Real Poetry

reviews, tips, and personal/local writing

Archive for the category “Random Update”

Rest stops

20130502-142631.jpg

It’s really rather nice to have that point in any trip where you can stop and just unwind a bit. I usually find that I’ve been tensing up and a lot more uncomfortable than I’ve thought when I finally get that chance to move around and stretch my legs.

The past 5 1/2 hours of driving have gone by pretty quickly for me really. Listening to The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho as narrated by Jeremy Irons has definitely helped. It’s honestly the first audio book I’ve ever tried out. As far as a distraction from driving, it really works.

Anyway, I’m getting back to my break. Continue having a great Thursday,

Stephen R.

Traveling

20130502-091443.jpg

Hey everyone,

There is something so invigorating about starting a long trip. Anyway, I wanted to put something up briefly before I started this 7 1/2 hour drive. I may update/add to this post later, but I hope you all are doing well.

Stephen R.

20130502-142631.jpg

I’m Back Baby

desk and bookshelves

My life as it is currently… cluttered and beautiful.

Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello.

Yeah, it’s been awhile. But I don’t have much time for tear filled reunions and heartfelt, compassionate storytelling of the twists and turns my life has taken in the past months. (Also I don’t want to put you to sleep.)

But the important thing to remember is, this blog has been on my mind for pretty much the entirety of my time away. The problem for me has been I’ve felt limited with the current template/format for the blog as it is. I’ve had so many different things come up that I would love to write about: short fiction pieces, random story time, essays for the sake of essays, longer serial story ideas, the list goes on.

So what is a guy to do?

Well, change the dang format I say. So that’s exactly what I’m doing. You’ll notice a few changes already. First, I’m including a separate page to list all my current/future/past reading if you are interested in knowing that information. It will include what I’m currently reading (always more than one book), a list of books I’ve already read (starting recently… I don’t have the time to dredge up every single book I’ve read in life), and lastly a section for future reading. Check out the page and feel free to make suggestions for future additions to read as well. I’m always on the lookout for more.

Most other changes at the moment will be minor switches. I want to feel the freedom to write what I want and that’s what these changes will bring about.

Anyways, expect more things to come soon. I won’t lie, I’ve missed all of your youth filled, expectant, shining, lugubrious faces. And maybe that’s an exaggeration, my imagination, or an intensification on my part. And maybe you just had to look up the word lugubrious to realize I may have used that improperly for you. But I’m back and ready.

Lets get some stuff done people,

Stephen R.

Brief Update

Well hello there everyone,

Remember me?  The guy who randomly shares poetry and writes about poetry and a long time ago reviewed poetry?  Well for those who aren’t capable of reading dates and telling the difference in time between posts, it’s been over a month since my last post.  I apologize profusely, with every last ounce of my ever present conscience, but to put things bluntly I just haven’t been in the mood to write here.

That said, I do want to let you all know that I am still writing for myself, but I haven’t felt particularly inspired to put something up on the blog to share with the world.  I just felt bad leaving things off for the past month with a memorial post.

I finished Parzival for those concerned, and I started to read some Stephen King books as well to get into the Halloween spirit: The Dead Zone and It.  Not gonna lie, reading horror fiction is a new venture for me, one that makes me nervous.  My first experience with It was seeing the first scene of the movie back when I was 10 or 11.  Just from that one scene, I was scared to sit on a toilet for months.

Now that the embarrassing share fest is over I think I’ll just leave things off here and wish you all a happy and safe Halloween.  I still need to carve up my pumpkin, hopefully I’ll be able to get that picture added to the end of this post.

You’ll be hearing from me soon, because the inspiration for some posts here have been mulling in my mind for a while.  Stay safe,

Stephen R.

Small Remembrance – Dr. Edward Lee Shirley

Hey all,

I had every intent of posting up a new poem of mine, either sonnet or another, but I was just recently informed that a professor of mine has passed: Dr. Edward Shirley, a theological professor at St. Edward’s University.

a photo of Dr. Edward Shirley

He was a quirky, spirited, and amazingly fun professor to have.  I will never forget the class I took with him last, Religious Themes of Harry Potter, which ultimately boiled down to reading the HP series and discussing ways in which theological elements were implemented in the story.

Though I only had him in two classes my first two years of college, he always remembered my name.  He was the kind of person you’d see walking around campus every day almost always in conversation with a student, usually more than one, but he would always make it a point to say hi as you passed.  When he wasn’t walking around, he would be sitting to lunch with a large group of students.  That was the main element of Dr. Shirley that stood out to me, his closeness to his students.  He even went to see the midnight release of the last Potter film with several students.  He had a youthful vitality that always surprised me.

I know most of you all who read this will undoubtedly not know this man, and some may have skimmed this post and moved on, but I just wanted to put down these few memories of him while they are on my mind today.

I want this post to be dedicated to Dr. Shirley, so I am going to conclude with a fitting poem by Marie Howe.

Stephen R.

What the Living Do

Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up

waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through

the open living-room windows because the heat’s on too high in here and I can’t turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,

I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,

I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking, Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.

What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss–we want more and more and then more of it.

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:
I am living. I remember you.

– Marie Howe

James Tate – “The Rules”

Well hello there.

I feel as though I’ve fallen off the map for a little while there. I wish I could say that I’ve been fighting the good fight or at least putting pen to paper and producing something new to work with in my writing, but honestly I have really just been distracted. Though not much an excuse, I’ve had my little niece and nephew staying with me and the family for the better part of a month so far… and for those who are not aware, a 1 and 4-year-old can be quite a distraction. Especially when they require almost constant entertainment. I’m not really complaining though.

But last night, at around 11:16 my mind just sort of clicked. It’s happened to me before. It wasn’t a lightbulb turning on. I had this initial thought just pop into my head. And I’ll even share it with you here “I’ve slipped.” Just those two words. And I kept repeating them over and over in my mind. My hands started to shake slightly, and I could feel my heart racing as the words just kept up on a loop. I can’t really think of any other way to describe it. So I’d say by 11:18 I realized that the random show I was watching had to stop and I got up and started writing. It’s always a great feeling when I’ve finally gotten myself to write something down.

I would like to have revised that poem up and put it up here for everyone to see, but I want to give it more time to gestate, so to speak. So to tide things over, I thought I’d share another poem of the week. The poem, “The Rules,” is by the poet James Tate. I ran into Tate when reading an essay by Tony Hoagland (another poet I have reviewed previously). His writing style is… different. At least in his book The Ghost Soldiers. The poems are basically all written in prose. This, combined with the short and accelerating sentences (you’ll understand when you read it aloud to yourself) make it a style that really sets the heart racing by the poem’s conclusion. The poem is also marked by its odd sense of humor in the seeming randomness of the content at times, but the finality in the command at the conclusion always sets me adrift momentarily after a read through. Perhaps you’ll see what I mean after a reading.

Hope you all have that moment of inspiration,
Stephen R.

A Cream Cheese and Lox Bagle

The Rules

Jack told me to never reveal my true identity. “I would
never do that,” I said. “Always wear at least a partial disguise,”
he said. “Of course,” I said. “And try to blend in with the
crowd,” he said. “Naturally,” I said. “And never fall in love,”
he said. “Far too dangerous,” I said. “Never raise your voice,”
he said, “Understood,” I said. “Never run,” he said. “I
wouldn’t dream of it,” I said. “Never make a glutton of yourself,”
he said. “It won’t happen,” I said. “Always be polite,” he
said. “That’s me, polite,” I said. “Don’t sing in public,”
he said. “You have my promise,” I said. “Don’t touch strangers,”
he said. “That’s forbidden,” I said. “Never speed,” he said.
“You can count on me,” I said. “Don’t wear plaid,” he said.
“No plaid,” I said. “Don’t pet dogs,” he said. “Of course
not,” I said. “Don’t jump fences,” he said. “I won’t,” I
said. “Stay away from children,” he said. “I will,” I said.
“Don’t enter churches,” he said. “Of course not,” I said.
“Good posture at all times,” he said. “Good posture is a must,”
I said. “Never pick money out of the gutter,” he said. “That’s
not for me,” I said. “Be punctual,” he said. “Always on time,”
I said. “When walking or driving always mix your routes,” he
said. “Naturally,” I said. “Never order the same meal twice,”
he said. “Never,” I said. “Do not be seen on the street after
midnight,” he said. “Not ever,” I said. “Do not give money
to homeless beggars,” he said. “Nothing for the beggars,”
I said. “Do not start conversations with officers of the law,”
he said. “No talking with cops,” I said. “No ice skating,”
he said. “Never,” I said. “No skiing,” he said. “Of course
not,” I said. “When a sign says STAY OFF THE GRASS, you’ll
stay off,” he said. “I will, I said. “No chewing gum in
public,” he said. “I won’t,” I said. “You must carry your weapon
at all times,” he said. “Always armed,” I said. “You must
follow orders,” he said. “Count on it,” I said. “You will
contact Central once a week,” he said. “Contact Central,”
I said. “No green pants,” he said. “Certainly not,” I said.
“No orange or purple shirts,” he said. “Not for me,” I said.
“No sushi,” he said. “Oh no,” I said. “No fandango,” he said.
“Not possible,” I said. “No farm bureau,” he said. “Not my
style,” I said. Beware hypnotism,” he said. “Always
alert,” I said. “Watch out for leeches,” he said. “A danger
not forgotten,” I said. “Stay off gondolas.” “Instinctively,”
I said. “Never trust a fortune-teller,” he said. “Never,”
I said. “Avoid crusades,” he said. “Certainly,” I said.
“Never ride on a blimp,” he said. “Blimps are out,” I said.
“Do not chase turkeys,” he said. “I will not,” I said. “Do
not put your hand in the mouth of a horse,” he said. “Out
of the question,” I said. “Never believe in miracles,” he said.
“I won’t,” I said.

– James Tate

P.S. For anyone curious by this point, the sonnet challenge has proven a very difficult thing to get myself to maintain. I have one to put up eventually, but I’ll only do that when I think it’s really revised enough.

P.P.S. I honestly struggled coming up with an image to fit this poem, as you can see it goes pretty much everywhere.  So I settled on a picture of my favorite bagel to eat when I visit New York.

The Next Writing Challenge?!?

Well, I’ve made it back from New York… tired and worn out, but I had a good time with family. I’ve spent the past week recuperating and considering just what the title says: I need a new writing challenge. But first, I want to share this picture from my flight:

Picture taken above the clouds while flying.

I don’t care for flying overall, but I do love a view like that.

So for anyone who’s been following the blog or just checked out past posts, you may remember a segment I did simply entitled the Aphorism Challenge. For five weeks I wrote an aphorism every day and then selected the best of the bunch and put it up for all to see.

The main goal for that challenge was to get myself writing and, as of right now, I haven’t been pushing myself to write like I should. So to fix that I’ve decided to set myself up a brand-spanking-new challenge to force myself in front of my desk with pen and paper (or fingers and keyboard as the need arises). This time, however, I want to work in another form of poetry than the aphorism, which, though challenging in its own ways, was a simpler way of writing.

For now, I want to stick with a form I’m at least a little familiar with, so for my first new set of challenges I’ve decided on Sonnets. They typically come in two major forms, the petrarchan and Shakespearean. I’ll go into more detail next week with the first development of this Sonnet Challenge.

Anyone who knows me well will also know how averse I’ve been to writing in form poetry over the past few years. It’s a different mindset for writing, and thus I find it harder to do and only really possess a cursory knowledge of a few of the major forms out there. So I have an added request for anyone reading this post:

Is there a type of form poetry that you are particularly fond of? One that would make for a good challenge to practice writing with? If so, feel free to comment and share. I would love to hear more about different forms.

I will hopefully have some ok work-in-progress Sonnets to share in the coming weeks. Till then, I hope you all have had a fun and safe time since my last post.

Stephen R.

 

Summer Reading (Book 2) – Walt Whitman’s America

So as I talked about before, I went to check out Walt Whitman‘s birthplace on Long Island last week.  The house itself was cool to see, but I found the small exhibit concerning the nine different iterations of Leaves of Grass the most interesting portion of the tour/visit.  So much so, in fact, that I bought myself a biography to start reading for this summer.

A Statue of Walt Whitman admiring a butterfly

I’ve never read a biography before, so this is a new type of reading, but so far it has really held my interest.  I’ll openly admit both before reading what I’ve read so far and visiting his birthplace, I really had little knowledge of Whitman or his writing.  For those who don’t know already, I’ve learned that Whitman was not only a poet but also worked with newspapers and for a few years was a school teacher around Long Island.

I’ll save more of my discussion of this book for after I finish it this summer and write up a review.  I hope everyone out there is doing well and enjoying their summer.  Stay cool everyone whose around a heatwave like myself today.

Stephen R.

Really brief catch up. More to come.

So unfortunately, I spent the past week at a house with no access to Internet on my computer. I spent the past week reading and checking out various things, including the Arboretum on Long Island that I took several pictures of that were on my twitter feed. I’ve also been trying to visit with my grandparents most days and got an old collection of Tennyson poems as a gift.

Path through the woods at the Arboretum

I’m going to keep this particular post short because honestly I’m tired. I just wanted to have a brief update on why I haven’t posted. I hope you are all doing well.

Stephen R.

Quick post while traveling

Hey everyone, I don’t really have time to put up a poem for this week, mostly because my poetry books are not in the hotel room with me. I still wanted to put up a quick update. I’ve been driving all day today and most of yesterday making my way through the states up to New York. The biggest thing of note was just how green everything really is compared to Texas lately.  Just endless monotonous roads sided with tall green trees.

I may try and have a poem of the week up on Thursday, but for now I’ll just write out a quick Haiku in one draft:

Driving all day can
fray the nerves.  But only if
you don’t have music.

Hope everyone’s week has started well,

Stephen R.

P.S. I’m planning to check out Walt Whitman‘s birthplace at some point this week.  In honor of that, I’ll have a post concerned with him in the coming weeks.

Post Navigation