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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

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Oct 6, 2017.

Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Aug 25, 2017.

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Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Tale of Ononis

The Tale of Ononis by Rob Neufeld Part 1: The Making of a Celebrity ❧  Hare Begins His Tale  Ononis was my region’s name.People now call it Never-the-same.I’ll start with the day a delivery came. The package I got was a devil’s dare,Swaddled and knotted in Swamp Bloat hairAnd bearing, in red, one word: “Beware!” Bloats are creatures from the Land of Mud Pies,Wallowing in waste with tightly closed eyesUntil fears bring tears and the bleary bloats rise.   ❧  Hare’s Colleagues  I asked my boss,…See More
Friday
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event

Drop Your Troubles: A Solo Storytelling Performance with Connie Regan-Blake at Black Mountain Center for the Arts

December 1, 2018 from 7:30pm to 9pm
Join this internationally renowned storyteller, Connie Regan-Blake, as she transforms a packed theater into an intimate circle of friends with old-timey charm, wisdom, and humor. We’ll also welcome the Singer of  Stories, Donna Marie Todd, who will perform her original story, “The Amazing Zicafoose Sisters.” Connie’s last two shows at BMCA have sold…See More
Nov 6
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
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Explore the Landscapes of Story and Telling at Lenoir-Rhyne Center for Graduate Studies

January 23, 2019 at 10am to February 27, 2019 at 12pm
A Storytelling Offering in Asheville, NCWednesday Mornings 10am-12pmJanuary 23 – February 27, 2019 This winter Connie is excited to offer a learning opportunity to warm-up your storytelling voice and creativity!  Join her in Asheville, NC at Lenoir-Rhyne University for six story-work sessions with a weekly format that allows for skills to grow over time while encouraging a consistency in discovering, revisiting and refining your stories. During these weekly sessions participants are invited…See More
Nov 6
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event
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Explore the Landscapes of Story & Telling at Lenoir-Rhyne Center for Graduate Studies

January 23, 2019 at 10am to February 27, 2019 at 12pm
A Storytelling Offering in Asheville, NCWednesday Mornings 10am-12pmJanuary 23 – February 27, 2019 This winter Connie is excited to offer a learning opportunity to warm-up your storytelling voice and creativity!  Join her in Asheville, NC at Lenoir-Rhyne University for six story-work sessions with a weekly format that allows for skills to grow over time while encouraging a consistency in discovering, revisiting and refining your stories. During these weekly sessions participants are invited…See More
Oct 28
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
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Connie Regan-Blake presents A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories at Black Mountain Center for the Arts

April 6, 2019 from 7:30pm to 9pm
Join nationally celebrated storyteller, Connie Regan-Blake, as she hosts her workshop participants in an enchanting evening of storytelling in “A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories.” The event will be hosted by the Black Mountain Center for the Arts, just a short drive from Asheville nestled in the picturesque mountains surrounding the area. Call the Center for advance tickets (828) 669-0930 or order…See More
Oct 28
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
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Connie Regan-Blake's Taking Your Story to the Stage Workshop at StoryWindow Productions

April 5, 2019 to April 7, 2019
The focus of this “Taking Your Story to the Stage” 3-day workshop is on storytelling performance. Each participant is asked to come with a story that is almost “stage-ready.” Set in Connie’s home tucked in the beautiful mountains surrounding Asheville, NC, this workshop provides a supportive, affirming…See More
Oct 28
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
Oct 17
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

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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