Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Narrative- It's free to sign up

Many of you are educators, or simply love reading good things.

Back when I taught Creative Writing, I signed up for Narrative:  https://mail.google.com/mail/u/1/#inbox/156d32a03cb54c37

Now you can also.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Interview with Al Black about the Rosewood Arts and Music Festival 2016

     My friend and fellow poet Al Black was interviewed by The Daily Gamecock, the student paper of the University of South Carolina. The event is Saturday, 10 September, from 10 am-10 pm. Al is the ultimate organizer; I have been several times to his Mind Gravy poetry series.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Rosewood Arts and Music Festival Comes Soon

I was going to be at this festivla last year, but we had a flood. the makeup was at a bad time for me. but all systems go now!

Places and Times will be availabe. soon I cna announce some events for October and November.



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Voting that everyone will like

      No political commentary here. There is enough in the USA, and other countries are not immune to it. If you don't mind, though, I would like to ask for your votes on behalf of Places and Times, my book of poetry that has no scandals or anything like that.

http://bestread.net/   Free to join and all you have to do is to find my book, or any other you fancy, and vote once every 24 hours or whenever you can. If I am back in the Top 10, they tweet my book. You might find something else to read!

https://www.facebook.com/summerindiebookawards/?fref=nf   This is a Facebook event for the first 11 days of September.

I really appreciate your support, friendship, and votes if you care to do so. Let me know if I can do the same for any of you! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

English 222 Starts Tonight

     Sometimes, our dreams come true! I have been an adjunct at five school over the years. Currently I am enjoying an eleven-year stint at Midlands Technical College, based in Columbia, South Carolina. I have taught around 25 courses there, mainly in English.

     Tonight I teach an official Poetry class. The 200 level courses are the highest at this two-year school, and is an elective. A few years back I taught 205, which is English Literature from Beowulf to the 18th Century.

     The exciting thing for me is that in addition to discussing well-known poets, I can later on include some of my peers and friends from Google+ and elsewhere, and modestly share a few of mine.

     Unlike many other adjuncts, I have a day job, Adjuncts are slowing getting parity in terms of benefits, but sad reality is that most post-secondary schools could not function with them.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Contest and Two Events


   I appreciate your voting for Places and Times from September 1-11. Thanks!

   In other news, I have been invited back to an event in lovely Akien, SC in April 2017


And a Fall Festival at Columbia, SC's 302 Artisans:


And I am hoping to confirm something for next month! 

Friday, August 19, 2016

An old but well-loved poem

   My friend and fellow poet RC de Winter challenged some of us at Words on Fire at Google+ to share an old poem. This one always draws a nice reaction at a reading, and so I also give a Soundcloud link after the text! 

The Island
No islander am I, but all the same
I wander green fields that go forever,
Rolling on towards a distant tree line
Or extending along to a sheltered cove.
At times I am invited, encouraged
Even, to stay for longer duration,
Taking my place alongside the others,
Savoring the stillness of hallowed space,
Watching colors brightening with the sun
And listening to wafting songs of praise
Resounding over and over again.
Contentment I find there from distant waves
And storms that come clashing onto the coast,
Until the stinging subtle reminder
That I am sojourner, not citizen.
Then turns my gaze once again to the strand
And beyond to the mainland, hovering
As it were above the waves, beckoning
Me to return and remain there.
On the mainland I indeed have a place
High on a hill. From its wooded crest my
Gaze penetrates the mists which are covering
The island. I have memories of the
Green pleasant hills but now I turn inland
To see the beckoning and distant hills.

Arthur Turfa, Places and Times © 2015, Electio Publishing


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Buda Castle

     A dozen years ago this week I was in Budapest. A nine-hour train ride from where I was living in Germany took me directly there. It was hot weather, but I enjoyed myself because I was visi
ting the homeland. The train even based by the actual Turfa homeland in Sopron.

     When I came to my new home in South Carolina, I wrote this poem, among others. Maybe I will write something else about Budapest one day, but this is a favorite of mine.  For those who do not know, the city actually is a merger of the older Buda with the more modern Pest on the other side of the Danube, and also includes the small island of Obuda. 

At Buda Castle
A gathering around Buda Castle
On the night before the national feast.
Vendors’ booths crowding narrow paths upward,
Inside green swath teems between the towers.
Aromas of goulash arising from
Huge black kettles. Colorful dancers swirl
As they have before coming to this ground.
Burly, deep-voiced singer, with red-golden
Fu Manchu leads guitars and violins
Through folks songs inaccessible to me;
But they mesmerize those who understand.
Gradually voice and tune envelop me,
The songs soar far beyond the heavens.
Summer sun wending westward toward Sopron,
Below the Danube shimmers flowing east.
I gaze at the glowing with sunset walls
And feel long-desired connection at last.

Arthur Turfa, copyright 2015
Places and Times,  eLectio Publishing

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Few Thoughts on Baudelaire's "The Albatross"

    When I was an undergraduate at Penn State, I went through a brief Baudelaire phrase. While not a redhead by any means, there was a reddish part of my beard and an auburn tinge to my long hair. I drank lots of coffee and smoked my pipe until I had trouble going up hills. (I had read that he drank coffee often and smoked tobacco to increase his creativity.

     Fortunately for my much-older self, I have paid more attention to my health. But the poem referred to in the title has inspired me. At times we all feel trapped in something: a relationship, a job, in something. Our wings are not made for walking; the speaker in the poem means that we are trying to do something we are not made to do, and that is the root of our predicament.
As a result we yearn to break away, stretch our wings, and soar aloft.

     Whatever it is that you want to do, why not break away, spread your wings, and head for the sky?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Happy Belated Birthday to Philip Larkin

    Larkin was born 9 August 1922 in Coventry, England. Bad eyes kept him out of World War II. He became a university librarian. While having a reputation for being glum, he managed to have attracted several women romantically in his life.

    I post his reading of "Cut Grass", because I managed to mow my yard before teachers reported to my school. Whether Larkin cut his own grass, assuming that he had any, I cannot say.




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

42nd Anniversary of Nixon Resignation

     In 1968 I campaigned for Richard Nixon as much as any teenager could. Back then I was even a Teen-age Republican, of the liberal sort. I even heard him speak; he was an impressive speaker. Four years later my mind had changed and I voted for George McGovern.

     During the Summer of 1974 I studied in Trier, then West Germany, through Georgetown University. I was going to attend graduate school there, which I eventually did not do. But in June of that year I stayed with a Penn State friend who was in grad school but at George Washington. He later went on to be a White House correspondent for Reuters. He took me to a party in his building., where I met David and Julie Nixon Eisenhower. We did not discuss politics.

     Soon afterward we watched the resignation in the middle of the night German time. Now this Summer, I shake my head at what is going on during our election season, and I miss Nixon. A high school and Penn State friend and I were chatting about that tonight on .

     Listen to James Taylor's song about the resignation.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Touching Story about a Poet and a Muse

     Leonard Cohen has been a fascinating, nysterous figure for decades. His fellow artists have long appreciated him, especially Judy Collns, who literally coaxed him into singing "Suzanne" at a concert.

     Recently, the Guardian ran the story about how he sent a touching farewell letter to Marianne Ihlen, who inspired two of his early songs, The link below tells the story and mentions the two songs:


     What impresses me is the tenderness between the two which endured
over the decades. My understanding is that Cohen and Ihlen had not been in touch for a long time. But they had a connection that did not require frequent contact. The romantic relationship they had did not last forever. But the artistic relationship continues. She inspired him and the songs give testimony to that.

     Who is there in our lives who have inspired us? There need not have been a romantic attachment.but for those of us who create art in any fashion, we should be thankful for the muses we have known.

     And the obvious song:


Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Summary of Good Thingsl

     This is a different type of post. Over the last few months I have had a few interviews, and have a few more in the works. I am going to list the posts, and hope you can access them easily; newer visitors to this blog might be interested to see what they have missed!

11 May:  https://thewritestuffradio.wordpress.com/tag/poetry/

                http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pjcmedia/2016/05/10/places-and-times--write-stuff--5102016  - the actual interview with  Parker J. Cole.

22 May- http://awturfa.blogspot.com/2016/05/interview-onjoanna-kurowskas-page.html
               Interview with Joanna Kourowska, poet, mentor, and friend

12 July- https://fromtheauthors.wordpress.com/2016/07/
               Interview with Christina Hamlett

I am deeply honored to have had these wonderful opportunities to speka about my book and to make new friends.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Alfred Lord Tennyson, born 6 August 1809

   Tennyson followed William Wordsworth as Poet Laureate, in 1850. Daunting not only because of his predecessor, the role of the Laureateship was changing and Tennyson had not been the first choice.

    When I taught English IV- British Literature- I always felt we cheated the post-Romantic 19th Century. We leap-frogged over them from the romantics to Eliot and Auden, at least in my class. Partially that was due to it being the end of the semester, and in the Spring, graduation neared.

    The Idylls of the King esepcially was ignored, mainly due to its length. But Tennyson imbues the narative iambic pentameter prose with majesty. I caught some of that in graduate school. Right now Arthur's final words speak clearly to me amidst the backdrop of a confusing election campaign in the USa and other events around the world:

http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/tennyson/tennybio.html  - a brief biography of the poet

And slowly answer'd Arthur from the barge:
 "The old order changeth, yielding place to new,             240
 And God fulfils Himself in many ways,
 Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
 Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
 I have lived my life, and that which I have done
 May He within Himself make pure! but thou,
 If thou shouldst never see my face again,
 Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
 Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
 Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
 For what are men better than sheep or goats                 250
 That nourish a blind life within the brain,
 If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
 Both for themselves and those who call them friend?

https://library.sc.edu/spcoll/britlit/tenn/morte.html  the entire text

Friday, August 5, 2016

Now this is progress!!!!

   One of my alma maters, the University of California-Irvine, has been ranked Number Two in a listing of Best College Town's. Columbia, South Carolina, near me is Number 3.

    Back in 1975 I went to a student welcome party on the very new campus. The student union was in a double wide called The Antrap. Students has chosen the Anteater from the B>C> comic strip as its mascot. I thought that was weird but since I has been granted a teaching assistant
ship, which UC-Berkeley did not give me, I kept my thoughts to myself.

    When the leg of beer ran dry, someone asked me for a dollar towards a beer run. Then somebody else asked who was 21 and able to buy beer. My hand was the only one raised.

    There was not much to do on campus or in town in those days, but I enjoyed myself. Usually we went to Newport Beach, Balboa Island or something like that. I remember my time there fondly, and a few years later tried to return to California for my seminary internship and beyond. That didn't happen, but that;s all right!


Thursday, August 4, 2016

"Thunder Road" by Springsteen is Stand-Alone Poetry

     Not all song lyrics can be read as poetry. But Bruce Springsteen's lyrics for "Thunder Road" portray the frustration of people who are no longer young who throw all caution to the winds and have "one last chance to make it real". I heard the song on the way home from school. Yes, summer is ending.......

    I used to wonder whether I liked this one or "Born to Run" better (from the album of the same name. "Thunder Road" does it for me.



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Good Time to Post this One from "Places and Times"

    Twelve years ago I visited Budapest, where part of my family had lived. A few years later I wrote this poem. 

At Buda Castle
A gathering around Buda Castle
On the night before the national feast.
Vendors’ booths crowding narrow paths upward,
Inside green swath teems between the towers.
Aromas of goulash arising from
Huge black kettles. Colorful dancers swirl
As they have before coming to this ground.
Burly, deep-voiced singer, with red-golden
Fu Manchu leads guitars and violins
Through folks songs inaccessible to me;
But they mesmerize those who understand.
Gradually voice and tune envelop me,
The songs soar far beyond the heavens.
Summer sun wending westward toward Sopron,
Below the Danube shimmers flowing east.
I gaze at the glowing with sunset walls
And feel long-desired connection at last.

Arthur Turfa, copyright 2015 Places and Times, eLectio Publishing

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Very Nice Honor

    A dear poet friend asked me to post a poem of mine that she really loves. I did, and in fact I posted it in several communities. POETS selected it for a unique honor. I had never been Poet of the Week before, and may never be again!


Here's the poem!

E’en’s Last Dark Hour
Before e’en’s last dark hour goes by
Softly, my sweet, take I my leave of thee.
Like the wild geese now away I must fly.

Times of bliss we have savored, you and I.
As I leave, thy face, soft with sleep, I see
Before e’en’s last dark hour goes by

Glimmering distantly in eastern sky
Helios rising over yonder tree
Like the wild geese now away I must fly

Long embraced we two under moonlight sky
Upon the lush green grasses of the lea
Before e’en’s last dark hour goes by

Before falling asleep, I heard thy sigh,
Beseeching me not to take leave of thee
Like the wild geese now away I must fly.

Before e’en’s last dark hour goes by
And thou the shining stars no longer see,
Beside thee, my love, I no longer lie.
Like the wild geese now away I must fly.

Arthur Turfa, © 2015
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New Blog from POETS Community

     Recently I became an Owner at the POETS Community. In order to highlight some of the great poems and poets, I have started a new blog, Castalia: Poems from the POETS Community. I hope to add something every ten days or so. There will be the poem, of course, a critique/reflection, and information about the poet.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Impressive Turnout at 302 Artisans Summer Festival

    Approximately 300-400 people came to this lovely setting on a relatively-cool Sunday afternoon. I sold a decent amount, had a few promise to buy later, and participated in an Open Mic. the very first person who came runs a newly-opened downtown Columbia bookstore, and wants to carry my book. I also met someone form a local fair who put me on the list for April.

    Tentatively 302 Artisans will have an event in November. Jennifer Davis Gerdes manages the store, and did an excellent job of making everything happen. A local TV station did a feature on it; I could not find the video yet, but will add it should someone find it. 302 Senate Street is not so hard to find after all!

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, ...