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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 an event

Connie Regan-Blake’s 14th Annual Summer Storytelling Retreat & Adventure at StoryWindow Productions

July 14, 2019 at 10am to July 20, 2019 at 4pm
Come to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville for 7 days of story-listening & story-telling along with coaching, community & supportive exploration. This 14th annual workshop welcomes all levels of expertise, from beginner to experienced teller. Participants discover ways of being in the world that nurture your creative flow while developing skills to: Find, create, learn, and polish storiesEffectively integrate voice with image,…See More
Mar 2
Sue Diehl shared their event on Facebook
Feb 8
Sue Diehl posted an event
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Montreat College Friends of the Library Celebrate National Library Week at Graham Chapel, Gaither Hall, Montreat College, Montreat, NC

April 9, 2019 from 3pm to 5pm
Patti Callahan, author of the recent novel Becoming Mrs. Lewis, and Don W. King author of Out of My Bone: the Letters of Joy Davidman, A Naked Tree: Love Sonnets to C. S. Lewis, and Yet One More Spring: a Critical Study of Joy Davidman, will co-present on their works about Joy and her husband C.S. Lewis.  The event is free and open to the public on April 9, 2019 in Graham Chapel, Gaither Hall, Montreat College.Reception and Book signing to followSee More
Feb 8
William Roy Pipes posted a discussion

TWO NEW APPALACHIAN NOVELS

I have, just released two Appalachian Novels.OUT OF THE SHADOWS, begins deep in the Appalachian Mountains of in WNC. It is partly a true story about a young man who ran away from home at the age of fifteen. He meets another runaway, and they fall in love.A journey where he faced adversaries, but also success as he walked, hitchhiked, and made his way across the country.GONE LIKE A CANDLE IN THE WIND, is a story of three young people growing up in a farming community in the Appalachian…See More
Jan 28
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Main Show

The Main Show: a story-poem stage presentation(part of  Living Poem)Program Notes (A program note reader comes out to read from the program notes.) Reader: 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,…See More
Jan 26
Don Talley posted a discussion

Hollywood Pictures Inc in Fairview

In the 1920's it seemed the whole country was caught up in excitement about films and Hollywood.    Asheville and Western North Carolina were well aware of the hoopla of Hollywood.   In fact, Hollywood (or at least filmmaking) was already beginning to come to Western NC.I recently stumble across an article from the Jun 6 1926 issue of The Asheville Citizen Times which mentions that Hollywood Pictures Inc, was planning to film just south of Asheville, near Fairview.  But....was this really…See More
Jan 23
Connie Regan-Blake posted events
Jan 16
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

The Main Show: A Story Poem Cycle(formerly, Coalescence) (part of  Living Poem)The Main Show  Program Notes (A program note reader comes out to read from the program notes.) 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…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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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

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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