Saturday, May 30, 2020

"Gilded Land"- Splendid Poem from a Young Poet

Although I write a fair amount of poetry, I read even more.  For the past few years poetry has been trendy, which is good and bad. The more people read it is wonderful. Those of us who write it have to begin somewhere. When I read something that to my thinking is not memorable, I take into consideration that the poet may be starting out on his or her poetic journey. Some poets have become friends, and I enjoy seeing what they create. Among poets no longer with us are the classics, however one wishes to define that, and those who are discovered.

    But the real joy for me is to read something that amazes me. Sophia Smith’s poem Gilded Land is one of them. Carol Worthington-Levy is a close friend from my early teenage years. She is an award-winning artist and does the covers for my poetry books. In addition, she is a member of the prestigious Schola Cantorum in the Bay Area. Each year that group sponsors a poetry contest for youth and arranges for the winning poem to be set to music and to be performed. In this case, Eric Tuan composed the music.

    My first thought when I read the poem was that I would be glad to have such a student in one of my classes.  The structure, vocabulary. (undulating, gloam) and the tone are outstanding. The best part of it is that she was a high school sophomore when she wrote it.  
   Here’s the poem, and a little bit about the poet herself. Brava!

Gilded Land

Wisps of wind carry the songs of our dreams
From ripened grapes that turn to wine,
To otters wrapped with wreaths of kelp
That float on shining waves supine.

Granite bluffs bejeweled with green
Watch hawks paint halos in the sky;
White-capped witnesses to our state--
Their soaring hopes will never die.

Undulating hills of gold-crested grass--
Rivers of clouds around them roam.
As the sun stipples the bay in slow descent,
Copper spires shine in the approaching gloam.

Sophia Smith, © 2019

About Sophia Smith 
Winner of the Schola Cantorum, Silicon Valley 2019-2020 Poetry Contest

“I am a sophomore at Mountain View High School who works as a copy editor and photographer for my high school newspaper. In my free time, I love drinking tea, reading the classics, tutoring, volunteering at my local history museum, taking poetry classes, writing, and working for three online magazines.”

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Pete Townshend Turns 75

     I am running a little behind on some events. Pete Townshend, guitarist and principal songwriter of The Who, turned 75 on 19 May. That's also the joint birthday of my son and grandson! 

   The first link is about his autobiography, which is superior to that of many a rock-and-roller. The second is to his author page on Goodreads (the first link is also from there. Not bad for a band whose early hit My Generation had the line  "Hope I die before I get old."

   Glad you didn't, Pete. I wish Roger the best, and RIP Keith and John.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Poetry from The Pangolin Review 16 - New!

Six Years of this Blog!

       Sitting in during the pandemic, it is hard to think back to the time when I decided to set up this blog. Did the world need another blog, another poet, another poetry book? The answer would be "no" to all three questions.
     However, I would answer that I need to blog, write, and to publish. It is not primarily because of ego; rather it is that I want to share what is in me with others who seek the same things. That is what keeps me going.

    Whether this is your first time reading this blog, or if you come by from time to time, please comment! I would love to hear from you. Just under 130,000 hits have happened here from nearly 100 countries and the "Unknown Region". 

    I would love to meet more of you!



Tuesday, May 12, 2020

"Keeper of the Flame" As Timely Now as it Was in 1943

     I saw this today on TMC. It's the first Tracy-Hepburn movie appearance. What really grabbed me was its relevance.  Hepburn's husband died in an automobile accident. He was a wealthy, super-patriotic national figure.

    He was also plotting with other wealthy and influential people to turn Americans against each other, pitting races, economic classes against each other, and fermenting anti-semitism and other forms of hatred.

    In 1943 the USA and its Allies fought against Fascism. This movie is relevant today also. Only the fascists are here. Yes, I know one has o be vigilant against the radical left. But look at who is marking around with weapons openly displayed, with Nazi symbols and KKK regalia. 

Friday, May 8, 2020

Virtual Reading at Carolina Poets May 7, 2020

    What a great evening! Many thanks to Carolina Poetsm especially to Kimberly Simms Gibbs, fellow poet!

     I shared the hour with long-time friend Catherine Zickgraf and new friend Arthur McMaster.

     Please share the video! If you would like a signed copy, please contact me. Below is the link to Amazon, but there are of course other vendors.


Monday, May 4, 2020

Sad 50th Anniversary : Kent State Shootings

 The "Town Crier" was the Plymouth-Whitemarsh newspaper. The tradition was that the incoming staff did the last paper of the year before they were seniors. I was invited to take the helm at each of the "underground" newspapers, both on opposite sides of the political spectrum.
But I stayed with the established newspaper. For our first issue, I asked this to be put into the Sports section:
Ohio National Guard - 4
Kent State - 0
Our adviser Mr. Roundtree was not thrilled, but to his credit, let it pass. Dr. Wall, the principal, did not call me into the office for that. Steve Dragon and Mitchell Garshman Miller were News Editor and Sports Editor at the time.
As a nation we are divided now as we were then. I hope no one posts something like this a half-century from now about something that happened during these days.

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, ...