Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Robbie Robertson's "Testimony"

     Robertson grew up in Ontario, Canada, in cities and on the Six Nations Reserve. As a teenager he dropped out of school to pursue a musical career. Initially he was in Ronnie Hawks' backup band, the Hawks. Later on he was in The Band, backing up Dylan and then success as a stand-alone band.

     Hawks was from Arkansas; the band divided its time between the US South and Canada. Robertson was fascinated by the South and began to read Faulkner, O'Connor, and Welty. That is impressive for a high school dropout, but it speaks well for the musician.

     More insights as I read along.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

RIP, John Hurt

     When I was in junior high school, my mother insisted that I go with her to see A Man for all Seasons. Back then I wanted only war, adventure, or Western movies, but off we went to the Andorra in the Roxborough part of Philadelphia. For my mother, entering a city as large as that was a big deal, and I should have realized that.

     The character Richard Rich form that movie looked like Ringo Starr when the Beatle grew a mustache. Maybe the movie was not that bad after all. John Hurt played that role; Rich was an ingratiating careerist who hitched his wagon to anyone who had a future.

     A few years later I watched I, Claudius and was captivated by Hurt's performance as Caligula. The insane Roman emperor came across as amusing at times, and not so amusing at other times. Science fiction does not fascinate me, so i never saw him in Alien. 

    After that I admired his work in a variety of films: The Elephant Man, Scandal, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy 1984. There were others, and he was impressive while playing a wide range of roles.
The Orwell novel has become a recent best-seller of sorts in the USA recently, and I hope to see the movie on TV again. When I see it, or anything with Hurt, I shall miss him. Not a pretty-boy actor, but an actor worth watching.



Saturday, January 28, 2017

Blue Deco Publishing announces "Accents" for later in 2017

    Here is the exciting announcement: 

   Great News! We are happy to announce the signing of Arthur Turfa's next book - Accents! His poetry has reached many people, and we're excited to bring this collection to you! Coming 2017.

  This is my second book of poetry, and thematically it has a focus that I am eager to share with you. Some outstanding poets are preparing to read it prior to release. Watch this blog, my Facebook page, Google+ and Twitter to learn more. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Congratulations! You have been selected as an author for the Richland Library Local Author Showcase which will take place on Sunday, February 26th from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at Richland Library Main, 1431 Assembly Street, Columbia, SC 29201 – one of several downtown venues being used for the readings, book signings, panel presentations, exhibitors, writers’ workshops, activities, and events of the Deckle Edge Literary Festival.

I am honored and proud to have been invited back to this event, which is part of the Deckle Edge Festival! 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

finished "Born to Run"- Read it!

   Last night I finished one of my Christmas presents, Bruce Springsteen's autobiography, Born to Run. Most rock and roll books of this genre detail drinking escapades, sexual encounters, a list of drugs taken, and then a repeat or two.

    Not so here. Bruce reveals his reluctance to drink any alcohol as a young man, his aversion to drugs, and some surprising revelations about his decades-long treatment for depression. He does n
ot blame anyone, even though it is a condition he inherited from his father Let me tell you, I had no idea what demons he fought.

   In spite of those demons, he made music that will endure. He also gives insight into his philosophy as a band leader. In an age of touchy-feely crap, he actually led. Not that he ignored anyone's advice; he listened and was able to separate his feelings from his vision. People could disagree with him but still remain beloved friends. That is simply remarkable.

   From the time I heard him first in 1975 until now, I am even more impressed with him. There are few people, artists or people I actually know, about whom I can say that.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Richard Shindell on poets and poetic songs

    Driving to a local parish to fill in for the pastor today, I caught most of an interview Mary Sue Twohy did with Richard Shindell on her Village Folk Show on Sirius XM's "The Bridge". He mentioned a few poets whom he admires, and spoke about poetry as songs.

     He spoke about Wallace Stevens, the Reading, PA born insurance executive who wrote excellent poetry. His "Sunday Morning" and "The Idea of Order at Key West". Stevens rejected conventional forms of religion, like Shindell (although the singer did spend three years at Union Theological Seminary in New York City).For myself, that is certainly not where I stand, but I admire the poetry for its technical and linguistic excellence.

     W. B. Yeats also received praise from Shindell for the song-like structure of the poetry and use of language. Shindell noted that most poetry cannot easily be turned into a song, but at times it is possible. Also mentioned was former US Poet Laureate Robert Haas.

     The interview might be available somewhere eon the Internet, but I am not sure, I will post some links to the Stevens poems, and to Shindell's website.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Shindell's articulate and learned discussion about poetry and language.





Saturday, January 21, 2017

Good Times at the Coffee Shelf

Nice Poetry Slam and then book signing at Chapin, SC!. Saw old friends and made new ones. "Places and Times" available in several formats.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Happy Birthday, Alan Milne!

     On 18 January 1882 Alan Alexander Milne was born in London., My wife was amazed that I knew nothing about Winnie the Pooh. "Didn't your mother read him to you and your brother?" she asked. I had to say that she did not. Maybe she thought it wasn't exciting enough. I made sure that our son got his Pooh exposure, and I enjoyed it as much as he did.

     Milne was already a playwright when he wrote about Pooh et al. Those works overshadowed the plays. Milne did not take that too well, but the world is a better place for it. Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, has a Hundred-Acre-Wood on campus.  I walked through and around it as I dashed to finish the courses and other things for my doctorate.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Poetry Slam, then Book Signing


Poetry Slam Friday, 20 January at 8 PM, Book Signing Saturday, 21 January from 1-3 PM.

Come down andPlaces and Times! 
hear/see me. Get a copy of


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Thoughts about a Passage from "Born to Run"

     Around this time of year I have a chance to do some reading of things I got for Christmas. Bruce Springsteen's autobiography, Born to Run, offers many insights into who he is and why he does things in the way that he does them.

     On p. 265 he writes "No one you have been and no place you have gone ever leaves you." In the paragraph he goes on to talk about how some musicians become, as he puts it, "anemic, rootless, displaced when they seemed to lose touch with who they were."

     Other types of talented people would run the same risk. By extention, everyone would run that risk; however their dilemmas might not be that noticeable.

     The passage leaped out at me from the page. Place is extremely important to me in my poetr
y; consider the title of my first book.  In seminary the concept of sacred space resonated with me. By that I mean a space designated solely for worship. Although for most of the week a sanctuary is not used for worship, it remains sacred. Individuals may come there to pray. Even if they do not, its purpose remains the same.

     There are those people who simply do not travel, even if they can. Saluda County, South Carolan is very beautiful.. I have actually heard someone voice what many others think. When asked if he ever wanted to travel on vacation, he said "I like it right here!" Now this individual has more than enough money and health to go somewhere.

     Springsteen has been able to travel, professionally and personally. He realizes that where he grew up formed him in a way that influences who he is today. While realizing what was not good about his upbringing in a blue-collar part of New Jersey, he does not allow that to obscure the good. Nor does he run down other places simply because they are not HIS place.

    I have lived in more places than he has, and as such I have had some more influences. But I never have left the Monongahela Valley south of Pittsburgh. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Some Upcoming Events for early 2017

On Friday, 20 January, I will be in a Poetry Slam at the Coffee Shelf, Chapin, South Carolina- 8PM

The next day, Saturday, 21 January, same place, for a book signing from 1-3 PM

Richland County Local Author Showcase/with Deckle Edge, Main Library, Columbia, SC
 Sunday, 26 February   Afternoon, but I do not have the times yet.

March is wide open. Any ideas?

Saturday, 22 April,  Wine & Sign, Diann Shaddox Foundation for Essential Tremors:


Sunday, 7 May: 302 Artisans Spring Festival


More details will be made available as they are made public.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Book Signing for "Places and Times" in Chapin, SC

I will be at the Coffee Shelf the night before at 8 PM for a Poetry Slam, and for the signing on the next day! That's Friday, 20 January, 8PM, and Saturday, 21 January, 1-3 PM.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Thoughts on David Bowie

    In between the anniversaries of his birth and death (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016) I reflect on him and his impressive artistic scope . His music was always well-done and often impressive. No matter what there was about the lifestyle, clothing, or anything else, he was a musical genius.

   His fascination with Berlin gave me another way to appreciate him. Where are we Now? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWtsV50_-p4 was a song I played for my German classes.  The Dschungel I knew was not the same as the one he mentioned, but I believe it was at the same location. One class and I had a debate about who
 to pronounce his last name; it turned out we were both right. 

   I also used his Heroes, which is at the top of my favorite songs. The concept of heroism has undergone some transformations, and usually they are not that positive. But the song did get students to think. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBuwC4VJi50

   It will be a logn while, if ever, that another David Bowie appears. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

"Bridge of Spies"

 With a Christmas gift of an Amazon gift card, I ordered "Bridge of Spies" and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a good way to get back to Berlin. I could go there anytime, even in a cold winter!


  Tom Hanks gave his usual great performance, and it was also impressive to see the now Sir Mark Rylance as Rudolf Abel, Soviet spy. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Writing Goals for 2017

    It is the end of a semester, and a new one looms. Actually, two of them loom because one is for my evening college class. As a result, I have not opened the e-mail from Kindle Desktop Publishing asking me about my writing goals.

     But here they are anyway:

        1. Complete the manuscript for Accents

        2. Put together a chapbook of remaining poetry

        3. Finish my YA manuscript and see what I want to do with it

      What are your writing goals?

      Speaking of Kindle Desktop Publishing (KDP)....


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Another Box of "Places and Times" Coming

   For some upcoming events I ordered another box of books. If you would like a signed copy of Places and Times, let me know and we can make arrangements. Perhaps you prefer an electronic copy, and that can be found in several places!  I am reading a a local poetry slam, then selling books there the next day. At the end of February I will participate in a local author event again.

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, ...