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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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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
Wednesday
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
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…"
Sep 19
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."
Sep 19
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
Sep 4
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Sep 4

Keith Flynn Reaching New Heights with Holy Men, Kicks off weekend

by Rob Neufeld


See interview.

“I would love to be a being of pure sound,” Keith Flynn wrote in his breakout 2007 book, “The Rhythm Method, Razzmatazz, and Memory: How to Make Your Poetry Swing.” 


The Asheville poet, bandleader, and journal editor reveals the latest incarnation of his aspiration in a performance with his band, “Keith Flynn and the Holy Men,” at the Friday night kickoff for the Mountain Writers Workshop in Waynesville.

The journey


In 2007, Flynn toured 174 sites throughout America, spreading the word about “The Rhythm Method” and about his fourth volume of poetry, “The Golden Ratio.” In 2001, he had toured Europe to introduce “The Asheville Poetry Review,” now an internationally recognized journal, to 146 audiences.


APR’s founding in 1994 had helped coalesce the gathering of poetic forces in the city that has now resulted in a cultural attraction.


Flynn, Madison County native and Mars Hill College and UNCA alumnus, had burst into the 1980s with the now legendary rock band, Crystal Zoo. He was already finding ways to remove the line between poetry and song without compromising either.


“I was a lead singer in my mind when I was five years old,” Flynn related in an interview with the Citizen-Times. “I was baptized when I was eight years old, and most folks in my church thought that I was going to become a preacher there. When I went to college…on a basketball scholarship, after two years, I became a poet.”

A genius for sound


Flynn has a genius for sound—not just tone, but also shape, movement, and instrumentation. Though there are themes to which he returns—for instance, the adoption of the feminine principle to counter ecological destruction—his main theme pertains to sound.


“I would love,” he continues in “The Rhythm Method,” “to take everything I hear and return it as poetry, to make an orchestra of a single man.”


The wish goes back at to at least 1991, when his first published book, “The Talking Drum,” presented the poem, “The Horses,” about horses racing a train. “I would,” Flynn wrote, “be infected with their reckless power…forever running, forever singing back,/ giving me the strength/ to walk as an equal among the horses.”


That visionary role is the poet’s, Flynn believes. And, in his view, everyone can lay claim it.

Teaching poets


“What I try to do when I teach,” Flynn said, “is break a poem down into its smallest components, (which are) sounds. A poem is sonic architecture, like a song.” He then shows aspiring poets how to create “a long piece of angular momentum,” as he writes in “The Rhythm Method”—a “flow with authority.”


A song has aids to help it swing—instruments, backbeats, chord progressions, melody. “A poem has to have all those support systems, but they have to be invisible,” Flynn said. “The seams can’t show.” 


Creating a visual metaphor, Flynn added, “You have to build your Frankenstein, but it has to be as beautiful as Marilyn Monroe so that the reader is seduced.”


Flynn will be leading a session titled, “Inspiration: How to Find It and Use It,” at the Mountain Writers Workshop, Saturday morning.

How a poem-song works


When Keith Flynn and the Holy Men (Bill Altman on guitar; Richard Foulk, percussion) perform Flynn’s poems, they manage to both swing and communicate in ways that make you think---yeah, this poem-song fusion can work.


Flynn’s poem, “The Men’s Movement,” published in his second volume, “The Book of Monsters,” is one of fifteen lined up for the Friday concert.


“I was thinking of Chicago and wind and Little Milton,” the poem begins, referring to the Mississippi bluesman, Milton Campbell, whose first hit had been “I’m a Lonely Man.”


When Flynn sings/recites his poem, the opening lines sound more like, “I was thinking of Chica-GO, and all the w-ih-ih-nd, and I was thinking about Little Milton, how he hated the i-cy g-u-u-sts.”


“Look at all the n’s in there,” Flynn remarked in the interview. “Thinking—wind—Milton. Both of the ‘and’s’ are used as connective tissue in that sentence to keep the nnnnnn sound in your mouth, which in my mind is mimicking the drone of the wind outside your window.”


The pattern of sounds opens your mind to allow more information in, Flynn explains.

Politics and poets


“The Men’s Movement” poem provides another opportunity for Flynn. Written when he was twenty-nine, it was a reflection on leaving behind the recklessness of youth—“I don’t go too fast down this hill,” the song’s refrain goes—as well as on the men’s movement, which was developing at this time in connection with poet Robert Bly’s myth of “Iron John.”


Reworked in 2010, the poem’s lines become the words of a middle-aged man and an update on the men’s movement. Flynn has seen Bly turning into a guru, and the movement floundering in what he sees as ridiculousness. 


“Why do men need a movement?” Flynn asks. “Men have been running things for all this time.”
Instead, the world needs to move past patriarchy. It’s another visionary path.


Along with “The Holy Men” performances, Flynn is exploring other new paths to get his message across. In his novel-in-progress, “The Ropewalker,” he taps Mexico and the Mayan civilization to create a one-legged circus performing hero.


The character evokes “The Horses” again, and the lines: “I thought, if I were to lose my arms & feet/ if walking slowly home I was seized/ and fell paralyzed to the ground. If wishes were horses…”
Passage through life can be that maiming. Poetry can be that powerful.

If you go
The Mountain Writers Workshop kicks off 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 24, at First United Methodist Church, 566 South Haywood Street, Waynesville with a concert by Keith Flynn and the Holy Men. Admission is $15. Saturday’s full slate includes workshops for writers in all forms and a luncheon keynoted by multi-award winning novelist Charles Price. Call 246-0999 about fees and registration. Visit www.mountainwritersnc.com.

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