Thursday, June 30, 2016

First time this has happened!

     I always hate it when students use the vague "this", and here I am using it! Ah, but I want to lure people to read on.

     My "this" is Jim Lundy;s posting that a quote from my poem remained with him, He hosts the Monday Night Poetry & Music at Charleston, South Carolina's Meeting House on East Bay Street, and has shared his own poetry and music there as well. I am grateful and touched that he remembered.

   From Jim's recent Facebook post:

Thanks to Arthur Turfa for this quote that has been on my mind since Monday:
We get homesick
When we leave the homeland
Even if we suffered in it.


I replied that the actual quote began "We Slavs..."  The poem recalled a conversation I had with Dr. Rio Preisner during a break in a German Romanticism class at Penn State about Alexander Solzhenitsyn's exile from the Soviet Union. Preisner himself was outside of Czechoslovakia when the Prague Spring ended, and wisely chose not to return. 

   The poem is being considered for publication and I cannot post it here. But I will post a link to Preisner's biogrpahy, which has much more than I knew at the time. I wish I could send him a copy of Places and Times, but I cannot.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

We Inspire each other

     At the East Bay Meeting House (home of Monday Night Poetry & Music), I opened with In the Best of all Possible Worlds, which describes a meeting I wish I had with Waylon Jennings. Mark Yampolsky played and sang guitar a little bit later, and said he was inspired to play a song of his that referenced Waylon.

    I think that is really cool. Below is my Soundcloud of the poem. There are 16 other records there, most by me.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Fantastic Time in Charleston- Pix Later

    My wife and I had a wonderful mini-vacation n Charleston, South Carolina; a tour of the city, some bumming around, and a return reading at Jim Lundy's Monday Night Poetry and Music.  I saw some friends, made new ones, and my wife found someone there who was fron t
he same county s she was in Mississippi. I found some people who lived in Hungary for a few years. Yohe!

    I also dropped off a copy of Places and Times at a bookstore, and will await whatever happens.
There will be some pictures when my camera powers up. But for now let me include a poem I read from the book.

At times I want to ride
At times I want to ride a chestnut horse
over wide, undulating, endless steppes,
with hooves pounding out a staccato beat,
our heads lowered to enhance speed,
pointing toward the elusive white stag
ever within our sight, ever out of reach,
leading to verdant valley far away.

Years ago I only kept the gas tank half-full
in my ’72 Duster slant 6.
Great was the temptation to drive beyond
the mountains hazy with residual smog,
looming as I dropped from the 55
on slender concrete ribbon down to the
San Diego Freeway towards Irvine.
The time had not come for me to leave.

Now my life no longer fits into a car.
The white stag has blended into the mists
and I am content to be where I am.
Dismounting, I set the horse to pasture
and sit sheltered by the tall pine trees.

Arthur Turfa, Places and Times ©2015

Saturday, June 25, 2016

As Promised, More Musings on Brexit

     Before I practice some poems for Monday's reading in Charleston, South Carolina (named after Charles II in 1663, incidentally), I will express some more thoughts on Brexit and related matters. At my left hand (I am a southpaw) is a gin and tonic without ice. I normally do not like mixed drinks, but summers are humid here.    If southpaw confused you, it is a baseball term.

     My ancestry is not British/Irish by any means. I am Hungarian-German-Belgian (Walloon). I am second generation American; three of my four grandparents were born in Europe. The fourth was conceived there.  My wife is Scots-English-Scots/Irish-Dutch). Truth be told, my parents where Anglophobes, especially my mother. She thought the Beatles' royalties earned in the US should stay here. In her opinion, "If it weren't for America, they would be goose-stepping and singing 'Ja ja ja'?

    What did my elder brother and I do? We rebelled of course, playing "Twist and Shout loudly on the Hi-Fi, adopting Carnaby Street attire as best we could in the environs of Philadelphia, and falling love with Emma Peel.

    In 1979 I had a Britrail Pass and toured around. My brother and his wife were in Manchester, and I used their place to leave a bag and stay as I gadded about. I regret not seeing the Highlands or Wales, but I had fun. Four years later my wife and I honeymooned in England. nothing like trying to get a room on London during Wimbledon or  being at Stonehenge the day after the solstice!

   During my deployment to Germany in 2004-2005, some of us were going to London, but plans fell through. some wanted to drive; I suggested the "Zug und Glug" (Train and Plane) from Frankfurt. I did not have much time for leave, so I did other things.

   I prefer hot tea, and proper tea, in the mornings. German friends said I had a British sens eof politeness. (There are many who would laugh at that. People from Pennsylvania are not held up as paragons of politeness for some reason). I am an Anglophile. Arthur William Turfa?  Well it should be Wilhelm, but you get the idea.

     Britain is part of Europe.People would ask me there if I planned to go to Europe on my trip. I wanted to say, "Where the hell to you think we are now,Stanley?" But I was polite. I am of an age that would suggest that I would have voted "leave". But I would have voted to "remain". I know there are problems. We are trying to keep Trump out of the White House, for goodness' sake! But how can we deny the youth a chance to work in the EU easily. I would have loved to work in West Germany. Most jobs were for English teachers, and they preferred the Queen's English.

    These days I can tell my German students that they have the chance to work for a multi-national corporation in Germany. an my UK counterparts say the same now? I have always believed in inclusion, larger groups, and have found my niche in them, even though I often follow the beat of anoth
er drummer, to reference Thoreau.  Leaving the EU does not help.

    UK friends, I am sorry. But things are never as bad as they seem. Stiff upper lip and all that, wot?

     By the way, as I write this I am listening to the Kin;s "We Are the Village Green Preservation Society" full album. How did Ray Davies vote?

The Do-Over Mindset

     Students in many US high school can re-take a test if they do not do well, provided that they for for tutoring. While that might have helped me in math and physical sciences, I survived. some students are amazed to find that they are taking a different test on the same material.

     In college or university, that is not an option, nor should it be. Nor should it be at the ballot box.

     Now many UK citizens are frantically googling "EU" to learn about it, and to check the facts against the campaign assertions. Too bloody late, mate!

    In the US, we tend not to vote because of no good reason, but then claim every right to complain and kvetch over everything.

    I end by quoting a famous residnt of England. "Oh bother.: (Winne the Pooh)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Great Poem on Poem-a-Day

   The Academy of American Poets has a Poem-a-Day feature, which I have mentioned before. Anyone can sign up for it, even though the title might at first glance make one think otherwise.

    Matt Hart concludes his thoughts about trying to teach people about poetry who are not always receptive in this excellent way:

Who has time
for poetry has more time than they deserve

   It is certainly by grace that we have the arts, especially poetry, and that some of us appreciate it, and some of us write it as best we can. I marvel how in some communities I follow, how people post daily or several times a week.

   I merely an tankful for the grace, and try in my own way, as best I can, so share it. Thanks, Matt Hart!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Poetry Syllabus

   Two months from now I will be teaching for the first time a poetry class as a local technical college. Last night I mapped out the syllabus.

    What is a technical college, you might well ask. It is the southern equivalent of the junior or community colleges found elsewhere in the United States. These are two-year colleges, usually non-residential. Students either earn a certificate or associates degree to enter a career or transfer to a four-year college or university. Tuition is less than at a four-year school, and many states, South Carolina being one of them, offers scholarships to students who have a certain Grade Point Average.

   Combing through the Norton Poetry Anthology, 5th edition, is daunting. I have six units, and eithin five of them I require certain poems to be read. I encourage others to be read. I felt like I was choosing between my children as I selected some and left others out.

   The last unit will feature poetry communities from Google+ as well as some poems by friends who have published, and yes, one or two of my own.

   Incidentally, I am not a full-time instructor at this institutiuon. I am an adjunct; I always make that clear. Over the years I have taught about 30 classes as an adjunct in South Carolina and Pennsylvania, in English, History, German, and Religion. I have a day job
teaching German and English at a regional high school.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Happy Birthday, Ray Davies!

     True artists are not a flash in the pan or a one hit wonder. They evolve, mature, and create masterpiece upon masterpiece. The Kinks are more than a Second Wave of the British Invasion group of rock and rollers.

     Most of that is due to Ray Davies, an incredibly gifted songwriter. "Waterloo Sunset" is an early hit single, and it is reflective. This is more than about someone waiting for a girl who really has him going. This song is about a place, what goes on there, and what it symbolizes.
     Obviously I resonate to that sort of vibe, or I would not have called me book In 1979 I first visited Waterloo Station, and of course thought of the song. Four years later I mentioned it to my bride there on our honeymoon.

Places and Times.

     Below is a link to an article about the song. After that is a link to a lovely song from Arthur.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Here are some links; two are for coming events, and the third is from a recent one!

First: Monday, 27 June, 8 PM in Charleston at Jim Lindy's Monday Nighr Poetry & Music. This is a return appearance!

In Columbia, SC, at the Forest Acres Barnes & Noble bookstore:   a reading and signing.

From a recent at Mind Gracy in Columbia, SC at Pizza Man. This is part of my reading.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Why not ask me a question on Goodreads?

     Of course, you can always ask me here in a comment, on Facebook, or e-mail. But Goodreads is a neat group that is free to join. You are here because you like writing, readings, the arts. Some of you write also.

     Right now I am working on another series of interview questions for a magazine. I have done a radio show, some blogs, but this is a first. I figure there is no harm in answering some questions from you.

    Earlier today I posted something about Paul McCartney for his birthday; one link was about his writing process. Certainly I am not in his league, but any creative person has his or her own process.

    Ask me here:   I would l
ove to hear from you. Check out the rest of my site, and the authors I follow. Also you can see what my friends read. 

...when he's 74?

     Happy Birthday, Sir Paul! It seems as though he has been around forever, and that's because he has been. Over his lengthy career he has written in every conceivable musical genre. Right after the Beatles dissolved, he seemed to have lost his way, but soon showed what he was made
of and has not looked back since.

    His devotion to his wife, Linda, was sincere and touching. Her early death from cancer  was mourned by many people the world over.

    I post three links. The first talks about songwriting and creativity. The second is his official site. The final is the Beatles cover of Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" from the BBC live recordings. Paul's voice is powerful, wild, and spot on!

Friday, June 17, 2016

     The link has part of my recent reading at Mind Gravy from 15 June 2016 in Columbia, South Carolina, from the Pizza Man (that explains the background noise). Leslie Gilroy tapes many of these events, and I extend my thanks to her.

     I read a poem that I submitted to the "Poets Respond to Race" site and what I intend to be the start of my second book, "Accents".

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Barnes & Noble Appearance 6 July in Columbia South Carolina

My thanks to Barnes & Noble and eLectio Publishing for making this happen!  I am very pleased and look forward to this event. Since most of you live too far away to come, I appreciate your kind thoughts and your interest in my book!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Artistic Website up and running

    Not mine by a long shot, although poetry is an art form. Carol Worthington Levy, whose artwork inspired me to write poetry again and whose work graces the cover of my Places and Times
, has her site of amazing art.

     Even in the 8th grade (where we met) I knew she had this talent (and musical/vocal ones as well). Pour a cup or mug of what you like to drink, and spend some time on this beautiful and stunning site. You will be glad that you did.

     She did promise me something for the cover of my next book!   Thanks, Carol!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Here's the official link as posted by my friend and fellow poet, Al Black!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Two Readings Coming Up in June

No current event for Mind Gravy in Columbia, SC on Wednesday, 15 June has been created, but this link will show where and when:

I do have an event for Monday Night Poetry and Music in Charleston SC, on Monday, 27 June

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Finished with "accent on meter"

     accent on meter- a handbook for readers of poetry  by Joseph Powell and Mark Halperin proved to be worth reading. Whether the reader is a poet or someone who has to or is interested in reading about these things, he or she will find much valuable information. There are detailed but not pedantic explanations, as well as some practical exercises. The range of poets represented is broad-based, and the authors are to be commended.

     I intend to refer to the book when teaching my poetry class in the Fall. Likely the main text will be the Norton Anthology of Poetry, 5th edition. We have to keep costs for the students down, so I might not require another book of poetry by one poet. There are some poems by friends that I want to share and yes, I will through in a few of mine!

     In my own writing, I might include more spondees!

Friday, June 10, 2016

"Winter Skin"- poetry by Robert Lee Kendrick

     Winter Skin is a chapbook that draws you in to places of significance to the poet. That is certainly something to which I can relate! Robert Lee Kendrick finds poetic material from his work in a slaughterhouse, his native Midwest, and his current Southern life.

     "Shadow Ball" reminded me of playing baseball in my younger days. "In Bloomington" evokes   memories of a life life ago, with interesting people in everyday scenes. The title of "Driving Across Georgia, I Stop at the Remains of a Topless Diner" leaps out at the reader and demands that the poem be read; it is worth reading!

     The writing is introspective, nuanced, and engaging. This is chapbook that will not disappoint the reader!

Poetry by Muhammad Ali

    This story interested me for several reasons. First, I lived near Ali's Deer Lake training camp in Pennsylvania for a time. Secondly, poetry is involved. Finally, Ali was such a complex and iconic figure that one is compelled to be interested in all aspects of his lfie. Full disclosure: I lived a few miles from Joe Frazier, who attended the wedding of some of my friends. But I can be objective, and no poetyr by Smokin' Joe has been found. He did have a brief career as a singer.

     The poetry has no bluster, and shows the ability to reflect It is indeed early poetry, and not even the Greats' early work is their best (with perhaps some few exceptions). Compared to what is banded about theses days as GREAT POETRY, Ali's holds its own.

     Perhaps some more poetry will surface. Ali did not choose to keep writing, as far as we know. the fact that a heavyweight  champion, or any athlete, writes prose or poetry is significant and deserves attention.

     After all, how many poets would want to contend in the ring? Not I.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

New poem with picture

   Every so often I get really creative. This poem has attracted a lot of positive attention from Places and Times. On the way home form church on Sunday, I passed by several horses in a field, but this was the most photogenic of them.

At times I want to ride
At times I want to ride a chestnut horse
over wide, undulating, endless steppes,
with hooves pounding out a staccato beat,
our heads lowered to enhance speed,
pointing toward the elusive white stag
ever within our sight, ever out of reach,
leading to verdant valley far away.

Years ago I only kept the gas tank half-full
in my ’72 Duster slant 6.
Great was the temptation to drive beyond
the mountains hazy with residual smog,
looming as I dropped from the 55
on slender concrete ribbon down to the
San Diego Freeway towards Irvine.
The time had not come for me to leave.

Now my life no longer fits into a car.
The white stag has blended into the mists
and I am content to be where I am.
Dismounting, I set the horse to pasture
and sit sheltered by the tall pine trees.

Arthur Turfa, Places and Times
eLectio Publishing © 2015

Two Readings in One Month

    Now this is indeed a first! The Charleston reading has been set for some time. My wife and I plan to make an overnight trip of it, so we can see more of the Holy City, as it is known here. That is Monday, 27 June. 8 PM. It will be good to see Jim Lund
y, host and poet/singer-songwriter, again.

     Last night I was asked if I wanted to read at Mind Gravy in Columbia. They moved the location, and I am told it is a better venue. Hopefully Al Black can be there; he has had surgery recently.

     My plan is to read some newer pieces, especially form my scond manuscript, tentatively entitled Accents.     Charleston - Columbia- my event is nto up yet, but there are directions. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Twitter and me

     When Twitter began, I was not impressed. After all, who wants to know what everyone else is doing all of the time? Our IT person at school suggest though that I use Twitter, among other things, to let others know what I was doing that would otherwise be missed.

    I created a Weebly page, but really haven't done much with it lately. But I tweet, and it has been interesting and beneficial.   If you want to connect! See y
ou there maybe! 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Before "Saving Private Ryan"....

     .....there was "The Longest Day", based on the Cornelius Ryan book. Both films are excellent and important. Spielberg's focuses in on a particular mission, while the Annikin/Marton film has a far wider sweep.

     When I first saw the latter movie, I was fascinated by the subtitles as much as the action. Some people are put off by subtitles, or even the use of foreign languages in films. Perhaps I was more attuned to languages, which is why I became a linguist. Also, languages featur prominently in my second poetry manuscript, tentatively entitled Accents.

     More importantly, had D-Day failed,
this world would have been much worse off. I am thankful for the men and women who fought, suppported, or otherwise did their best for victory, especially for those who died in the process.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

It's summer!

     School is out, and it is great! At this point in my career, I do not need to take classes or anything like that, and I shall savor these weeks.

     While cleaning out the classroom to prepare for a move to a modern portable classroom, I came across accent on meter- a handbook for readers of poetry  by Joseph Powell and Mark Halperin. I dd not know that I had it, and have forgotten where or how I obtained it, but it will be read all the same, Perhaps I can use something form it for the poetry course I hope to teach this Fall as an adjunct at a local technical college.

    More about all of these things later! I am also working on another interview and some bookstore events.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

My reading of "The Island"

This poem has proven to be one of the most popular from Places and Times, and I imagine it is a good time to share it here once more. I pass my the field that inspired it every day!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Oldest writing in London discovered!

      And it was actually from Londinium, so the writing is in Latin!

     Right away I shared it with my brother, whose wife is a renowned classicist, specializing in things Etruscan, my Latin colleague at school, and another Latin-teaching friend at another school whose birthday it happened to be. She used it for review with her class.

     Like everyone else in my family, I took two years of Latin. Somewhere around the subjunctive or another phase of the Gallic Wars, I decided to take German the next tear, so I put on the breaks. Truthfully, or should I say, verily, I would have made a good classicist; people have told me that. But four decades ago it was not a going thing, and I started my study of German, and am now trying to let others experience it.

     But that's another post, and I find it fascinating that so much of Roman Britain is still  being found. Doubtless Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage are wielding shovels to find some ext that translated:  LEAVE THE EMPIRE!

    To quote Winne-the-Pooh, "Oh, bother!"


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, ...