Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Concluding Thoughts on Egon Schwarz' "Keine Zeit für Eichendroff" (No Time for Eichendorff)

        I finished this book and will share my insights into some things that stood out to me about Germanistik, the study of German literature and language.

        Schwarz's remarks about Higher Criticism coincide with mine. Looking at a text, for example, a novel, without any consideration of the environment that produced it, does a disservice not only to the novel and author but to criticism itself. He uses the example of treating a text as if it were divinely inspired as such, immune from any study. (Actually, modern biblical criticism does perform such an exegesis, as I was learning when I knew the professor).

        When he expressed these views, he was a tenured professor and a renowned scholar. I was a graduate student and had to keep these thoughts to myself, As I read this book, for a moment I wondered what if I had switched gears and left the University of California-Irvine (where he was a visiting professor) and studied under him at Washington University in St. Louis? My seminary studies actually began in that city, and I did pay him a visit there. 

       But I do not have a single regret about how things turned out. I have been blessed with wonderful careers, experiences, and people in my life. Had I stayed with Germanistik I likely, given the job market, become the German professor at a small school, or be one of two or three at a slightly larger school. Not terrible, but not able to teach out of my dissertation and interests.

       Back to his thoughts on Higher Criticism: Schwarz was a teenager when he and his parents fled from Vienna to escape Nazi persecution. After some unsettled times in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, they went to Latin America- Chile, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Schwarz worked a variety of jobs, became fluent in Spanish and English, and eventually studied at the Ohio State University. Most all of his relatives who remained in Europe died in the Holocaust. 

       Given the circumstances of his life, he could not separate literature from the environment in which it was produced. To me a lot of the scholarship seems like what Hermann Hesse described in his final novel, Magister Ludi- Das Glasperlenspiel/The Glass Bead Game. And I am thankful that I did other things with my life, many of which involved Germanistik in one way or another.

       Incidentally, I completed a doctorate (a D.Litt.) at Drew University in Madison, NJ, in 2007. IT is an excellent program that gave full-time teachers/administrators a 50% discount. My school district paid most of the rest, and gas was cheap, enabling me to drive a 220-mile round trip!

      A link to the obituary of Dr. Schawrz:  https://source.wustl.edu/2017/02/obituary-egon-schwarz-professor-emeritus-94/

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Touched by a Blogpost from Germany


     When Russia invaded Ukraine, I knew there would be a massive number of refugees, most of which would head west, especially to Germany. My grandmother's hometown in eastern Hungary became a reception place, given that it is only 20 know or so from the border. But many Ukrainian refugees have relatives or friends in Germany, which is Europe's strongest economy.

     The link above is the English translation of my friend and colleague Rev. Dr. Miriam Groß's blog. I read the German original, but there is a translation option, so I chose that. How she finds time to volunteer in this way amazes me, since she has a husband, four children, and is a full-time police chaplain in Bamberg, Germany. However, that is the type of person she is. She is fluent in English, having served parishes in Scotland and the USA. 

     Now she sees an increasing number of Ukrainian refugees. She will pick up enough Ukrainian to help them, although most of the refugees know some English and/or German. Imagine their joy when they hear someone speaking to them in their own language if only a little bit! What a welcoming sign that is!

     President Biden has authorized up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees to enter the USA. Some will likely come to the area where I live, and I hope to help them in some way. When the war began one of my first thoughts was to call the US Army Chaplains School at nearby Ft. Jackson, SC, and offer my services. But I do not have the linguistic skills, and there are people already in place. 

     The future is uncertain, not only about Ukraine but about the potential expansion of the conflict. That is indeed scary. My faith helps me face such things. Additionally, I will do what I can. For today,m that is highlighting what a dear friend and colleague is doing now.

Friday, March 25, 2022

A Sad Farewell to The Pangolin Review


Scroll down for my second poem which made the Top 20 (actually #7) in their 2019 Poetry Prize. It barely missed a Pushcart.  Sigh....

The Review was based in Mauritius and attracted a worldwide readership and group of poets. Their standards were high, and they were delightful to work with. 

So sad to see the news of their cessation. I imagine it is, like so much else, pandemic-related.

My links:



Thursday, March 24, 2022

Northern Appalachian Review Vol, #3 Available


    The concept of place is very clear in my poetry. Places and Times is the title of my first book.

    When I was asked to be a fiction reader for the Northern Appalachian Review, I jumped at the chance even though I have not lived in the area since I was 11 years old. But that was not an issue. I still sound like I live there, and that place (in my case, the Pittsburgh area) formed who I became. The Philadelphia area played a role also, to be sure.

    Check out Volume 3 for some fine poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. The link is above. Below are my links.




Friday, March 18, 2022

Time to Buy Some Books? Links to Mine


My first novel. The genre is literary fiction. The theme is Faulknerian; a once-prominent Southern family wants to maintain their hold on the town and county. The action begins on Election Day 2008.


Maybe it's poetry that you want. Here are my poetry books. Pick any or all of them!

By the way, the covers are from the imagination of Carol Worthington-Levy, an award-winning artist herself.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Paul McCartney on Poetry

 In many ways, that's what poetry or music is all about- the ability to project or show something through the art itself to raise all of these kinds of emotions to a higher level, just the way a good writing teacher will sometimes ask you to 'show' rather than to 'tell'. 

    from Paul McCartney's Lyrics  (link below)

     Had the Beatles not become the Beatles, I would have thought that Paul would have become an art teacher. Along with John and George, they were in that type of school. 

      Paul writes that he would have been an Engish teacher instead.  The above quote touches on that; the second link expands upon that.  In his book, Paul mentions Mr. Durband several times as being an inspiring teacher.

     About half of my high school teaching career was spent teaching English or an English elective, and more of my college adjunct career as well. I only hope that some of the people I taught think this well of me, even if they do not achieve stardom 


https://www.amazon.com/Lyrics-1956(link -Present-Paul-McCartney/dp/163149256X/ref=sr_1_2?gclid=CjwKCAjw8sCRBhA6EiwA6_IF4YduzkHxEOd9_9ZgsSIEZ1QMgj1A7TNA6Q8SdDGWEBvs-2i5zPnBGhoCrDgQAvD_BwE&hvadid=570428781570&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9010379&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=e&hvrand=16160450475222739562&hvtargid=kwd-666232521112&hydadcr=8763_13524913&keywords=paul+mccartney+lyrics&qid=1647394551&sr=8-2



Saturday, March 12, 2022

Thoughts About Increasing Numbers of Ukrainian Refugees

    As of now about 2.5 million Ukrainians have fled their homes and gone into exile. That number will only increase as the Russians escalate the conflict and target civilians more and more.

     Poland has the majority of refugees, but friends tell me that some are already in Germany (Europe's best economy) and a relative in Hungary mentioned that my grandmother's town, only 20 miles or so from the border, has received some.

     There is one aspect of this that Putin will use to his advantage. Whether or not he manages to subjugate Ukraine enough to install a puppet government, sending millions of Ukrainians into exile will cause strain on the nations that host them.

     By no means do I advocate any nation refusing these refugees. There are many Ukrainians in Western Europe, the USA, Canada, etc. Likely some of the refugees will seek to be with relatives already in those nations. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services stands at the ready; I encourage my parishioners to donate to them.

     Encouraging or permitting citizens who are deemed no longer useful to a Communist society to go elsewhere has been around for decades. In the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the retirement age was 60. Anyone at or over that age could travel to the West, especially, the Federal Republic of Germany, as often as desired. If they stayed and eventually needed to move to a nursing home, then Deutschmarks would be spent, not Ostmarks. Any German coming to West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) was immediately granted citizenship and given financial support. 

     One time when I was going through the Berlin Wall at Checkpoint Charlie, I happened to be walking with a gentleman well past 60. He eagerly showed me some coffee he had bought in West Berlin, along with a few other food items unavailable in the East, save to party members. That experience got me to thinking about the current situation.

    From Putin's perspective, large-scale immigration will also raise tensions in the host countries. Far-right groups will be incensed and let their displeasure be known. That 2.5 million could easily double or treble in the coming weeks.




Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Special offer from Blurb for "The Botleys of Beaumont County" =25% off from MArch 4-6, 2022

 Hello! I want to let you know that my online publisher is offering my book, The Botleys of Beaumont County, at 25% off from March 4-6, 2022. Put the code BOOKFAN into the promo code box at checkout and click the "Apply" button to get the discount. Thanks so much!


Tuesday, March 1, 2022

T.S. Eliot's "Ash Wednesday" and Lent

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9o_B6HS8Xc - the poem read by the poet

https://genius.com/Ts-eliot-ash-wednesday-annotated- about the poet

     Each Ash Wednesday, to the day before/after it, I revisit this poem. It details among other things, Eliot's conversion to the Church of England, and to its Anglo-Catholic wing. 

     We live in an age where Christianity in specific and religion, in general, is generic, fantastical, or tied to a political agenda. That is not the case here. Religion should not be a quick-fix, and it should not be a spectator event. Wrestling with eternal questions is necessary and produces good results. 

     For those readers who are neither religious nor spiritual, I simply commend the beauty of the poem.

My novel:    https://www.blurb.com/b/10799783-the-botleys-of-beaumont-county

My poetry: https://www.amazon.com/Arthur-Turfa/e/B00YJ9LNOA%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Happy 81st birthday, Bob Dylan!

      My wife and I saw him in concert this March at the Township in Columbia, SC. It was a good venue. He only did one old song, opening wi...