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The German experience settling WNC 1 Reply

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History. Last reply by Scott Dockery Feb 16.

The history of Oakley

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History May 13, 2016.

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City Lights Bookstore posted events
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Montreat College Friends of the Library Annual Luncheon at Montreat College, Gaither Fellowship Hall

June 10, 2017 from 12pm to 2:30pm
Author Vicki Lane, who is working on her seventh novel, will be the guest speaker at the Montreat College Friends of the Library Annual Luncheon at noon on Saturday, June 10, 2017 in Gaither Fellowship Hall.  Reservations: 669-8012 Ext. 3502Open to the Public.See More
Saturday
Rose Senehi posted an event

Rose Senehi will read from her new novel: CAROLINA BELLE at MALAPROPS BOOKS & CAFE

May 3, 2017 from 7pm to 8:30pm
Belle McKenzie is obsessed with finding the best apple anyone ever bit into and determined to rekindle the love this obsession has nearly destroyed.        Woven throughout Carolina Belle is the fascinating history of Henderson County, North Carolina’s, apple orchards that endlessly unfold on the county’s horizons and still bear the same names as the early settlers to the area. Senehi, known for her historically accurate novels, sprinkles the book with stories of the development of the Southern…See More
Thursday
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

Becky Stone Presents Maya Angelou

Chautauqua Alive! Becky Stone Presents Maya AngelouWednesday, May 24 at 6:30pmPack Memorial Library67 Haywood Street250-4700The Buncombe Chautauqua Committee and Pack Memorial Library will present a pre-Chautauqua special event in Lord Auditorium at Pack Memorial Library at 6:30 Pm on May 24.  Renowned storyteller Becky Stone will present “Becoming Maya Angelou.”   Ms. Stone will be appearing as Maya Angelou in the opening program of the annual Chautauqua series that begins June 19.  On May 24,…See More
Thursday
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Wednesday
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

Prize-winning YA author Sedgwick at Literacy fundraiser

Fundraiser for Literacy Council & Book Launch Marcus Sedgwick Tuesday April 25th 5:30-7:30 p.m., Twisted Laurel, downtown Asheville, 130 College Street COST: $45 per person (ticket includes hardcover book, food, and non-alcoholic beverage) All proceeds go to Literacy Council from press release Marcus Sedgwick, author of Saint Death Spellbound Children's Bookshop, Asheville's locally owned independent bookstore for kids and teens, presents a special event with one of the most critically…See More
Apr 17
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Dellinger Mill--sacred place east of Bakersville

A Mitchell County gristmill sifts through 150 yearsby Rob Neufeld PHOTO CAPTION: Book cover, “Dellinger Grist Mill on Cane Creek” by Jack Dellinger.             In 1861, when Bakersville got a post office, locals changed the town name from Bakersville to Davis, after Jefferson Davis, President of the…See More
Apr 17
City Lights Bookstore posted events
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Caroline McIntyre posted events
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Susan Weinberg posted an event

Reading by Poet Al Young at Table Rock Room, Plemmons Student Union, App State University

April 6, 2017 from 7:30pm to 8:45pm
A reading by past California Poet Laureate Al Young in Appalachian State's Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series. The reading will be preceded by a craft talk titled "No Poem, No Home" from 2-3:15 the same day.Both are in ASU's Plemmons Student Union. Free admission; books will be available for sale and signing. See More
Mar 30
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Mar 23
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Citizen science author in Asheville April 6

Eco author in Asheville April 6 Citizen science can foster earth-saving policies Journalist Mary Ellen Hannibal, author of Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction, speaks at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, 7 p.m., Thursday, April 6 in conversation with Mallory McDuff, Warren Wilson…See More
Mar 23
Julia Nunnally Duncan posted an event
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Appalachian Authors Book Signing and Reading at Historic Carson House

April 8, 2017 from 10am to 3pm
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be a featured author and reader at the Appalachian Authors  Book Signing and Reading to be held at the Historic Carson House on Saturday, April 8 from 10-3. She will debut her new poetry collection A Part of Me. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.See More
Mar 23
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Mar 22
Gary Carden posted a video

2012 Award Winner for Literature -- Gary Neil Carden

A literature and drama teacher turned storyteller, Gary Neil Carden is an award winning playwright whose tales are informed by mountain life in North Carolin...
Mar 22
Gary Carden updated their profile
Mar 22

Not the evening news: Asheville Poetry Review’s latest offering

by Rob Neufeld

 

            What has always been impressive about “Asheville Poetry Review,” now offering its 23rd issue in 20 years, is its variety and balance.

            It’s got its authors of the region, and its national and international contributors; it’s got lyrical, narrative, philosophical, and experimental works.  Vets and still-wets.  Interviews, reviews, and news that stays news (as Ezra Pound liked to call poetry).

            Let me give you a few examples from Vol. 20, no. 1.

 

That’s a sonnet?

 

            Robert West’s poem, “Sonnet,” contains 14 lines—and only 12 words.  It abandons the traditional meter, but sticks to a rhyme scheme, ending with “on-/ ly/ Thou,/ own/ me/ now.”

            Yes, West likes to play, and also pray, as is evident, too, in his first poem in the volume, “Nadir,” which goes:

            “Each morning you’d recite, Let there be light,/ and face the day repeating that refrain. / Whatever terrors chased you through the night, / each morning you’d recite, Let there be light.”

            The poem continues using rhyme and repetition to create a circular feeling.

            Turn the book over, flip pages from the back, and you come to Philip Belcher’s “Gentle Slaughter,” a very different twist.

            Belcher, Vice President of Programs at the Community Foundation of WNC, takes us to a local scene and engages in purposeful anti-lyricism.

            “The women and liberated men thumping melons/ at Whole Foods this year,” he begins, “require chickens labeled gently slaughtered…”

            He continues his specific report with a visit to Syglenda (Syglenda Smith Saziru, farmer at John Smith’s Hill Harm), whom he observes closely as she goes to a shed “where the birds are gassed before uncrating,/ before exsanguination.”  The scientific word works very well in its drawn out anti-poetry.

            And it supports Belcher’s point.  You may love gentleness, but survival and industry are raw.  Belcher gives us three images: Tyson’s painful mechanized process; Syglenda’s mother’s lullaby-singing prelude to the instant kill; and her father, picking up a wing-shot dove and “slapping its head/ against his heel to be sure that it was dead.”

            That may not be Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “bird thou never wert”; but it is imagery.

 

Gauntlet tossed

           

            So, what’s happening with American poetry—involved as it is in a Golden Age of productivity, seriousness, and variety; but in a slump in terms of general popularity?

            “Asheville Poetry Review” is one of the best places to find out.

            The new issue contains a pertinent interview (conducted by Vermont poet Chard deNiord) with one of contemporary America’s greatest poets, Jack Gilbert, who died in Nov. 2012.

            “If a poem is abstract it’s not human and therefore can’t have an emotional impact,” Gilbert said.

            deNiord asked Gilbert about what has happened with contemporary poets, many of whom, Gilbert explained, had to get experimental to break away from their predecessors, those of the great Eliot, Williams, Stevens, and Pound generation.

            “Much of postmodern poetry has no significance at all,” Gilbert elaborated.  “Unless you like puzzles…It’s nice, but it’s not going to change your life.”

            The gauntlet has been thrown down to poets.  Dig deep.  Change our lives.

 

Backwaters of the future

 

            Let’s apply the challenge to “New Songs,” a poem that APR received from Thomas P. Feeny, an N.C. State Foreign Languages professor, who translates the immortal Federico Garcia Lorca, whose poem begins: “The afternoon says: I am thirsty for shade!” 

The thirst then extends to a wish for “new songs…A morning song that startles the air/ at the tranquil backwaters/ of the future.  And fills with hope/ their ripples and their silty depths.”

            The poet restates his theme in various and exciting ways, putting Gilbert’s prosaic entreaty into—as the title indicates—song.

            Is it a weakness that the poem is abstract—not only in that it has no historical context, but also that it uses such words as “hope,” “sadness,” and “soul”? 

No.  It just goes to show that abstractions such as “Don’t be abstract,” have problems.  Gilbert meant scientific abstractions, not emotional ones.

 

Ticket to ride

 

            Universal versus specific—we see the same division in pop songs: Beatles versus Springsteen (though the Beatles did produce “A Day in the Life” and “Eleanor Rigby”).

            It some ways, it’s a false distinction.  The main trick is to give a reader or an audience member something on which to hitch a ride, whether it’s an archetype or a Friday night.

            I say, “Friday night,” because that’s the turning point in “Meanwhile,” a poem by Melissa Crowe of Asheville.

            “In the gypsy language, the word for tomorrow/ is the same as the word for today,” she begins; and then, like Garcia Lorca, repeats her theme in interesting new ways.  “I long and am lit up,” she writes.

            She also writes, “Once the phrase a Friday night/ wracked me with cries—there are only so many/ and we don’t know when we’re having the last…”

            I love this.  The poet gets our attention because she’s crying over a phrase.  “Friday night,” a specific experience shared by contemporary Americans becomes a universal thing.

 

Latent power

 

            Gaylord Brewer, a poet and professor from Middle Tennessee, contributes “More Honored in the Breach: The Long Departure”—a pumped-up title for an elegantly subversive poem.

            His touchpoint is a man—that one, there, out of sight of the singing crone—who believes he’s the archangel of “The Great Deity of Faithlessness.”

            Is he a street person?  We are asked to “follow as he approaches/ a last time the dark men congregated/ in the door of the village bar.”

            Gilbert said in his interview that we don’t want puzzles, but we do want riddles, especially ones that are puzzling enough to spark interpretation, but not discourage it.

            Brewer’s “holy man” is about to have his “last morning,” his passage—to homeless death?—marked by the raging sun he’d prophesized.  “And thus/ the cold clouds of heaven descended./  I tell you, such is his terrible power.”

            The irony and pathos in that last line is a killer.  A wretch does have the power to mythologize his or her fate.

            There are a lot of other discoveries to be made in this latest APR—William Wright’s memoir-like, “Boyhood Trapped Behind the Eyelids,” a feast of sounds and images; Katherine Soniat’s “Flash Karmas,” visions, prompted by 11 key words, of the kinds of things that end up being memorable; Douglas Rutledge’s review of Steven Haven’s book of poems, “The Last Sacred Place in North America.”

            Haven leads off, Rutledge immediately notes, with the line, “They failed to show it on the evening news,” which Rutledge connects to “a failure of a method of thinking.”

            Here, the two writers share a faith common among poets, going back to Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, “Things are in the saddle and they ride mankind.”  We need a revolution of consciousness; but whom do we trust?

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