Saturday, April 30, 2016

Kerouac on my Kindle

     No. it's not On the Road, his second novel. I'm reading his first, The Town and the City. right now I'm 4% through it, and I am enjoying the lushness of his writing. Dispel all notions of the Beat Generation vagabond who writes sub-standard and who is known for his persona. Kerouac knows how to construct a plot and create characters. He also is able to help you "see" Galloway in the way that Updike lets you "see" Brewer.

     This was available from Easybub. If you have some time, reading this is a good way to spend it.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Almost A Year Later

    I cannot believe that a year ago this Saturday is the first anniversary of the launch of Places and Times. eLectio Publishing released it a few weeks earlier, but the actual event was planned to make sure books were available.

     So much has happened since then. Seven public readings throughout the state, as many signing.fairs, meeting many new people, and becoming friends with some of them even!

     There are many people to thank, but I will mention my wife Pam, son Drew and his wife Amy, Carol Worthington-Levy for the cover art, eLectio's Christopher Dixon and Jesse Greever, felllow poets/writers Joanna Kurowska, Alice Sea, Al Black, Ed Madden, and Ray McManus. Also to Jean Bell for hosting at the now-moved Blythewood Arts Center, to my readers and wider audience.



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Can an Insurance Executive be a Major 20th Century American Poet?

Yes indeed! Reading, PA native Wallace Stevens did that nicely.

Have You Seen my Google Collections?

   If not, why not check them out now?

I add to them every so often, so be sure to scroll through them. You will find something you like!


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Easter Rising A Century Later

     I pause to commemorate the events without taking sides. Anytime that a disagreement leads to violence is bad, and I believe this was a case of things happened too quickly at in the midst of a war, there was not much time to reflect before action was taken.

     The Poem-a-Day was from William Butler Yeats, and I post a link to it below. Not often remember is that Yeats served as a Senator in the Irish Republic, and that he was a Protestant, belonging to the Church of Ireland. Actually that was Anglican, bur that was not  good choice of a name given everything else.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

    In the year since the release of Places and Times, I have been at some wonderful signing/author showcases. Today's Wine and Sign in Aiken, South Carolina, was the best in many ways. First of all, it is for a charity: Essential Tremor. Aiken is a lovely town in the scenic horse and peach country in South Carolina. I saw some friends, and made some new ones! I also sold more book right there and had more people tell me they will go online.  I also networked and made some tentative future plans.

    I have some more pictures, and i will post them in the coming days.

Friday, April 22, 2016

400th Anniversary of Shakespeare's Death

     In high school we read Julius Caesar, Hamlet, and assorted sonnets. But I really came to appreciate him in a roundabout way. In a German drama class as an undergraduate we read Johann Wolfgang Goethe's youth praise ( I was about his age then), Zum Shakespeares Tag/Speech on Shakespeare's Day. Slowly, I came to appreciate the Bard not because people told me I had to, but because he was so excellent. An independent study class I took while obtaining English certification sealed my admiration.

    See, if you will, what the Guardian had to say:

Ach! I recall learning that Gotthold Eprhaim
Lessing's translations were so good that many Germans thought Shakespeare was one of them. 

Come and See Me tomorrow

If you can't you know where to find the book! Thanks!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Writing poetry is easy, but the preface is something else.

     The second manuscript came easily enough, spurred by a flash of inspiration I will one day speak about. But the preface!   Hermann Hesse's Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead Game (Das Glasperlenspiel) plays a subliminal role in all this.

     As a high school student, I read the novel in translation, and read it in the original toward the end of my deployment to Germany. I have long tried to find connections between things that others could or would not see. An obvious example would be the 1960s band Steppenwolf, named after a Hesse novel. I loved the music, then read the book, and delved into other things associated with it, among them other literary influences on music of that and other times. Soon I was watching movies more critically, and learning more about the history behind the events, and so on.

     The tentative title for the book is Accents, where I go from hearing other languages and their remnants when people speak English, to other things that have stood out to me and form a leitmotiv in my life.

Charles Cameron hs some perceptive thoughts on the novel and its significance:

As a poet, I have some very definite opinions about the arts, and believe for instance that all the arts depend on a marriage of passion with tight structure... I believe you can write a clever poem without heart, and it will be dry and lifeless, or a passionate poem without skill, and it will mean next to nothing to anyone except the person you wrote it for -- but that when you combine passion and skill, you get a poem that can transmit your passion to a far wider audience... which is why the great love poems from Shakespeare to ee cummings are still feverishly quoted by teenage lovers...
I believe, in other words, that this business of passion and formal restraint is one of those cross-disciplinary truths like the inverse square law. As I put it recently:
Great splash alone is all wet. Tight focus alone is a trickle. But great splash passing through tight focus can send water arcing through the air to great heights, to land at a great distance..
Let's take this a little further.
Music is the marriage of passion with tight structure in the field of sound, poetry the marriage of passion with tight structure in the field of words, etc. And if I'm right about this, the GBG is the marriage of passion with tight structure in the field of ideas -- specifically including verbal, pictorial, and musical ideas.
It is the art of the "multimedia" field in other words, in a far more precise sense than opera or film or performance art... It's what Wagner was after, when he wrote those operas -- the gesamtkunstwerke or "work-of-total-art".

     If you have any comments or suggestion, please feel free to share them. I will work on this later tonight. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Published in Whispers

Thanks to Martha Magenta who urged her fellow moderators from POETS to submit, and to Karen O'Leary for making it hapen!  

Saturday is getting closer.....

...and that means the Wine and Sign in Aiken, South Carolina

Maybe I will be inspired on my drive down or back to write a poem! The peach orchards are lovely!

Monday, April 18, 2016

    Eileen Myles has a resurgence of interest. Below a link to today's New York Times piece. I would love to hang out at St. Mark's!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Prompt for Poets

Recently the Poets Google+ Community invited me to be a Moderator. I gladly accepted the honor, and I am humbled by Martha Magenta's Pick of the Day.for the following as yet untitled poem. I will give a link to Skylark Hatee's prompt with picture.

Iron bars do not a prison make,
Lovelace, you were correct!
Nor can these gates restrain me
from the world displayed beyond them.
Bars can bend, locks can fail,
rust can cause even
the strongest gates to crumble,
obstacles will be overcome.
Destiny shall no longer tantalize.
Lift up your heads, o gates,
bend to my will,
allow me to pass through!

Arthur Turfa, © 2016

Anyone can read the site without having to contribute. But try anyway!

In lovely Aiken, South Carolina Next Saturday

This will be a fantastic and classy event! I am so excited, since Aiken is a very charming community. Places and Times will be available.

the official word on the community. I hope the peach orchards will be in blossom.

Friday, April 15, 2016

I always liked bagpipes

    I have no Scots blood in me, but maybe it;;s because as a young boy I saw a French and Indian War re-enactment or two.  One day when I was in high school I was walking around the woods (now sadly big homes are there). Hearing the sounds of the pipes, I followed themj chatted with the young woman, whom I knew slightly.

Kilt-clad, reed-playing pipers
In a circle arranged between-
The trees there- lightly played
The drummers, softly touching
The drum skins, stroking them
As they would a child’s silken hair.

Around them all, the trees’ tartans
Falling downward. Suddenly,
There between branch and ground,
Wrinkled leaf did meet\the highland tune
And for an instant- danced, gaily skipping=
Before falling down, ever down, until
Touching ever-increasing piles.

A charmed moment appeared to me.
Once again I am three feet tll.
The wooden palisades, the oak and maple
Hills are glowing in October.

The melody-laden air cuts sword-like
Emory’s thread and I clutch my book
And depart.
Arthur Turfa, copyright 1974, 2016

Tha' was nae the lassie!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I broke down and....

....ordered one of thos PayPal swipers for my phone.

I will be using this in Aiken South Carolina, soon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Did Led Zeppelin "Borrow" for their Iconic Hit?

     When I read the story in the Guardian, I thought I heard a "Oh wow, man!" emanating from legions of aging hippies and Led Zeppelin followers.  "Stairway to Heaven" NOT a Page-Plant composition?

     I always liked the band, and realized that they were more than heavy metal, C-F-G chords struck and over-amplified ad nauseum. The lat Yardbirds LP, "Little Games" shows a pronounced acoustic, mellow side to the band. for the first few appearances, what we know as Led Zeppelin was billed as the New Yardbirds.

    If you go back far enough, there was a flap about Page "borrowing" Bert Jansch's arrangment of "Blackwaterside".  - Jansch - Page, who does not sing ever.

My guitar expertise does not suffice to comment on the musical part of this, but I know what I hear and what I read sounds plausible.

    Certainly this sort of thing went on for centuries, and only now we can track it. But a "thank you" would not have hurt.

    Earlier in my life I wanted to be a lawyer. Now I wish I had done so, if only to have gotten a piece of the action from the lawsuits that will come.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Wonderful Review from Lady Sara for "Places and Times"

Many thanks! I like how she saw things in the book that I hoped I had put into it. These reviews are honest, and I am touched to hear such nice things. Thanks again, Lady Sara!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Wine & Sign in Aiken, SC Saturday, 23 April

    The link has it all. I am excited to be part of this event, and am glad to go back to this lovely community in the peach country, halfway between Columbia, SC and Augusta, GA. Places and Times will be among the works from nearly two dozen authors.


Friday, April 8, 2016

In Memoriam: Dietrich Bonhoeffer 8 April 1945

     The more I think about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the more impressed and humbled I am. He was one of the courageous ones who opposed Nazism. He volunteer to be a Wehrmacht chaplain, but was denied. I was able to see the memorial stone in Berlin a few years back in the Dorotheenstadt Cemetery, in memory of him and other members of the 20 July 1944 conspiracy.

     I am a retired Lutheran pastor, and have served German=speaking communities in the USA, as well as having extensive experience living and studying in Germany. Auden is one of my favorite poets, and his poem about Bonhoeffer moves me deeply. I decided to share my reading of it with you.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

1 Year Anniversary for "Places and Times"

     As hard as it seems, it has only been one year since eLectio Publishing released Places and Times. I have been blessed with meeting so many wonderful people, and to give about  ten readings around South Carolina from the book and also include some newer works.

     Cover art from vy a very dear friend, Carol Worthington Levy, who will be putting up some of her other works on line.

     The link from my Google+ Collections contains quite a few posts. I am also on Goodreads and Amazon, as well as Facebook.

     Signed copies are possible; contact me for details.  I am also calling for friends and fans to record their favorite poem and send me the link for another Google+ Collections with one already in. Thanks, Audrey!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Merle Haggard, RIP

     Some people sing about hard times, prison, and poverty, but have no personal experience of them. Merle Haggard was nine years old when he father died, and soon turned to music. His talent was evident, but he had multiple arrests as a juvenile, and as an adult served time in California's San Quentin Prison, where he heard a Johnny Cash concert in 1958.

     Because of all this, there was an authenticity about Merle. As a teenager caught up in the sixties, I as amazed at songs like "Okie from Muskogee" and "The Fightin' Side of Me,", but was enthralled by "Mam Tried". There was something about the music that drew me all the same. One of the earliest Outlaws of Country Music, he did his things.

     Nor did he forget his roots, or try to run away from them. He personified the best of America, and had a sense of fairness. Here is a link about some comments he made defending President Obama:

     And here is a link of "Mama Tried", which arguably has the best refrain of all time:

He belongs on a postage stamp!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

"Punch" by Ray McManus- a Must Read

     Future literary historians in these parts may one day talk about how Gilbert High School bred two poets. One found hi voice there again, another found it for the first time. The latter is Ray McManus, and his Punch exalts everyday work in the way that Philip Levine did.

     This is an excellent book of poetry; Interspersed with some text poems, the majority of the work deals with the author's experiences in tree-cutting and growing up in rural South Carolina. The language is tight, even intense at times, yet full of emotion and imagery. One need not to have experienced what McManus has lived to appreciate this book. Like Philip Levine, Ray McManus finds poetry and satisfaction in daily work, which need not crush the spirit. I especially liked :How to Add a Porch to a Trailer", "The Blacksmith", and "Dog Box".  

Monday, April 4, 2016

A Song Stuck in My Head and Linkredirector

    Recently my wife and I have taken to watching When Calls the Heart  on Netflix.
     Set in western Canada, I started to think about Ian Tyson and a song of his started running through my mind. I might have the vinyl, but I haven't checked. I tended to buy albums from the same artist(s), and so I have several Ian & Sylvia's in my collection.

     A few moments into an Internet search reminded me that the song, Stories He'd Tell  from "Full Circle", released in 1968. I cannot find the lyrics separately, but Tyson's poetic gifts are clearly evident, first the song, and then a recent article about Tyson, one of Canada's national treasures. He is an authentic cowboy, poet, songwriter, and huitarist. I remember seecing his 30-minute TV show in syndication when I was at Penn State. One episode featured the late Jim Ed Brown, whom we saw at the Grand Ole Opry a few years ago.


Linkredirector connects one quickly to amazon to a book link. In  my case, it is of course my Places and Times.No muss, no fuss.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Looking ahead to June

     With one event already scheduled  for June, there might be another one in the works.   located at 302 Senate Street in Columbia, SC, the shop overlooks the Broad River and a little further on, the Gervais Street Bridge. JCottage Industries manages the shop, and is eager to have a poetry event. The shop is under new management, and in addition to selling jewelry, candles, crafts and tea, they schedule Low Teas on a regular basis.

     I need to start contacting some poet friends to see if we can join forces in the second half of June.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Happy Poetry Month!

    No fooling, I sit here on the last weekday of Spring Break watching not the deer in the driveway, but the rain pouring down. I will post two April-themed poetic things today.

     The first is my reading in Middle English of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. Of the dozen or so recording I have on Soundcloud, this one is by far the one that gets the most play. Perhaps people want to see who would ever try this. I must say that knowing German helps with Middle English.

   And "April is the cruelest month", as TS Eliot reminds us in The Waste Land:

     In the popular mind, poets do not hold regular jobs or have normal lives. They exist on air and live for art's sake. But Chaucer was a knight, a diplomat at times, and a figure at court. Eliot was a banker and then a publisher. I will speak more on this theme in future posts.

     Poetry month.....every month for some of us!

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, ...