, a common background, are influenced by the same things, or have a similar style. Goodreads is a fantastic place for such interactions
, but of course there are others as well.

   You can read about Jenna here in Mezzo Camin as well as enjoy a few poems. She is their featured poet. I do not know whether or not to order her forthcoming book A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (forthcoming from Anchor and Plume Press, 2016)   or her previous Six Rivers(NYQ Books, 2011),  The latter appeals to me given my interest in place s a poetic feature, but she suggested I start with the newer book. 

    Anyway, I will decide and will be pleased no matter what I pick. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Four Chaplains

     In today's world there is so much division and rancor, it is hard to imagine that there was ever a time when these did not exist. However, when fighting against Fascism, nations and individuals came together, at least for a time. I first learned of this piece of histroy while cisiting a museum in Washington D.C. as a young boy and seeing a wax reproduction of the scene.

     On the night of 3 February 1943, the USAT Dorchester carried nearly 1,000 soldiers to Britain. A German U-Boat fired and hit the ship. As the Dorchester sank, four Army Chaplains: two Protestants, a Roman Catholic, and a rabbi, selflessly have up their life jackets and went to their deaths praying in their own manner with linked arms. Those who survived the sinking never forgot the sight.

     When I was in Philadelphia, I asked invited to join the Four Chaplains Memorial Association, then located on the campus of Temple University. At the time I was in my first of two stints as a Pennsylvania Army National Guard Chaplain. While my membership was
not of long duration, the story is inspiring. I post a link:

     Chaplains Fox, Goode, Poling, and Washington still have a lot to teach u about dedication, service to others, and overcoming barriers. I hope we all learn from them, 73 years after their deaths.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

On to Canterbury

   Interestingly enough, this has proved to be a popular Soundcloud recording. Some time ago there was a challenge to do this. I honestly forget from whom, and where on the Internet it was. Being bi-lingual with German, Middle English is not hard.

   What do you think? Feel free to go through the rest of my play list!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Picture from the Coogler Festival

     Thanks to Buddy Price for the picture from last month's J.G. Coogler Poetry Festival and to the Country Chronicle of Blythewood, SC, for mentioning "local poet Art Turfa" along with the students, who were the real stars of the evening. The event was well-attended, and is the third annual in a series that will go on for a long time.

      Two of my students were ill, and could not read original poetry. Another read a poem by Coogler. I read one from ym book, but chekc out this link to see what the studnts wrote:   Navigate back to see the entire site.

    A link to Coogler himself:

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, ...