Monday, October 31, 2016

Another honor from US Congressman Joe Wilson for me!

Reformation Day

     Today is a special day for all Lutherans, and all of us agree on that! (Regular readers will remember that I am a Lutheran pastor. Officially I am retired, and am rosters with the South Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.)

     Next year will be the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's posting of the 95 Theses on the door of Wittenberg, Germany's Castle Church. They were an attempt to correct some abuses, but in the climate of the times, began the process of his excommunication and the split in the Western Church. The Eastern Church had already been separated five hundred years previously, which some people forget or do not realize.

     Among other things, the process included Luther's reformation of the German language and the use of the vernacular in worship. As a result, the stirring music of Bach and many others came into being.

     After so long the hope is for reconciliation among believers in a secularized world, whatever form that may take. There are no preconditions. Today Pope Francis is in Sweden to take part in official celebrations. Too bad there was not  pope like him around in 1517!


Sunday, October 30, 2016

David Crosby on Kanye West

     David Crosby makes headlines again. I cannot say whether he is correct about Kanye West. His genre is not one of my favorites, and as a result I cannot say anything about his talent or lack thereof. However it is interesting that Crosby weighs in.

     Today I heard a song from Crosby's new album, Lighthouse, on the radio. It was an impressive song. Maybe West will review it!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Will they raise the standard in November?

   An earlier post spoke about this excellent book. Will disappointed Trump supporters rise up against a President Clinton?

   Full disclosure: I have always voted Democratic in national elections, beginning in 1972. In my earlier life, I was chairman of the local Teenage Republicans (TARS) in Montgomery County, PA. At that time I was a Liberal Republican, still admiring William F. Buckley's vocabulary, but not his politics. By 1970, I realized that I was more in tune with the Democrats.

   Now that all that is out of the way, I do fear some trouble if Trump loses, as he likely will. Part of me wishes that we had taken to the streets in 2000, when Gore was robbed of his rightful victory. Maybe my Jacobite fascination began then. Some friends and I even had some problems with toasts to the President of the United States at Army dinners. I thought of the "King over the waters".

    However, no one in 2000 thought of committing acts of violence. That is not the case in 2016, I fear. I am saddened by what is happening to my country. But I have faith in it, and that things will be all right. There is not much more that I can do!

Student poetry- Blythewood Poetry Society

   A few years ago I had a Poetry group that met during the school day every three weeks. Some other students have contributed.  One of them did the web page, and yesterday a student submitted a new poem. Check it out!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tthis Poem was honored on Poet's Dream!

Thanks to all who commented, liked and plussed! Special thanks to Elusive Me for making this her personal choice!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Leonard Cohen article from The Guardian

    Who says poets cannot be cool? Cohen still brings it.

Six Poems- a sampler on Kindle Desktop Publishing on Amazon

     At the recent Indie Author Day in Aiken, SC, a presenter suggested publishing something on Kindle Desktop Publishing (KDP). She is a published author. but encouraged us all to put something on this site. Those with Kindle Prime can read for free. Otherwise there is a small charge.

     For one US dollar, people can read six poems that are not in either manuscript (Places and Times, eLectio Publishing 2015, or the one I am hoping to have published). My intention is to direct readers to the book!

    I am working with Amazon about orienting the picture correctly. Nothing that I have tried so far works. Feel free to offer advice! Thanks.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

     Readers to this blog will know of my interest in the House of Stuart and its attempt at a second restoration. A poem from Places and Times refers to a dream I had in which I was at the court of the Old Pretender.  My wife thinks that is daft, and ironically she is the one with some Scots in her, not me!

     This book is fascinating and important. Riding sets the stage and gives a detailed account of what happened. Here are some of my observations, which in true Teutonic fashion (maybe a nod to the House of Hanover), I shall list by number.

     1. James "III" did not know exactly what Bonnie Prince Charlie was doing.
     2. If the French ship with munitions and soldiers hadactually landed with the Prince, things might have been different. As it was, he was told to go home.
     3. Charles should have solidified his control in Scotland before heading to England.
     4. As it was, he made it to Derby, 120 miles form London. If English and Welsh Jacobites had actually shown up, and the alleged Jacobites in London demonstrated, history might have been different.
     5. Charles did not like to listen to opinion that differed with his. Derby is one example, Culloden another.
     6. The Duke of Cumberland, George II's second son, was a old as Charles but was a better commander.
      7. Even after Culloden the Jacobites had a chance, but even at that battle there were 2,000 of them  not on the field due to a foul-up attempted raid.
      C2- Command and Control is very important. The Jacobite leadership was often what the US Army calls a "Charlie Foxtrot": no reference to the Prince.

    I heartily recommend this book to those interested in British history.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Press Release about Indie Author Day

   My colleague and friend Bucky Ware from Blythewood High School did a nice press release, that was featured in the Blythewood, SC, Country Chronicle. The first picture of me is not from the event, but the second one is. The connecting thread (pun intended) is the same coat (my second poet's coat).

   This is a nice reminder of a wonderful event! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

New Poetry from Jenna Le

     Every so often a writer or a book demands my attention. I resonate to the author or the book, and am gladdened. Earlier this year I read Jenna Le's Six Rivers. Her new book, 

A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora, is worthy of your attention. Below a link to my review:

Monday, October 17, 2016

My new collection

     I have started to post the lyrics of songs that are stand-alone poems. There are no videos here, but they may be on another of my collections. It seemed like it was time to highlight some of these works, Feel free to comment, disagree or to suggest some others to me. Thanks!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

David Crosby Offers Some Thoughts

    A half century ago I admired David Crosby for his mustache, fringed jacket, guitar=playing and singing. I could not understand his addiction to drugs and how he would get into some verbal altercations with his friends.

     In this Guardian interview I resonate to his concerns about America losing its democracy. I do not agree with his view of Hillary Clinton, but I understand why he says them. If someone had told me years ago what things would be like here, I would not have believed them. Once in a while I regret not having gone to law school and maybe done something political. In 1982 I was even the alternate delegate from Giles County to the Virginia Democratic Convention.  That was my apogee in politics.

   Where is the Mark Twain, David Foster Wallace, Hunter S. Thompson to make sense of all this? Crosby tries to, but anyone who infuriates someone as mellow as Graham Nash makes me wonder.;postID=3966920590896785230
    Enjoy the music! Another good song by Crosby:

Thursday, October 13, 2016

I will not gloat, Mr. Herrmann, I promise!

     In 1970/71 I had one of my many conversation with my senior English teacher, Mr. John Herrmann. My point this time was that Bob Dylan deserved to be ranked among the poets we read, such as Shakespeare and Whitman.

     There are teachers who talk to you only to get their point across, and those who actually listen. Mr. Herrmann was the latter kind. "I know you want him to be a poet, Art, but..." He had heard me speak, and then he replied, explaining about rhyme,meter, and the like.

     In my preface to Places and Times, I pay tribute to this teacher because he turned me loose int he library and actually had me in the classroom around a third of the time. That year turned me away from politics and law school hopes, and inspired me with literature and writing.

     When I saw the news about Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize for Literature, I thought of my teacher. Tonight I will post a link, and in subsequent posts, share what I think are some of Dylan's most poetic lines.

    And I only hope that years later, one of my students will think so fondly of me.

P.S.- The blog has averaged around 180 hits a day! Thanks, everyone!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

     My wife sent me the story, and I am passing it on here! Elvis Costello wrote the introduction, and take some time, however you can, and simply lose yourself in the music and wonder of it all. There will never be another band like this, and for several reasons.

     Some historians say the Founders of the United States was a similar once-in-human-history assembly of great minds. Hmm, we could use some of them now. We can always listen to the Beatles!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Interview in Urban Release Magazine!

    Great news! Please do not think I intend for everyone to rush out an purchase the magazine, although one can certainly do so! I only want to share the good news with you.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Give-away and interview on Eskimama Reads

   I am thrilled and honroed to post this:

Thanks very much!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

     Hurricane Matthew cut a little into attendance and knocked out the Internet at the first Indie Author Day at the Aiken County Public Library in Aiken, South Carolina. Nonetheless, it was a productive day. I sat on a panel sharing my experience with eLectio Publishing and spoke about how to get published. Since the video streaming was not happening, some of us, myself included, got to read. I was able to read about seven poems from Places and Times. Fellow writer Valerie Buttler was kind to take some pictures, and I paid her by taking one of her! 

Off in the Rain

To Indie Author Day! More later! Hurricane Matthew has given us lots of rain. We expect the rain to stop in the afternoon.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Sir Neville Marriner, RIP

     In the eaerly 1970s, I was at the Pennsylvania State University. During my first year, I was a reporter for The Daily Collegian, and did some work at WDFM in news. In my sophomore year I took some time off from the newspaper, but that's another story, and worked at the radio station exclusively.

     A few months at Public Affairs director saw me sechedule things to play from 1-2 pm so we could keep our license. Our classical music show was from 2-5 pm. Eventually I became Fine Arts Director for the Third Program, mdeled after the BBC's Third Programme, its classical music show.

   By then I had long abandoned the guitar and had no musical qualifications. However, I would run a staff, tell music majors to stick to the basics since in then there was no Internet, YouTube, or the like. We were the source of classical music for Central Pennsylvania. I also arranged the records and  could pronounce the names of composers/musicians.

   In those days I became acquainted with Sir Neville Marriner. Not merely in baroque, but Elgar and others came to life in his recordings. He was an excellent violinist as well. Now he has passed away, and we have a trove of recordings to savor all the more.

   When i used my radio voice, friends did not recognize me:"And that was the Academy of St. Martin's-in-the -Fields, under the baton of Sir Neville Marriner, in Handel's Water Music." I have adopted a voice for each of my careers: school, Church, miltary. But they all begna in the Sparks Hall studios.

    Maestro, you will teach the angels a thing or two, I daresay!

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, ...