Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year

     For many of you, it is already 2017! In my time zone we are just over two hours away. It has been a fabulous year for me, professionally and personally. To give a few reasons why about the former:

  • In the Summer I became Co-Owner of POETS on Google+. This means I interact on a regular basis with some creative people, and it rubs off on me.
  • On Indie Author Day, I was asked to sit in on a panel about being published. I also got to read some poetry.
  • I was at several successful fairs in Aiken and Columbia, both in South Carolina. I have returned to those venues, or will, in 2017.
  • There were a few online and print publications of my poetry. 
     2017 promises some more ventures. And what have you been doing? 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Sir Raymond Davies......hooray!

 The Queen's New Year Honours includes one of my very favorites of all times, Ray Davies. He is a mixture of old and new. While he sings about old times, he was usually in a rack and roll band. His portraits of contemporary life in the UK, and indeed the world, are musically and lyrically ingenious.  am thrilled for him and would like to express my thanks to Her Majesty.

   I am sure I will have something more to say about this and others on the list, but as the BBC would say, these were the main points.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Auden's "Christmas Oratorio"

    This is only part of the actual work, but I remember seeing it in a {Philadelphia newspaper's Sunday magazine when I was in high school. At that time the poem was only 20-odd years old, and Auden was still alive. I was quite taken by the poem, and resolved to read more by Auden. I am glad that I did.

Monday, December 26, 2016

I am very jealous of Bernie Taupin

     Few writers, and fewer poets, make a living only on what they write. As far as poets go, I have many friends who teach full-time, as I do myself. Another one is a full-time physician. Yet another manages the physical plant of a large university. Several others do not work full-time, but string various part-time jobs together.

    Bernie Taupin answered an ad in a UK trade paper for a lyricist and ended up working with Elton John. In their early days Bernie wrote lyrics, mailed them to Elton, and had no input about the music. Obviously Elton knew what he was doing, since they both became rich. Later on Bernie started going to the studio.  - Some list!

   What an ideal life! He has brought enjoyment to millions of fans, even if they did not know who was writing. Even early on I remember Elton introducing Bernie at interviews and documentaries, which speaks well of the singer/composer.

    Ah, to write one hit!  Or maybe lyrics for a hit album or two....

    Well done, Bernie! 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Three chapters into "Born to Run"

    I have heard a few segments on "E Street Radio" on SiriusXM where Springsteen reads from his autobiography. Today I received a copy for Christmas (thanks, Pam!), and the CD. After a few chapters,  I even more impressed.

  Springsteen mentioned two wrestlers from 1950s television: Bruno Sammartino (a good guy) and Haystack Calhoun, 600 pounds of bad guy.

   The descriptions of Freehold, NJ, are detailed and Springsteen's reflections about his childhood are very perceptive. I hope that will continue to be the case as I read more. What impresses me is how he can take the good out of a bad situation. He survived Catholic school education at a time when it was "hands on". While not a devout Catholic, nonetheless his spirituality is rooted in that religion, and is not too far away. Remember, I am Lutheran, so I do not profess to be an authority, although I am close enough to that part of Christianity to get what he means. 

   I hope to read some more before school starts!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Poem reprinted in "Whispers"

   This one was previouly in "Mused BellaOnline". Thanks, Karen O'Leary!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

I Remember Oplatky

     My wife sent me this link recently. It brought back happy memories of my time in the Slovak Zion Synod- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and of St. John's Church in Lansford, PA. For about nine years I was rostered in this Synod, the longest of my ordained ministry. Three of those years were with St. John's the rest leave for graduate studies and then my Army deployment. I joked that I was in that Synod due to Affirmative Action, being primarily of Hungarian ancestry. Magyars (our true name) and Slovaks share a border and not much else.

     My first Advent in St. John's was marked by requests about oplatky. I had heard about them, primarily from Polish Catholics, but knew that Slovak Lutherans held the wafers in a special place also. It seems that my predecessor, also not a Slovak, allowed the oplatky to be ordered but if the money to pay for them did not come in, cancelled for the next year. One box of a hundred or so was less than $20, as I recall it.

     I even saw bulletin sand newsletter announcements that he wrote which were along the lines of "When I cam here, you assured me that the oplatky was part of YOUR tradition and that YOU would pay for them. But we had to cover the costs, so I stopped them."

    To me that sounded harsh. Several people came to me timidly, and some even tearfully, begging me for the oplatky. At a church council meeting I authorized ordering oplatky and said that if they were not paid for the costs would be covered somehow or the other.

     People were glad. Some came and asked for permission to take some for relatives. Several said they had no money right then. My answer was to smile and tell them to take whatever they wanted and to pay when they could.

     Now we live in South Carolina, and are far away from oplatky and so much more. But I am glad to remember those things that keep us anchored to faith and to tradition, not for its own sake, but for a larger purpose. The links explain more.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

     Either link will take you to the Castalia Blog. Here I post some tremendous poems from the Google+ POETS community. Please stop by.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Poem of mine from the latest Our Poetry Archive

   My wife Pam and I spent some time in August visited nearby Musgrove Mill Revolutionary War battlefield site. It is a South Carolina state park There were some major battles in the final phase of that conflict here
such as Camden and The Cowpens. And there were dozens of other skirmishes in a conflict that put neighbor against neighbor. 

     The vitriolic state of affairs known as the 2016 Presidential Election got me to wondering if we might not be headed toward something similar. Our Poetry Archive ws kind enough to publish it this month. A long-term dear friend, Carol Worthington Levy, posted it on Facebook, as did a newer friend, Jane Crooks Britt. you can see two other poems by me, and many more by other poets at:

Along the Enoree’s banks, Musgrove Mill
lies among the Piedmont’s pines and hardwoods.
On a sultry, long-ago August day
Loyalist and Patriot joined battle,
neighbors and kinsman clashing, Scotsmen too,
blood flowing on green-ringed forest meadow.
Now rages renewed warfare all around
in cyberspace, chatrooms, and face-to-face.
Everyone a combatant now, none are spared;
Tarleton’s Quarter appears merciful.
Friendships severed, relationships broken
not only here but from coast-to-coast.
The Republic for which for which the victors bled
unravels like a second-hand overcoat.
Arthur Turfa, ©2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

Bob Dylan's Nobel Acceptance Speech

     He makes some interesting remarks here about Shakespeare, and I appreciate him mentioning Thomas Mann. When I was at UC-Berkeley in 1975, I took a class on Mann taught by his son, Michael.

     Still, I wish Bob had read it in person.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

To Chapbook, or not to Chapbook?

   I know I sound like Hamlet; but there is no bare bodkin here! Right now there are about 25-30 poems that did not fit into the second manuscript; some are in my Six Poems On Kindle Desktop Publishing.

   Tonight I am informally asking for feedback. How does a chapbook sound? I am hoping to publish the second manuscript, but a chapbook might be fun,

    Let me hear from you! Thanks!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Greg Lake, RIP

    Yesterday Greg Lake succumbed to cancer. A founding member of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, he evolved into an elder statesman of progressive rock. This genre has stood the test of time. Trained in classical music and and more modern genres, Lake and his peers combined the best parts of them.

     "Lucky Man" was used as filler for an ELP album but has become much more than that. I referenced it in my recent poetry class when discussing the 17th Century Cavalier poets.

    We were lucky to have had Lake with us, and lucky still to have his immortal music.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Two great links here!

     For once, I am not talking about Places and Times, and what a nice holiday gift it would make. (definition of a Hungarian: someone who gets in a revolving door behind you but gets out in front of you)

    Jenna Le is a wonderful poet; I have never met her, but I have read her books. She is a physician in New York City and somehow finds time to write excellent poetry. I have used her works in my college poetry class.  - enter code HAULIDAY

    Carol Worthington-Levy and I met in our 8th grade Reading class. I believe I made some sarcastic comment to her about the class. We always knew that she would become and awesome artist and musician-vocalist. Many people are surprised that I turned out as well as I have.

    One of her works graces the cover of my book, and she is working on a cover for the next one. I am working on getting it published!

Friday, December 2, 2016

I wish I had gone to Wales.....

     In 1979 I had a month in the UK, a BritRail pass, and money in my pocket. My brother and his wife lived in Manchester, which is where I left one of my bags. I made some friends in Edinburgh and traveled further north and south with them. some of my buddies whom I made when studying in Trier, Germany has enough money left on a Fulbright grant to meet me in London for a weekend. How difficult that was to organize before cell phones and the Internet!

     I never really went to the Highlands in Scotland, and I also never went to Wales. It would have been wonderful to hear the sonorous Welsh voices and to see the scenery. Ah.....Four years later on our honeymoon we came close, but never went to the other side of Offa's Dyke. We had jobs and limited time off. Rather like now, actually, but it is all right.

    Last night in the poetry class I teach we heard Richard Burton reading Dylan Thomas' "Fern Hill". I explained to them how Robert Zimmerman was so enthralled with the poet that he took the first name for his new surname. Only one of the class knew Burton, from Cleopatra.

    The poem is here for you!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Big Mac has its roots in Western Pennsylvania

There are a few things of general interest here. Michael Delligatti did not receive a single cent from McDonald's for this. He also introduced the hot breakfast for steelworkers coming off of the third shift.

I also remember the Big Boy restaurant, from where the idea for a Big Mac came.

But I do not eat so large a burger at one time anymore!

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, ...