Friday, March 31, 2017

I Knew One Should Love the Woods

"Studies show that staring at a photograph of a forest is better than staring at drywall, though a window with a view is better, and a walk outside is best. Gazing at a eucalyptus tree for one minute makes you more generous. Your health will be improved by just a five-minute walk in a park, though 30 minutes will work wonders. Five hours of nature a month is all you need, though, as one scientist says, “if you can go for ten hours, you will reach a new level of feeling better and better.”

    Is it any wonder that I am happy in the woods, even if I onyl am driving through them?

Not that I want to be a hermit, but the woods have always been a place of wonder, refuge, and imagination for me.

From my Places and Times, eLectio Publishing, © 2015


Few places calm me as the woods.
Whether greening, bursting with spring
or bare-branched in winter, pleading
for the cycle to turn again.
Few places calm me as the woods.

At first I was not on my own.
Older boys showed me how to look,
to tell one leaf from the others,
where the water moccasins lived,
over the hills to Ten-Mile-Creek.
     Each adventure brought something new.
     I went on Braddock’s March or deep
     into the Ardennes, with Boone
     and Crockett away from the city.
     Whether alone or in a group
      happiest was I in those woods.

Dawned the day to search for the sun
leaving everything that I knew
and loved far beyond the mountains.
New sights and tones awaited me
Dawned the day to search for the sun.

Behind houses built to look the same
the drainage ditch led to limestone
kilns, quarries two hundred years old
and railroad between the rivers.
The long, low-lying hill beckoned
to destiny waiting for me
yet too early was it for me.
In time the woods led the back way
to the Mall straddling the Pike

Shadows lengthening, colder air
confined me to the loud house
near the corner of another
residence on a dead-end street.

Years and continents later on
I drove by where woods had been.
Larger, brighter colored houses
settled on fields and woods I roamed.
Where in the hell do kids now go?

Now more woods than ever I had
but far less time to savor them.
Tall Southern pines loom over oaks,
Loblollies and others. Early spring
brings flashes of wisteria
purpling as I pass on my way.

Only an occasional path
leads from the paved road deeper in;
otherwise it is hard going
whether with dog or all alone
through brush and low-lying branches.
Here I remain on the paved road;
enough time have I been in deep
woods, sleeping in tents, vehicles,
even under stars and branches,
through enough undergrowth and weeds
navigating my way forward
to personal growth or complete
retirement, regardless of which
I find first or makes itself known.

Most adventures lie in the past.
My motivations now are health-
or sanity-related. I
reflect and plan more concretely
instead of allowing my mind
to wander as I used to do.
Happiest am I in the woods.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Interview on Mz. Jetson about my KDP "Six Poems"

    Poetry does not always fit the questions, but I talked about my KDP sampler "Six Poems" and my books.!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Colin Dexter, RIP

     I used to kid that my wife and I went through Oxford University. We honeymooned in England, and one afternoon drove to Oxford, got a room at the Royal auto Club Hotel. We walked around for a few hours, and went through one of the colleges; I forget which, but I made my quip. In a way I was liked Jay Gatsby, who claimed the same thing in the novel. My wife and I still fondly remember the fantastic meal at an excellent Italian restaurant we happened upon.

    Later I returned to Oxford reading Colin Dexter's Morse novels, and by watching the PBS programs. My wife and I read them all, I believe. When they ended, I understood but was sad. Last week I was saddened to see that the author/creator, Colin Dexter, passed away. There is talk of putting a statue of him in Oxford, and I would like to see it one day. I would have liked to have had a pint or two with him!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Chuck Barris, RIP

     Of all his shows, I liked Chuck Barris' The Gong Show the best. there was no pretense about it. most of the acts were atrocious, and I loved the comments of the judges when asked why they gonged a certain act. One semester in grad school some of us were sad that a seminar was on the night that the show ran. Back in the 1970s there was no TIVO or recording of any kind.   

     Philadelphia-born Chuck also wrote music. I have a link below for his bouncy, pre-Beatles classic "Palisades Park" and also some of the show.

     For the record, I do not believe that he was an assassin for the CIA.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

In MUSED bellaonline again

     I am honored to appear in this fine publication again. Thanks, MUSED!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott Dies at 87

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Greatest Writer Who Never Won a Nobel

    Born this day in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania *near the city of Reading), John Updike chronicled American society in a slew of novels with deep understanding, excellent writing, and grace. He transformed Reading into Brewer, and also wrote about his later home region of New England. His poetry reflected many of the same themes, and was also of high quality. Updike also was a talented artist.

And my favorite poem of his:


Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

     One of my favorite songs-

     Erin Go Bragh!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mother Divine Dies

    When I was in high school the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Magazine ran a long story about Father Divine. Almost two decades later I was pastor of a Lutheran congregation a few blocks from the Divine Lorraine Hotel. one of his outposts.

     Perhaps this began my interest in fringe religious movements. I was intrigued by how he used language to use a lot of words to see little but sound like he was saying a lot. There is a quote in the first link above that shows what I mean.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Quick Reminder About My Other Collections

Feel free to share, follow, comment, or anything!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Superb Interpretation of a Poem by Irene Riz

     You can also check out other fine recordings of poems from Places and Times here. Maybe you would like to see some of my other collections. Irene did a fabulous job.

     Anyone who wants to record a poem may, even if it has already been done. S
oundcloud works the best, I think. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

My friend and fellow poet Len Lawson had a wonderful Book Launch for Before the Night Wakes You (Finishing Line Press) in Columbia, SC today at the Good Life Cafe. Here he is reading a poem from it.  

TUR Blog Radio Interview Link

     Last Monday I had the pleasure of being interviewed by The Urban Release Blog Radio's Stacy Darlene. In the Fall I was in their magazine! It was great being on the radio again and they will have me back after Acents is released this summer by Blue Deco Publishing!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Somone posted my souncloud

     This is my recording of Chaucer's Prologue to The Canterbury Tales. Middle English is easy if you know English and German. I won't say who posted it, because I ave not been indirect contact with the  person, but it made me feel good.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

"Accents" Manuscript Sent Off

   What  hope will be the final manuscript of Accents has gone to Blue Deco Publishing. There might be some minor things to finalize, but I feel happy, grateful, and relieved.

     Now back to the chapbook, and to see if it will remain one or grow larger. There are several things happening that may turn into some poetry.

     Thanks for your interest. If you want to vote for Places and Times to return to the Top Ten (for Ten days of tweets), please vote here! Thanks!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

What I Am Listening To Now

     Way back when I had an occasional series her of Significant Songs. When I started my google+ collections, I stopped posting that sort of thing here. But I love Mary Chapin Carpenter's The Things The We Are Made Of LP. My wife and I have enjoyed her music for about two decades. Earlier  she was described and "Country Music for Public Television". Her lyrics always impressed me, and this new album, which defies easy classification, proves that she still has it!   The parts follow one another here.  - Favorite Songs is on the left.

   I can hardly wait for what she will release next!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

What I Ended Up Reading on My Kindle

     Regeneration  by Pat Barker, the first of her World War I trilogy. Yesterday the book appeared on my daily picks. When I saw it was about poet Siegfried Sassoon, I figured for $1.99 I  could not go wrong. It's based on Sassoon's breakdown in the war and the recuperation he had where he met poet Wilfrid Owen. Sassoon's friend, poet-author Robert Graves also plays a role.

     The poetry I featured yesterday can wait.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

On My "To Read" List

 Last week at Deckle Edge (South Carolina Literature Festival ), I picked up Cassie Preemo Steele;s book, which is on the left. It is not her newest, but I like to read things sequentially, and the title intrigued me because I teach Mythology.

     A week earlier at the book launch of Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race, I obtained Len Lawson's new book. He did not have his earlier one, so there I go contradicting myself!

     After the final edit of Accents  goes off to Blue Deco, which of these shall I read first Hmmm.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

"Accents" Update

    I am mid-way through the final edits for my second book of poetry, Accents, which Blue Deco Publishing will release sometime in the Summer of 2017! Tedious but necessary work it is, and I am very excited!

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, ...