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Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Aug 25.

East Asheville history and sites

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The German experience settling WNC 1 Reply

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Lyndsay Eli with GUNSLINGER GIRL (YA Novel) at Spellbound Children's Bookshop

January 20, 2018 from 6pm to 7pm
Are you a fan of The Hunger Games?  Then picture what Katniss would be like - with a gun.  That's just a taste of the "new" West action Lyndsay Eli brings to Spellbound Children's Bookshop with Gunslinger Girl.  She shares her debut novel on Saturday, January 20, at 6 p.m. The US has been fractured by a Second Civil War. Serendipity 'Pity' Jones finds a home of sorts in the corrupt, lawless city of Cessation (think Las Vegas on steroids).  Her shooting skills make her a star of the Theater…See More
Nov 20
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

Cherokee and WNC music and dance events

Two Big Cultural Events in December in Hendersonville & Ashevillefrom press releaseThe Center for Cultural Preservation, WNC’s cultural history and documentary film center, presents, Cherokee Music and Dance on Thursday, December 7, 7 p.m., Blue Ridge Community College’s Thomas Auditorium.  Tickets are $5. The screening of A Great American Tapestry will be held on December 2, 2 p.m., at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Reuter Center, UNC Asheville.  Tickets for that event are…See More
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Battery Park Hill through the ages

Battery Park through the Years by Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTIONS: 1) Present-day view of Battery Park Apartments from…See More
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Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Dave Minneman and a sense of justiceby Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTION: Dave Minneman doing research at Pack Memorial Library.  Photo by author.            “One of the biggest things I did as a kid, in order to escape my father,” Asheville resident Dave Minneman says of his 1960s and 70s rural Indiana childhood, “was…See More
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Julia Nunnally Duncan at MACA Authors' Booth

October 14, 2017 from 9:30am to 1:30pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be signing her new books A Part of Me and A Place That Was Home at the Mountain Glory Festival in downtown Marion on Saturday, October 14, from 9:30-1:30. She will be located at the MACA Authors' booth on Main Street.See More
Oct 7
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Sample 8 Great Smokies Writers at Malaprop’s, Oct. 15

Writers in UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program (GSWP)read atMalaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 3 p.m., Sun.,Oct. 15 Elizabeth Lutyens, editor of the GSWP’s Great Smokies Review, leads the Prose Master Class and will host the reading. ·        Ellen Carr, who works in the financial industry, will read excerpts from her novel of uneasy relationships, Unmanned. ·        Sarah Carter, an artist and photographer who will publish an excerpt of her novel, Jolene, Joe-Pye,…See More
Oct 6
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

The Douglas Ellington effect: An Appreciationby Rob NeufeldIMAGE: Douglas Ellington’s original drawing for a City Hall-County Courthouse Art Deco complex.            “Dear Douglas,” Kenneth Ellington wrote his brother, the 38-year old Pittsburgh architect, on May 6, 1925, “I know things are…See More
Oct 6
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How To Kill Your Reader

Danger is a crucial element in a mystery novel. A killer is on the loose and no one is safe. But sometimes the killer can be the writer, and the victim, the reader.I'm talking about when the author turns into a preacher and the story becomes a sermon. Now I am not against using a mystery novel for social commentary. Writing doesn't happen in a moral vacuum, and, after all, isn't a mystery a morality play? As fellow North Carolina author Margaret Maron said there is no topic that can't be dealt…See More
Oct 5
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Hidden Scars - A Sam Blackman Mystery

Sam Blackman and Nakayla Robertson investigate a 70-year-old death that unleashes a killer.
Oct 3
Mark de Castrique posted a discussion

Black Mountain College as Backdrop for Mystery

My new book, HIDDEN SCARS, is released Oct 3rd.  D.G. Martin notes the star of the story is Black Mountain College.  http://chapelboro.com/town-square/columns/one-on-one/one-one-lost-college-still-shinesSee More
Oct 3
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Upcoming book--Sacred Sites for Secular Times

Sacred Sites for Secular Times: 50 Commemorative Experiences in Western North Carolina by Rob Neufeld              Among the many sites dedicated to history, there are some—both overbooked and overlooked—that provide full and moving experiences.  They involve a physical component, connecting to landscape; an imaginative one, entering other times and minds; and an interactive one, maintaining relevance.             The entries in this book help create full experiences through descriptive…See More
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Sep 22

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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