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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

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Connie Regan-Blake posted events
Thursday
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Intermission

IntermissionHear audio by clicking mp3 attachment!(Part of poem, "Coalescence") I thought I might take a break at this point to look around,Now that I’m in the business of making things resound.It’s so nice to have the luxury of being carefree. If you stop and sit back and try to take in everything,It stuns you and you can’t focus on anythingUntil something crops up, and what…See More
Jan 16
Joan Henehan replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Coalescence
"It's an odyssey..."
Jan 8
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Coalescence

Coalescence (part of  Living Poem)by Rob Neufeld Intro Don’t listen, children, and do not hear.(A monster is coming and there’s no escapeWithin this story, and no good way to tell it, Except to gaze at the horror as at a flower,A disaster streaming off extremes it breedsEverywhere and in our minds, disabling our power.) Distractions are good, puzzles that teaseAnd please and fill the main scene,…See More
Dec 11, 2018
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Sultan's Dream

The Sultan’s Dream (Part of Living Poem) When it comes to walking, the jig’s up.No more fit lad sitting at the pub.No more flim-flam smiling with a limp. See how the legs totter and the torso leans.Do you know what a lame sultan dreams?Of reclining on a divan wearing pantaloons, Comparing his plight to a mountaineer’sNegotiating an icy bluff in a fierce wind,And then lounging in a tent to unwind. Which…See More
Nov 15, 2018
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
Nov 9, 2018
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, 2018
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, 2018
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, 2018
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, 2018
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, 2018
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, 2018
Rob Neufeld posted discussions
Oct 12, 2018
Nancy Sutton replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Metamorphoses
"Poignant in so many ways!   "
Oct 3, 2018
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, 2018
Joan Henehan replied to Joan Henehan's discussion on Reading Living Poem
"Fantastic, that will be very helpful."
Sep 22, 2018

George Ellison publishes book of poems that brings career full circle

George Ellison, naturalist, re-emerges as poet

by Rob Neufeld

 

            George Ellison, Bryson City naturalist and journalist, has created an outlet for song in his new book, “Permanent Camp: Poems, Narratives and Renderings from the Great Smokies.” 

His wife and lifelong collaborator, illustrator Elizabeth Ellison, bursts out in color on many pages.  Her contribution is also a treasure trove.

            Ellison has returned to poetry, after a forty-year excursion in prose, because, he says, “I needed the immersion that writing verse requires.  And I needed the elbow room—a medium that would allow me to intergrade verse with narrative and…create rhythms that say as much or more than words.”

            The Ellisons present their new book at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva, Friday.

 

Natural flow

 

            In style, Ellison follows the lead of modernist poets, who found ways to shift from one form of expression to another, depending on the reflection.

            “‘And so,’ I say,” Ellison begins his book, quoting himself and Elizabeth at the founding of their “permanent camp” on the edge of the Smokies in 1976.  “Maybe this is what it’s come down to.”  He waves toward Noland Ridge, balancing a “tin cup of Beam” in his other hand.

            The Ellisons’ “pretty dream” was that one day they’ll disappear further into nature.          

            The following poem, “By My Window,” moves the reader from the window to a creek to the creek’s source, and then into observations that fill a very long line that requires meditational breathing.

            “The creek that arises far upstream within what/ is now park land from a hubcap-sized swatch of pebbly/ dark-stained seepage tucked in just below that dense grove/ of shortleaf pine and boulders where you can sit back out/ of the wind that so often blows and consider the rhythmic/ repetition of nearby clearly defined ridges…”    

 

Composition song

 

            Some poems talk to themselves.

            In “Composition Song,” Ellison scans his habitat; describes his writing book; interjects bird-song; thinks about an unnamed spirit-friend; and celebrates new beginnings, for instance, “the soft glow of just one pendant lily.”

            The heart of Ellison’s work is contemplation as mystical as William Blake’s—“to see a World in a Grain of Sand…Eternity in an Hour.”

            “Gravity,” Ellison notes in his poem, “Gravity Flow,” “flows slowly through all things.”

            “At the tail of the basin,” he observes about his cove, “cupping ridges flex and/ constrict like pelvic bones.”

            “And if the moon or stars or both/ are sufficient,” he croons, “the sweet arc glints…/a sibilant string of upward yearning/ light that always turns and/ becomes downward/ bearing.”  (Ellipsis is Ellison’s.)

 

Camp talk

 

            At other times, Ellison—literary child of Horace Kephart as well as Thoreau—engages in yawp.

            “‘What Do You Do?’ She Asked” is the title of one poem, the first line of which responds, “Besides drinking?”

            The speaker tells about listening to sports talk and “Outlaw Ray-dee-o,” and Billy Joe Shaver singing “When I Get My Wings.”  And he figures if Billy Joe could fly away singing “into Heaven like the great speckled bird,” then “there’s hope for almost anybody.”

 

It all comes together

 

            With Ellison’s return to poetry, he creates an integrated persona for himself that allows him to include many voices and compose a philosophy.

            At the start of Ellison’s career, he and Elizabeth had worked for about 20 years with the Cherokee, organizing youth activities, participating in ceremonies, locating and documenting sacred sites, and researching James Mooney’s “History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees.”

            Some of the “renderings” in his new book are translations of Cherokee formulas, rendered from others’ translations.

            The introductory poem to this section, “Masters of Enchantment,” is close to prose, explaining how “the Cherokee wizards” had worked.  The following sacred poems address a spirit, “Listen!”—and “Now!/ Look at me…talk with me…no apartness.”

            They are followed by prose notes: “The numbers four and seven are preeminent in Cherokee numerology.  Accordingly, the sacred formulas were usually composed in stanzas of either four or seven lines.”

            The idea of poetry as ritual practice is an ancient one.

            With his tenth book, Ellison has established an important place for himself in our literature by seeking exactly what he wanted—a romantic existence in nature, with a Cherokee sense of balance and a Buddhist’s simplicity-seeking stillness.

 

THE BOOK

Permanent Camp: Poems, Narratives and Renderings from the Great Smokies by George Ellison with artwork by Elizabeth Ellison (History Press trade paper, 2012, 160 pages, $21.99).

 

AUTHOR EVENTS

Elizabeth and George Ellison launch their book, “Permanent Camp,” at City Lights Bookstore, 3 E. Jackson St., Sylva, 6:30 p.m., Friday (586-9499).

They also present their book at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, 7 p.m., July 13 (254-6734).

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