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Interview with Gail Godwin about Grief Cottage

Started by Rob Neufeld in AC-T Book Reviews Aug 3, 2017.

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

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Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

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Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Let’s say every word is precious

Let’s say every word is precious (Part of Living Poem) Let’s say every word is precious.Say every word is precious.Every word is precious.Every word precious.Every word.Word.--Rob Neufeld, Oct. 16, 2018See More
Wednesday
Rob Neufeld posted discussions
Oct 12
Nancy Sutton replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Metamorphoses
"Poignant in so many ways!   "
Oct 3
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Metamorphoses

Metamorphoses (Part of Living Poem)Hear audio: Metamorphoses%20181004_0192.MP3 So Apollo committed the first rape.He’d come back from exterminating Python,The Bane of Humanity, now his arrow-victim,And stopped to mock…See More
Oct 2
Joan Henehan replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Fantastic, that will be very helpful."
Sep 22
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

First Drumbeat

First Drumbeat(Part of Living Poem) The time has come.Call it a drum,Or a crumb,What’s left of life. I used to tell a jokeWhen my life was wide,And I was a stud,And not a dud—I knowI’m not a dud.  I’m a dude,A dad.  But everyone mustRebut the dud chargeAt summing up time. Oh yeah, the joke,A trademark one for meIn that it’s not funny. I used to say I’ll never retireFrom writingBecause if I’m ever…See More
Sep 22
Rob Neufeld replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Thanks for the prompt, Joan!  I have attached the whole work in progress as a doc at the bottom of the table of contents page: http://thereadonwnc.ning.com/special/living-poem"
Sep 22
Joan Henehan replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Is there a way from this website to print everything or might you send me such a document to bayjh@icloud.com?"
Sep 22
Julia Nunnally Duncan posted an event
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Julia Nunnally Duncan at Marion Branch McDowell County Public Library

October 24, 2018 from 4pm to 5pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be launching her new poetry collection A Neighborhood Changes (Finishing Line Press, 2018) at a book presentation and signing to be held at the McDowell County Public Library in Marion on October 24.See More
Sep 21
Rob Neufeld replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"This could be interesting--thanks!  I'm at 828-505-1973 (my home business office).  And RNeufeld@charter.net."
Sep 20
Joan Henehan replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"I'll ask the kids, Barb and Ethan, if they have any contacts who might have an interest in this as a unique topic for any performers they know. It might also be something that my friend Ruby Lerner could brainstorm about to her theatre…"
Sep 19
Rob Neufeld replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Thanks much, Joan!  I'm trying to get some attention for these poems.  Triple Whammy is def in rap style.  And the beat goes on.  Hugs from me and Bev."
Sep 19
Joan Henehan posted a discussion

on Reading Living Poem

You might be the first ALS-subject-matter rapper. Add some beats and spread it. the time is now...See More
Sep 15
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

More from the World of ALS

More from the World of ALS (Part of Living Poem)    Negotiating steps is like someone who seeksTo emulate a goat on mountain peaks. Crossing a threshold, limping inIs like the valley-walking of an Olympian. A cane and its grip make a fellow stopTo consider the physics of leans and drops. To know how a forefinger grabs and digsImagine your digits are chestnut twigs When a new drug trial notably…See More
Sep 6
Nancy Werking Poling posted a discussion

RANDALL KENAN SELECTS NANCY WERKING POLING WINNER OF THE 2018 ALEX ALBRIGHT CREATIVE NONFICTION PRIZE

RANDALL KENAN SELECTS NANCY WERKING POLING WINNER OF THE 2018 ALEX ALBRIGHT CREATIVE NONFICTION PRIZE(31 August 2018)Nancy Werking Poling of Black Mountain is the winner of the 2018 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize competition for "Leander’s Lies." Poling will receive $1000 from the North Carolina Literary Review, thanks to a generous NCLR reader’s donation that allowed this year’s honorarium to increase (from the previous award of $250). Her winning essay will be published in the North…See More
Sep 4
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Sep 4

Asheville Poetry Review informs the world

by Rob Neufeld

 

            “In times like these,” Newton Smith writes in the new issue of Asheville Poetry Review (APR), “when men and women are dying miserably everywhere, and when politicians and nations have lost all dignity and compassion, it is time to turn to poems.”

            The 22nd issue of the Asheville-based, internationally read journal comes through again with a representation of what’s vital in the field. 

            Does poetry fill a critical need, as many of the contributors declare?  That’s not an easy argument.  Poems do not teach you how to change a tire, though they may teach you how to change tiredness.

 

Beginning with the fetus

 

            Becky Gould Gibson’s poem, “Heading Home,” 2012 winner of the William Matthews Poetry Prize (given by the APR) takes you on a journey from conception to birth with a world of prayer.

            “The jig is up…You’re past blastocyst,” she tells a fetus.  Gibson’s at-ease, intelligent voice talks street, science, and spirituality, as in her address to the baby when it’s 12 weeks in the womb: “And where’s original sin?/  Will it show up on your next sonogram?” 

            Seven months along, Gibson intones: “Stunning how badly we’ve managed Earth.  Yet/ you’ll find it stunningly beautiful,/ wrinkled in places like you.”  Ultimately, she announces: “Here you come in your craft plaited of reeds/ dragging a seine of bright constellations…Lung/ leaves the ocean of its origin, and/ you take your first breath on land.”

 

Very like a bat

 

            The second-place winner of the prize is also a magical expression of worldly caring

            “The young need the old,” Catherine Carter writes in her poem, “The Young.”  “You wouldn’t think it, to see/ them toss their hair silky as the ears/ of vampire bats, eyes not focused on anything/ you can see.”

            But “they need your/ time, your ear for their keening,” she continues, “your admiration/ and pity for their brashness/ and tenderness…Your approval, for the like of which many/ an adult still goes thirsty.”  So, we may forgive the hunger of the bat-like child, “its dainty fangs, its fingers for wings.”

            (See full poem below.)

 

Modest profession

 

            The late poet William Matthews, in whose honor his son, Asheville poet Sebastian Matthews, established the prize, is the subject of Robert Morgan’s elegy, “In Memory of William Matthews.”

            “Bill,/ wherever you are now, I’m sure/ you’re laughing at the way we poets/ take ourselves so seriously./  And I concede the fault, except/ I want to say I took you seriously/ and was not wrong,” Morgan writes.

            As he presents his loving memories like bouquets, Morgan hears Matthews snicker and say, “Send/ no flowers, bub, but maybe some good claret might not be unwelcome.”

            Like William Matthews, many contemporary poets have abandoned conventional Western lyricism for something that sounds more Eastern: lots of music, but not rhyming or strictly metered; with a freedom to shift voices, almost conversationally, and gifted with suggestive imagery.

 

Getting beyond human

 

            Sam Hamill translates a poem written by the eighth century Chinese poet, Li Po.

            “You ask why I live/ alone in the mountain forest,” the poem begins; and concludes, “I live in the other world,/ one that lies beyond the human.”

            One of the reasons that poets can speak to us in such a special way is that they have immersed themselves in lives of reading poetry; and can demonstrate the advantages of a poetic appreciation of life.

            “In her collection ‘Covet,’ Lynell Edwards manages to illuminate the small wonders of regular life,” Janice Moore Fuller reveals in her book review (one of 20 by various reviewers in the APR).

Edwards elevates ordinary things to the level of a mythical objects, Fuller writes.  “She also throws Wordsworth’s ‘certain coloring of imagination’ over ordinary actions.”

            Every rose has its thorn and, as Edwards’ book title suggests, a hunger for beauty brings with it a painful awareness of loss.  Is it folly to covet?  Or to love?

            One answer to those questions is that the poem makes a permanent flower of the dying flower because it comes alive every time you engage with it.  For those who love and grieve—and that has to be the most sensitive among us—poetry saves lives.

 

Saved from disaffection

 

            Poetry saved Sam Hamill, the Li Po translator, and a living stand-out in the boundary-crossing poetry world.

            The current issue of APR devotes 52 pages to Hamill, continuing its tradition of shining light on under-celebrated greats; and on representing world poetry as well as local roots (seven of the eight editors, including founder Keith Flynn, are Western North Carolinians; and the eighth is from Oak Ridge).

            In the late 1950s, Hamill had been a lost teen on the road in San Francisco when the late great Kenneth Rexroth took him under his wing.

            “I spent most of my days sleeping in Golden Gate Park and wandered at night between the Tenderloin and North Beach, searching cars for things to pawn or sell or trade,” Hamill told Lisa Morphew in an interview.

            “Then one crisp afternoon, I spent my last couple of bucks to buy ‘Thirty Spanish Poems of Love & Exile,’” Rexroth’s book of translations.  “I was standing outside City Lights (bookstore in San Francisco) when Rexroth came around the corner…I told him I wanted to be a great poet like him.”

            Rexroth let him stay at his home.  Hamill dried out.  He read through Rexroth’s library.  “It’s not an exaggeration to say,” Hamill says, “he not only shaped, but also saved my life.”

            Hamill has gone on to publish 14 volumes of poetry; and many other volumes of translations and essays.  He has taught in prisons and worked with battered woman and children.

            In 1972, he co-founded Copper Canyon Press, a heralded publisher of new works of poetry.

            Then, in 2003, Esteban Moore reports in his essay about Hamill, Hamill began to speak out against the war in Iraq.  He founded Poets against War.  Major newspapers and TV networks attacked him and “as a consequence, the board and sponsors of the publishing house he had founded asked him to resign his position there for its sake.”

            We wonder if and when poetry will assume the popular place it has had in other cultures and times.  The APR gives us a window into that effort, including with a good look at a hard-knocks-schooled iconoclast such as Hamill..

            “I’m simply not much moved by the stars of what I’ll call ‘workshop poetry,’” he told Morphew.  “The avant garde frankly bores me.”

THE BOOK

Asheville Poetry Review, vol. 19, no. 1, 2012, issue 22, $13.  Visit www.ashevillepoetryreview.com.

THE YOUNG

by Catherine Carter

Second place winner of the William Matthews Poetry Prize, published in Asheville Poetry Review, vol. 19, no. 1

The Young

for the new teachers

The young need the old.

You wouldn't think, to see

them toss their hair silky as the ears

of vampire bats, eyes not focused on anything

you can see.  You wouldn't think it

from the sound of the giggling

almost too high to hear, offering you less

notice than the cries of hunting

bats.  But the young

need you.  They need your

time, your ear for their keening

and chiming, even when it means nothing

you know.  Your admiration

and pity for their brashness

and tenderness, your abnegation

of what you hoped to do this hour,

which for either of you comes once

only.  Your approval, for the like of which many

an adult still goes thirsty, fifty

years on.  Your life drained out to feed

their unfocused need.  They drink

it like bats too, eternally beautiful for having

bathed in your blood like Bathory

countesses.  They do it helplessly,

as you do to your own beloved old,

who forgive you, helplessly

as you'll forgive these, as the weakening

cow forgives the hungry bat,

its dainty fangs, its fingers for wings.

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