Archive for the ‘Dave Parsons’ Tag

“Snodgrass Is Walking Through the Universe”   Leave a comment

dave-w-d-kenne-1-of-1-bw-blogDavid Parsons, W.D. Snodgrass and Kenne Turner (Conroe, Texas, 1999)

In 1999 I had the honor of spending an evening with the poet, W.D. Snodgrass, first at a reading at the Conroe library, finishing off the evening at the Hofbrau Steaks. Since then I have continued to enjoy reading the personal nature of his poems, and he will forever remain in my heart — “Snodgrass is walking through the universe.”

kenne

THESE TREES STAND . . .

These trees stand very tall under the heavens.
While they stand, if I walk, all stars traverse
This steep celestial gulf their branches chart.
Though lovers stand at sixes and at sevens
While civilizations come down with the curse,
Snodgrass is walking through the universe.

I can’t make any world go around your house.
But note this moon. Recall how the night nurse
Goes ward-rounds, by the mild, reflective art
Of focusing her flashlight on her blouse.
Your name’s safe conduct into love or verse;
Snodgrass is walking through the universe.

Your name’s absurd, miraculous as sperm
And as decisive. If you can’t coerce
One thing outside yourself, why you’re the poet!
What irrefrangible atoms whirl, affirm
Their destiny and form Lucinda’s skirts!
She can’t make up your mind. Soon as you know it,
Your firmament grows touchable and firm.
If all this world runs battlefield or worse,
Come, let us wipe our glasses on our shirts:
Snodgrass is walking through the universe.

—W.D. Snodgrass

Edward Hirsch — “Green Couch”   1 comment

Ed Hirsch & Yard Photos  9008-collage blogEdward Hirsch Reading at Lone Star College – Montgomery, Writers In Performance Series (April, 2010) — Images and Video by kenne


GREEN COUCH

by Edward Hirsch

That was the year I left behind my marriage
of twenty-eight years, my faded philosophy books, and
the green couch I had inherited from my grandmother.

After she died, I drove it across the country
and carried it up three flights of crooked stairs
to a tiny apartment in west Philadelphia,

Ed Hirsch & Yard Photos  9007 sq blogand stored it in my in-laws’ basement in Bethesda,
and left it to molder in our garage in Detroit
(my friend Dennis rescued it for his living room),

and moved it to a second-floor study in Houston
and a fifth-floor apartment on the Upper West Side
where it will now be carted away to the dump.

All my difficult reading took place on that couch,
which was turning back into the color of nature
while I grappled with ethics and the law,

the reasons for Reason, Being and Nothingness,
existential dread and the death of God
(I’m still angry at Him for no longer existing).

That was the year that I finally mourned
for my two dead fathers, my sole marriage,
and the electric green couch of my past.

Darlings, I remember everything.
But now I try to speak the language of
the unconscious and study earth for secrets.

I go back and forth to work.
I walk in the botanical gardens on weekends
and take a narrow green path to the clearing.

Philip Levine — The Voice Of The Voiceless And That’s The Simple Truth   2 comments

WIPPhotosScanned36 Phillip Levain blog art frameSimple TruthPhilip Levine — Image by kenne

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Writers In Performance Series, Mid-1990’s — Images by Nancy Parsons

Voice of the Voiceless

Life,
life is simple,
we make it complicated —
that’s the simple truth.


Today,
I found myself reading
the poems of Philip Levine —
blessed with the gifts
of listening and observing;
enabling him to care,
he has called the
“voice of the voiceless”.

Above all,
Levine is a story-teller
of people decaying
in the spoils of the rich,
speaking directly
from the front lines,
bearing witness to
worker 
revolutions, faded.

By writing about work,
Levine writes about life.
Waiting,
waiting in the work line.
Waiting,
waiting in the assembly line.
Waiting,
waiting for the next task —
not changed from the last.

I, too,
worked an assembly line.
I, too,
bless the imagination
that have given me
myths I live by —
images created by
my visionary power
to bear witness.

I, too,
sing America —
that’s the simple truth.

— kenne

p. s. The other day I was listening to NPR when I heard that Philip Levine added another award to the many this great American poet has received, the American Academy of Poets life-time achievement award (Wallace Stevens Award). Levine, the 2011 U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner for his book, “The Simple Truth” is one of my favorite living poets. It was not long after this book’s publication that we were honored to have Levine read at Long Star College – Montgomery, Writers In Performance Series.

Philip-Levine1

Laureate Philip Levine, Working Class Poet
by Robin Bates

An Abandoned Factory, Detroit

by Philip Levine

The gates are chained, the barbed-wire fencing stands,
An iron authority against the snow,
And this grey monument to common sense
Resists the weather. Fears of idle hands,
Of protest, men in league, and of the slow
Corrosion of their minds, still charge this fence.

Beyond, through broken windows one can see
Where the great presses paused between their strokes
And thus remain, in air suspended, caught
In the sure margin of eternity.
The cast-iron wheels have stopped; one counts the spokes
Which movement blurred, the struts inertia fought,

And estimates the loss of human power,
Experienced and slow, the loss of years,
The gradual decay of dignity.
Men lived within these foundries, hour by hour;
Nothing they forged outlived the rusted gears
Which might have served to grind their eulogy.

 

A Giant Asparagus For Your Tequila Drink   5 comments

Friday with Friends & Molino Basin to Prison CampAgave Cactus Plant — Image by kenne

Agave plant at the early stages of its flowering stalk looks like a giant asparagus — also called a Century plant because of the popular belief they live for a century before flowering. The stalk can reach as high as 25′. 

images-5For a lot of us, when we hear the word agave cactus, we think… “Tequila!”  “Margarita!” Or, that first tequila night! 

When there is talk of tequila, it is natural to share stories — where to get the best margarita; tequila sour; your favorite tequila; worm stories; poetry, yes, poetry!

My friend, poet Dave Parsons introduced me to the book, “Agave — A Celebration of Tequila in Story, Song, Poetry, Essay and Graphic Art.” This is a must read for those who like tequila. Here’s one of the poems:

Redbird, Tequila and Me
by Cindy Jordan

Tequila
The word makes people smile

Why?
Tequila means freedom from our mind
“Take another shot of courage”
“Tequila makes your clothes fall off”
Like a toddler who rips off her diaper and runs through the sprinkler
Joyful!
Laughing with glee!
As the Divine watches through her eyes
See the world as a little child
You will see the Kingdom of Heaven
I have a friend with flaming red hair that looks like fire in the sun
I call my friend “Redbird”
Redbird and I were at a party
The hot tub looked so inviting
We didn’t have swim suits
No problem… We had tequila!
The water was warm
Our breasts floated in the bubbles
Redbird and I were laughing with glee!
Joyful!
Like a toddler running through the sprinkler
Freedom!
Both of us grandmothers
I guess we forgot
Redbird and I were out of our minds
Joyful freedom!

This is good for the soul
A Divine witness watched through our eyes
A wonderful memory
Will we do it again?
Probably not
Yes tequila gives you courage
Yes tequila makes your cloths fall off
Now when Redbird say the word, tequila
We giggle

A lot!

kenne

Meeting Dave Parsons In Tempe   1 comment

Kenne Joy Dave at Mucho Gusto In Tempe2 blogKenne, Joy and Dave On the Mucho Gusto Mexican Bistro Patio — Image taken by Clint on my iPhone

Yesterday, we drove to Tempe, Arizona (about two hours away) to have dinner with our good friend, Dave Parsons. Dave had brought a Longstar College student (Clint) to take part in a handball tournament at Arizona State University. 

After checking in at the Wild Horse Pass Casino & Resort in Chandler, we headed to Mucho Gusto’s on University in Tempe — a super Mexican Bistro. 

So glad Dave let us know he was going to be in our neck of the woods.

kenne

Capturing the Moment — iFest and Public Poetry with Dave Parsons   Leave a comment

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Images by kenne

While Jill and Joy spent time with James and Chase at the iFest (Houston International Festival), I went to the Houston Public Library – Downtown, to listen to Dave Parsons (2011 Texas Poet Laureate) and some other poets at Public Poetry, after which Dave and I went to the Doubletree Houston for a beer.

kenne

Ruffin & Parsons Texas Poetry Shoot-Out — Revisited   Leave a comment

Now that Montgomery County has two Texas poet laureates (Paul Ruffin, 2009 & Dave Parsons, 2011), I share again a video I produced and posted on this blog, August 7, 2009,  of the Texas Poetry Shoot-Out at “Good Books In The Woods,” Spring, Texas.

The event, a poetic shoot-out , paired two Montgomery County poets, good friends and mutual supporters, which carries even more significance now that Parsons has become the most recent poet laureate of Texas. Southeast Texas is the new hub of poetry in Texas.

And on that note. . .

the event Dave Parsons began eighteen years ago, The Annual Walt Whitman Birthday Celebration will be at Lone Star College – Montgomery, is Thursday, May 12th, featuring Pulitzer winner and iconic American author, C. K. Williams. As always, the afternoon campus event will be followed by “The Gathering of Poets,” 7:00 p.m. at the Corner Pub in Conroe.

kenne

Images & video by kenne

Capturing the Moment — Cheers to Dave Parsons   4 comments

Image by kenne

Society of the 5th Cave Discusses “Europe Central”   Leave a comment

In July of 1997, Cave member Dave Parsons selected Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow as our book for the monthly meeting of our reading club of the non-discriminating bourgeoise. Since that time Dave’s selection has held the record as the most difficult read for members. A benchmark not surpassed, some argue, till Dick Rohfritch’s selection of William T. Vollmann’s Europe Central. If the bar has not been raised, Europe Central at least equals Gravity’s Rainbow in excellence and difficulty.

Although only one of our members (George Boyle) finished the book, this didn’t lessen the brevity of the discussion. Each of us had completed enough of the book to appreciate Vollmann’s writing on moral extremism and our valuing the opportunity to learn about the good side of bad helping us better understand reality and what is the essence of moral behavior.

We are human beings we are always questioning our own moral calculus as does Dave in his poem “Sounding:”

“last gasp and every mourning parent’s gnashing, “No!”
Standing in the center of this simple kitchen, for the first time
in over forty years of my sloping for light — I am certain

Truman was wrong . . . we were wrong.”

kenne

(Images by kenne)

In Memory of Rusty Weir   1 comment

Rusty Wier Art II

Photo-Artistry by kenne

This past week, my friend Dave Parsons lost a very close “Austin day’s” friend, Rusty Weir. He died on October 9th at the young age of 65. Somewhere in my years of friendship with Dave, Rusty’s name came up – I can’t remember when, but the conversation probably had to do with music and friendship. It was obvious that Dave was proud to have been Rusty’s friend since the ’60s, as he would share a story or two in a language only a friend could truly express. Such moments are always endearing.

I knew Rusty only as an Austin Texas singer-songwriter (Don’t It Make You Wanna Dance), someone Joy and I enjoyed seeing at Wunsche Brothers’ Café and Saloon in Old Town Spring, Texas during the late ’80s, which also created endearing moments for us.

After having hosted the September meeting of the Society of the 5th Cave, Dave and I were talking, and as we slowly walked outside, he shared the news that his friend was under hospice care, which told us Rusty’s days were numbered. The death of a loved one is never an easy ingredient of life, especially when it’s someone that is part of your very fabric.

— kenne

 

Posted October 17, 2009 by kenneturner in Art, Friends, Life, Music

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Texas Poetry Shoot-Out   1 comment

Texas Poetry Shoot-out Framed blog

When one thinks of a “shoot-out”, one may assume a gunfight between armed groups; or a “High Noon” gunfight between the good guy and the bad guy – a duel.  What if the dual doesn’t involve guns, but rather a clash of skills like in, Dueling Banjos or a debate – a duel of words? You would think a “poetry shoot-out” would be a duel of words, which it could be, like in “The Dueling Poets” on the web. Although the concept might be one Good Books In The Woods may want to showcase in the future, this shoot-out was more to showcase the poetry of two friends (Paul Ruffin and Dave Parsons), each a poet laureate, each from Montgomery County.

Regardless of the format, when Dave and Paul read together, it can be a memorable evening, and this evening was not exception. (See photo set.)

kenne

(The viewer may want to chick on the YouTube logo to watch it on the YouTube site.)

Paul Ruffin: “Looking through or around us…”   1 comment

Paul Ruffin Collagex blogPaul Ruffin at “Writers In Performance” series at Lone Star College Montgomery

“I’m a Renaissance man,” Paul Ruffin told Jeannie Kever, the Chronicle reporter whose article, “Well-Versed in Creativity,” on Ruffin appears in today’s paper. Whatever the label – I think the label one can invoke from the placement of an article on Ruffin being in the Obituaries, Editorials, Outlook and Weather section might be much better – he embodies a lot of contradictions, existing somewhere in between. However, he seems to thrive in a dichotomistic world, which more often than not he creates and expresses in a very trusting voice – this is what makes him a great storyteller.

“He slices off the tip of the pink sack
of my fifth bull of the day, works
the testicles out until they protrude
like angry bullets of flesh, and cuts
them away with one stroke of his knife,
whose blade has been honed to a sliver.
He hands the steaming lumps to his son,
The youngest, who reaches through the fence.
‘They’ll be fried later,’ he finally says
in answer to my question,
‘when we have a quart or so.’”

— from the Paul Ruffin poem, “Cutting”

ParsonsWhitman062006-05-31-56 IImask blogAs a member of the Montgomery County Literary Arts Council (MCLAC) and close friend of it’s founder, Dave Parsons, it was with mixed emotions that we received the news from Dave that Paul had been named the new Texas poet laureate, an honor for which both were finalists. Although the irony of Dave having nominated Paul can’t go unnoticed, Dave would have it no other way. We are blessed to have both these great writers living in Montgomery County, fast becoming a literary hub.

Kenne

Chronicle Article and Video

Dave Parsons, Our Poet Lauerate   1 comment

davecolor-of-moruningxYesterday’s Houston Chronicle, The Woodlands section, had an excellent article on long-time friend and fellow member of the Montgomery County Literary Arts Council, titled, Local man a finalist for poet laureate of Texas. Dave is the current Montgomery County Poet Laureate. I consider Dave my literary arts mentor, since hiring him to teach the first Creative Writing class at Montgomery College in 1993.  We are very proud of our poet and active participant in local and state literary arts activities.

The following poem is from Dave’s book, “Editing Shy,” published in 1999

The Wisdom of Forms

Entering the water
I found the wisdom
of forms –
the giving
and the
taking of bodies,
without the torque
Of metal
or the tourniquet
of wind –
the way odd shapes
slip
like our future,
making
unconscious and precise
the many decisions
of faith.

— Dave Parsons

editing-sky-cover-blogThe beautiful cover artwork was created by Dave’s wife, a talented artist in her own right. The art on this cover is one of my favorites.

kenne

pdf of Chronicle article facesinthecrowd-blog

Posted March 6, 2009 by kenneturner in Friends, MCLAC, Poetry

Tagged with ,

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