Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Belated Take on Tim Farron's Resignation

     Right before my wife and I went on vacation, Tim Farron resigned from the leadership of the UK's Liberal Democrats. The party had modest gains in the 8 June General Election, but saw some MPs lose their seats while others returned to Westminster.

     However, Farron based his resignation on what he saw as the incompatibility of being a Christian and leader of a political party, especially a progressive one.Farron sees homosexuality as a sin, and said that he could not stop the questions about how he could support same-sex rights and be true to his faith.

     In the way of full disclosure, I am a Lutheran Christian, and have been an ordained pastor for 36 years. Farron is an evangelical Christian, He and I would agree on the basics, such as the Trinity, divinity of Christ, but would likely have our points of disagreement. Were I in the UK, I would be Anglican. likely High Church.

     The Lutheran doctrine of the Two Kingdoms would have helped Farron clarify his position, but I suspect he would not subscribe to it. He did say that his decision was a personal matter, and I am not about to question anyone's spiritual decision-making process even if I disagree with it.

     In my opinion, for what it is worth, I think he could have stayed on from a religious point of view, but the party's lackluster performance is the real reason. Vince Cable is set to succeed Farron; all well and good, but Cable is 74. At lest he will not be much older for the next General Election.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"Accents" and "Places and tTimes" signing in Chapin, SC on Saturday, 29 July

I will be with another author (prose). More details on that soon. If you would like a signed copy of either book, comment here, e-mail me at, find me on Facebook or LinkedIn, and we can make arrangements.

This is a wonderful venue!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

In MUSED again

I am honored to be published again in this excellent publication.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Chancellor Helmut Kohl, RIP/ruhe im Frieden

     The first part of West Germany I really got to know well was Rheinland-Pfalz (The Rhine Palatinate). In 1974 I spent most of a summer studying at the University of Trier through Georgetown University. It was a memorable, thrilling time as Watergate drew to an end and I made friendships that lasted for some time. Helmut Kohl led the state. Willy Brandt led the nation. The former finished what the latter began: German reunification.

     Helmut Kohl served as chancellor for 16 pivotal years. My sympathies at the time were with the Social Democrats, and still are somewhat. But Kohl accomplished things that no Social Democrat could have done. He was able to convince Washington that a united Germany would be a good thing. Margaret Thatcher and several others heads of state did not think so at all. The link details these events:

     I watched the Pershing missile deployment closely, since after 1983 I was in the US Army Reserve Component. My Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) was designed for Central Europe. Towards the end of the decade I not only met US Senator Jeff Bingaman( D-NM) at a Town Hall meeting, but he asked me a question about it. Although a chaplain, I kept up my reading, and gave a cogent reply. New Mexico is small enough where those sorts of interactions can happen.

     Imagine that Kohl had not been in office, or that Washington listened to Thatcher. There might still be two German states. Or there could have been millions of refugees heads westward from Dresden, Leipzig, and East Berlin (or, Berlin-GDR as it was officially known). Either way Germany would not be the economic powerhouse that it is now. Angela Merkel might still be a scientist, and someone else would have been South Carolina's leading international trading partner.

    Vielen Dank, Herr Kanzler Kohl!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Market Tea Room and Country Store, W. Columbia, SC

 I had a wonderful and productive day at the new location for this store. Jennifer Davis Gerdes really has a good thing going here next to the State Farmers' Market! While it looks off of the beaten path, the store was packed with people. Many left with a copy of Accents and a copy of {laces and Times. I met some delightful people form all walks of life, and had something in common with most of them: military service, places where  lived, professions I have plied.

     Wow! I will be back there!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize Lecture

     Every semester that I teach I discover that a student has plagiarized. I tell them that it is theft. Sometimes it is due to incorrect citation. But usually it is clearly trying to put one past me. My favorite example remains a sonnet that used the word shibboleth; this is not a word that many adults know. I asked the student about It, and he had no idea what it meant!

     When I saw today that Bob Dylan was accused to lifted a large part of this Nobel
Prize acceptance speech from Cliff Notes, I shook my head. If you do not know what these notes are, they are aids to works of literature. Some students will read them instead of the actual work of literature.

     While not outright plagiarism, what Dylan did appears to come close. A Nobel Laureate, especially for Literature, should have done better. Maybe he was letting us know what he really thinks.

     As for shibboleth,

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Happy Belated Birthday, W.B. Yeats!

     What I admire about Yeats is how he combined a love for the old Irish legends and culture with contemporary styles and issues. Too often we either live in the past or act as if the current world is all that there is.

    He was deeply involved in life, serving in the newly-formed Republic of Ireland (and was Protestant, I add, putting to rest one stereotype). The Nobel Prize for Literature was deserved.

   Yeats reads one of my favorite poems: when I hear this, I can hear Mr. McGuire, my 9th grade English teacher!

 Hamilton Camp set the poem to music, and Judy Collins sings it beautifully! I love the interplay between words, music and voice, especially when it is transgenerational.

Another another poem of his, sung by Judy:

Monday, June 12, 2017

Friday, June 9, 2017

Hung Parliament, Now Minority Government

     YouGov was correct on the first part.Now Tory Blue meets Ulster Orange. I fear there will be another General Election for the United Kingdom in the foreseeable future. Boris Johnson may angle to take the Tory reins.

     Lord Paddy Ashdown remarked that the nation has not been this divided for many years. He predicted rather closely what would happen:

     On my side of the Atlantic, we have a bitterly divided nation. But I am optimistic that something good will come out of the quagmire for both nations.

      It is certainly a shame that he never lived at 10 Downing Street.

     Two Cleggs made the new this week. Peter Sallis, Norman "Cleggy" Clegg from The Last of the Summer Wine p
assed away at 96 on Monday. I liked his cloth cap (even had one myself once) and his understated acting. Nick Clegg lost his seat in Parliament last night. I daresay that he will be back at Westminster one day.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Blue Deco Publishing Site

Link to the Blue Deco Poetry catalogue. Check out the rest of their site! 

Soundcloud recording of a poem from "Accents"

   A few of the poems I recorded earlier made it to Accents, Blue Deco Publishing, copyright 2017. Here is one of them. I intend to record some newer ones in the next week or so.

    Maybe if I had played the guitar better, I would be writing songs about wanting to be a poet. OH well, it turned out as it should have, and that is fine.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Back to Alexandrines

   When I get a chance, I believe i will revisit the Alexandrines.

    I wrote two long ago when I was an undergraduate, but I cannot find them.

    Since I am at the point now when I need to start writing (two books under my belt, and a chapbook ready to submit here and there), it is time for the muse to speak to me!

     Here is a link to my collection of Undergraduate Poems. There are three of them. 

Thoughts from the other side of the Atlantic on the UK General Election

    For what it's worth, here are my thoughts. It is very interesting to see a tighter race, with YouGov predicting a hung parliament. When the election was called (despite Prime Minister May's earlier statements about NOT calling one), I thought she would maintain that massive lead.

    But that has not been the case. Fiscal conservatism always hurts society. I see it in the USA, especially where I live: South Carolina. Here we have decaying roads and the legislature did nothing about it. They tried, but could not agree, because it would mean raising taxes/spending money. At least the state pension system was saved. I have a vested interest there.

    There is no strong opposition in the UK. I am partial to the Liberal Demoractrs, but Paddy Ashdown has retired and after the coalition debacle of 2010, that party has been trounced at the polls.Labour has tried to rebuild, and Jeremy Corbyn
has had his own issues within the party. But at least Labour has taken the lead on the center-left to raise some issues.

    The recent terror attacks in Manchester and London are horrifying, and would go on no matter who was at Number 10.

    My prediction: a lesser Tory majority. And then a quicker-than-expected new election.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Wonderful Birthday Present

    Carol Worthington Levy is a long-time frined (all the way back to 8th grade). she graciously did the covers for both of my books. todya I received an original which is the cover of Accents, with some slight variations.   My wife and I were stunned at the generosity and the beauty.

    Link to her site:

    She does jewelry, too!


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Line prompt from POETS

    Check out the POETS community on Google+ if you haven';t done so already!

     I slightly altered one of my favorite poems.for yesterday's prompt, and received some kind comments on it. It is one of my personal favorites, but for whatever reason, it is not in any of my book. Maybe it will be in the fourth manuscript!

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, ...