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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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Joan Henehan replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Fantastic, that will be very helpful."
Saturday
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
Saturday
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"
Saturday
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?"
Saturday
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
Friday
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."
Thursday
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…"
Wednesday
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."
Wednesday
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
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Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Upcoming Rides

Upcoming Rides(Part of Living Poem) I must take a break from writing aboutThe third Lord Granville’s loss of landIn colonial North Carolina to noteI’m losing functionality in my hands. I’m confining my writing to a four-line,Alternate rhyme form, like a horse-fenceFraming a pantomimeOf equine force.  Hence, It’s time to imagine the power of mind,For instance, when a nod or thoughtInstructs a machine to…See More
Aug 26
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Aug 17
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Cherokee and the Colonists

The Epic of the Cherokee and the Colonists            Hernando De Soto stopped in Asheville in 1541            When the Spanish conquistador came through here on his way from the Gulf Coast to Lake Michigan, he encountered big towns, well-used roads, and abandoned homes.   A smallpox epidemic—one of a series of plagues…See More
Aug 17
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Aug 3

Flynn employs many mirrors to engender a hive mind

by Rob Neufeld

 

            Are you a “doe-eyed, pudding-faced daughter of fortune,” or might you wish to wed one?

            The image comes to poet Keith Flynn when he visits 17th century Amsterdam, Holland—the epitome of middle-class society—in his worldwide hive of poems, “Colony Collapse Disorder.”

            “When the money first comes it seems a waterfall of silk,” Flynn begins his Dutch poem, “Rembrandt’s Mirror,” imagining the painter’s success in pleasing patrons, nabbing a wife, and collecting rarities for his studio before bankruptcy stripped him of all but his mirror.

            Flynn then jumps to an image of Christmas tree ornaments, “whose mirrored surfaces fill with your shadow/ and shatter, razored carols waiting for your bare feet to clatter through.”

 

Vivid trip

 

            Flynn’s metaphorical agility and vividness transport you from one revelation to another.  Combine that with his global view, and you’ve got an epic hosanna to creation performed within a roiling hell.

            In Dharamsala, India, “The morning star enlightened Buddha/ and his first words formed a poem/ out of the desperate ardors.”

            In El Paso, Texas, the poet witnesses a man in a coma sucking on a remembered cigarette, and pictures Death as a be-bopper: “It leaves a hole, doesn’t say/ please, walks with a swagger and takes its toll,/ blows a smoke ring into the fan and watches it roll.”

            “C’mon, people,” you can imagine Flynn’s poems saying, “the dance of life is so great—why so much meanness?”

            In the El Paso poem—titled, “The Future of an Illusion”—Flynn zaps us with a hip theology: “If God lived on Earth, people would break/ His windows, egg His barely moving electric car,/ step on His robe, and call him a fag at the mall.”

            Why is that?  It goes back, for Flynn, to an inheritance from his father, as he reveals in a rare autobiographical poem, “Assuming the Conception,” set on Flynn Branch Road, North Carolina.

 

Facing the demon

 

            “My body turned 45, and the wheels/ fell off,” he begins, facing death’s visage.

            “Lolling about in this Hell,/ old bird, your beak numbly clacking,/ clenched around a twig whittled/ to the size of a cigarette, you will not succumb to this institution’s whitewashed/ viral simplicity, its bardic death-head.”

            Flynn has developed a career as a rock band leader, as well as editor (“Asheville Poetry Review”) and producer (White Rock Hall, Madison County). 

I’d like to assign an animator to his case.  The voice-over in the movie version, at times, would be a kind of god who seems to take a delight in human suffering.

            “The university of adversity,” the poet’s father had crowed, the Flynn Branch poem tells.  

            “The soul sings,” the poet rejoins, “and my father, a quavering note/ who has not risen, lives still.”

 

Web awareness

 

            “Colony Collapse Disorder,” with all its travel, has a local grounding; but that is only the roosting spot in a web that reaches as far as Kubla Khan. 

            Flynn’s connection with the cosmos pre-dates the Internet, and has poets such as William Blake and Allen Ginsberg to thank.  It is interesting, therefore, to read his take on modern connectivity in his poem, “Facebook,” set in Queens, New York, apparently after the location of an anonymous female correspondent.

            “Perhaps I could be the high altitude tree, she says, sauntering about/ miles above your giant wooly rodent, or a cobalt-colored toad the size/ of a pea, with torrid little wings that purred like turbines as I wound/ around the breeze of your argument.”

            “Without our bodies we cannot love,” Flynn comments; and compares web information to a billion Pony Express ponies “steaming at the same time into a town riddled with mirrors.”

            He also calls the profusion “a barrage of bait”; and we are like “a giant gray tarantula in early evening,/ tense with near-misses and brilliant collisions, its movement as frantic as its mind.”

 

Reasons to reach

 

            Why do we read Flynn, beyond the pleasure of his phantasmagoria?  Why do his gymnastics, pain, and vision resonate with us?  He explains the serious intent well in his preface.

            The title of his new volume “is taken from the strange occurrence, discovered in 2006, that began to happen to America’s honeybees”—a perfect storm of viruses.  “The few bees to survive were reeling, and wandering, without purpose, like survivors of a terrifying apocalypse.  Great lobes of the hive mind had died.”

            The connection between bees, pollination, and our food supply is not difficult to draw.

            “It occurred to me,” Flynn writes, “that this was an ideal metaphor for our current global circumstance.”  The metaphor also influenced the design of the book.

            Each of 52 poems, “built in a circular fashion like a Mayan calendar,” and like a hive, attempts “to capture a sense of what a worker bee might see through the eyes of a human.”  Colony collapse.

            Flynn hopes that readers, travelling “around the world in eighty or so pages,” will reach out “with a new awareness of the other spirits that are occupying their hive.”

 

THE BOOK

Colony Collapse Disorder by Keith Flynn (Wings Press trade paper, 117 pages, $16).

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