Archive for the ‘Lone Star College – Montgomery’ Tag

The Blanton Project Revisited   Leave a comment

The Blanton Project Cover (Oil Field Girls, 1940, by JerryBywaters) — Image by kenne

In 2009, Borderlands — Texas Poetry Review published a Special Ekphrastic Poetry Issue.

Founded in 1992, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review was created to respond to the Gulf War and is a literary journal based in Austin, Texas. They publish poetry, visual art, book reviews, and essays. The journal continues to garner a national readership, distributed across the U.S., with contributors worldwide. 

The 2009 special issue contains 89 ekphrastic poems written about works of art in the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin, one of the largest university art museums in the U.S. In March of 2009, the Writers in Performance Series at Lone Star College — Montgomery presented The Blanton Project, where some of the poets read their ekphrastic poems. One such poem was Oil Field Girls on the Jerry Bywaters painting, Oil Field Girls.

Oil Field Girls

Blue skies and the open road

until an hour and a half beyond San Angelo

and the highway yields to brazen curves.

It’s not their thumbs

that make you slow the red Road roadster,

nor even the vestal boots

that look to plant a few fresh kicks.

As stately as an oil rig

set beneath miasmic clouds,

they beckon restless wanderers

who never staked a wildcat claim.

These desperate locals travel lightly

yet do not need a map

to know which way is out.

Because it does not do to gawk,

you press your bootles foot against the gas

and hope next curve to find a Coke.

— Steven G. Kellman

After the readings were completed, the poets were invited to a reception at my home. 
Click here to see photos from the reading and the reception.

— kenne

The Blues On Campus   1 comment

The Blues On Campus (Lone Star College, Montgomery – 02/19/03) — Photo-Artistry by kenne

“The blues are the roots and the other musics are the fruits.
It’s better keeping the roots alive,
because it means better fruits from now on.
The blues are the roots of all American music.
As long as American music survives, so will the blues.”

— Willie Dixon (1915–1992)

Dragonboat Races — Flashback   Leave a comment

DragonBoat2004-09-24_48Photos-72Dragonboat Races (Lake Woodlands, September 24, 2004) — Images by kenne

DragonBoat-Team2004-09-24_43Photos-72Montgomery College Dragonboat Team (The Woodlands, TX)

I fly far without wings
or illusions.
I immerse my body in sunlight, wholly,
motionless, like a stone shaped
in ancient time.
My soul rests in my brain—
I see it drag in the shadow like the long tail
of the thieving magpie that visits me, magically calm.

 —from ‘An Image’ by Chen Jun 陈均 (1974-)

Counting from One to a Million, Whitman and the Civil War Dead   2 comments

Whitman Event Ed_2015 05 07_0686_edited-3 blogEd Folsom presenting “Counting from One to a Million, Whitman and the Civil War Dead” — Image by kenne

For the 24th year the Writers in Performance series at Lone Star College – Montgomery celebrated the birthday of Walt Whitman. For the last several years the celebrations has been in two parts, one a lecture on campus in the afternoon, the second part an evening gathering of poets at a local pub or cafe.

This year’s lecture featured Dr. Ed Folsom recognizing the sesquicentennial of the publication of Dram Taps, most of which Whitman wrote while serving as a hospital volunteer tending wounded and dying soldiers. Whitman felt that a poet’s voice was needed to document the war and help make sense of such a travesty.

This year’s Birthday Celebration for Walt Whitman took place May 7th, which I thought would be appropriate to delay posting till this Memorial Day, 2015. (Post Note) — The holiday originally was called Decoration Day and was a day of remembrance for Union soldiers who died in the American Civil War.


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The Gathering of Poets at Dosey Doe Music Cafe, Conroe Texas — Images by kenne

The following passage from Dram Taps includes the longest sentence ever written by Whitman.

The Million Dead, Too, Summ’d Up — The Unknown (from Memoranda During the War)

THE DEAD in this war—there they lie, strewing the fields and woods and valleys and battle-fields of the south—Virginia, the Peninsula—Malvern hill and Fair Oaks—the banks of the Chickahominy—the terraces of Fredericksburgh—Antietam bridge—the grisly ravines of Manassas—the bloody promenade of the Wilderness—the varieties of the strayed dead, (the estimate of the War department is 25,000 national soldiers kill’d in battle and never buried at all, 5,000 drown’d—15,000 inhumed by strangers, or on the march in haste, in hitherto unfound localities—2,000 graves cover’d by sand and mud by Mississippi freshets, 3,000 carried away by caving-in of banks, &c.,)—Gettysburgh, the West, Southwest—Vicksburgh—Chattanooga—the trenches of Petersburgh—the numberless battles, camps, hospitals everywhere—the crop reap’d by the mighty reapers, typhoid, dysentery, inflammations—and blackest and loathesomest of all, the dead and living burial-pits, the prison-pens of Andersonville, Salisbury, Belle-Isle, &c., (not Dante’s pictured hell and all its woes, its degradations, filthy torments, excell’d those prisons)—the dead, the dead, the dead—our dead—or South or North, ours all, (all, all, all, finally dear to me)—or East or West—Atlantic coast or Mississippi valley—somewhere they crawl’d to die, alone, in bushes, low gullies, or on the sides of hills—(there, in secluded spots, their skeletons, bleach’d bones, tufts of hair, buttons, fragments of clothing, are occasionally found yet)—our young men once so handsome and so joyous, taken from us—the son from the mother, the husband from the wife, the dear friend from the dear friend—the clusters of camp graves, in Georgia, the Carolinas, and in Tennessee—the single graves left in the woods or by the road-side, (hundreds, thousands, obliterated)—the corpses floated down the rivers, and caught and lodged, (dozens, scores, floated down the upper Potomac, after the cavalry engagements, the pursuit of Lee, following Gettysburgh)—some lie at the bottom of the sea—the general million, and the special cemeteries in almost all the States—the infinite dead—(the land entire saturated, perfumed with their impalpable ashes’ exhalation in Nature’s chemistry distill’d, and shall be so forever, in every future grain of wheat and ear of corn, and every flower that grows, and every breath we draw)—not only Northern dead leavening Southern soil—thousands, aye tens of thousands, of Southerners, crumble to-day in Northern earth.

And everywhere among these countless graves—everywhere in the many soldier Cemeteries of the Nation, (there are now, I believe, over seventy of them)—as at the time in the vast trenches, the depositories of slain, Northern and Southern, after the great battles—not only where the scathing trail passed those years, but radiating since in all the peaceful quarters of the land—we see, and ages yet may see, on monuments and gravestones, singly or in masses, to thousands or tens of thousands, the significant word


(In some of the cemeteries nearly all the dead are unknown. At Salisbury, N. C., for instance, the known are only 85, while the unknown are 12,027, and 11,700 of these are buried in trenches. A national monument has been put up here, by order of Congress, to mark the spot—but what visible, material monument can ever fittingly commemorate that spot?)

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


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.

Body and Soul — A Poem By Rich Levy, Revisited   6 comments

Rich LevyLone Star College – Montgomery Library, Writers In Performance Series. — Images and video by kenne

Rich LevySeptember 17, 2009, poet Rich Levy was the presenter at the first fall 2009 Writers In Performance at Lone Star College – Montgomery. As I had done for about a year, I recorded his reading, which took place in the college library. Levy earned his MFA at the Iowa Writers Workshop and has been the executive director of Inprint, a nonprofit literary arts organization in Houston, Texas, since 1995.

Several of the poem he read were from his 2009 book of poems, “Why Me?” One of the poems that impressed me was titled, “Body and Soul” after Coleman Hawkins’ recording — “. . . the hurling way in which their talk moves, the way his nostrils flare as he tries with an occasional false shyness to avert his glance makes me think of Coleman Hawkins’ 1939 recording of Body and Soul, the one that took the world’s breath away, . . .  “

This is poetry that possesses the feelings that makes Blues and Jazz the most human of all music, therefore existential.


(I first posted the video September 19, 2009.)

Academy for Lifelong Learning Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary   Leave a comment

ALL 10th Anniversary Celebration — Image by Barbara Holland

This past weekend, the Academy for Lifelong Learning (ALL) at Lone Star College – Montgomery celebrated the 10th Anniversary. ALL is a member-driven organization and was the first in the Houston area, only the second in the state.  Since its beginning, the College has provided the environment and non-profit framework to help facilitate the administration and operation.  It was then, and continues to be a part of a growing movement in adult education in which active adults take responsibility for their own learning opportunities.

ALL has always seen the curriculum covering a broad range of instruction that reflects the observation that our world changes quickly, making it increasingly difficult for older adults to keep up with new developments and to understand the implications.  Part of the recruitment process for ALL has been to market the organization that can help older adults better understand and capitalize on the changes shaping our world.  Therefore, to some degree the ALL acts as a catalyst of ideas and programs that provides the older adult community with direction and connection.

For several years the literature has documented that we are in the midst of a demographic revolution, which includes the growth of the older adult population that is redefining of the “golden years.”  The demographic changes on the aging of America are not new, but the needs and interest of the aging population is.  It is about a better-educated population that is still seeking purpose and productivity.

This changing notion of the aging population offers organizational opportunities to play the “experience” card.  Many communities see this as an opportunity to develop new approaches to help adults in the transition into a new life chapter.  Such approaches focus on identifying ways to provide opportunities for older adults to continue making contributions to their communities.  It’s all about transitions not driven by age, but by what people choose to do and accomplish in this new phase of their life.  This phase is one not viewed as a final phase, but as one that allows for continued growth, development and productivity.

From it’s very beginning, ALL’s program philosophy has been molded by the community, starting with a “focus” group in June, 1999, of eight people: Warren Butler, Jack Crumpler, A.G. Pep Pepperone, Joel L. Reed, Nancy Aldrich, Joe Airola, Bonnie Wilkerson and Adora Kutchin. (College representatives were Connie Thomas and Kenne Turner. Jill Hickman was the group’s facilitator.) After two brainstorming sessions, the focus group was expanded to 27 attendees, to include: Carol Carpenter, Larry Carpenter, Don Crouch, Pat Crowder, Joel Deretchin, Gretchen Faulkner, Willard Fischer, Ann Friend, Barbara Holland, Jim Hunt, Martha Jordan, Joe Kutchin, Margaret Moorehead, Jack Raines, Steve Scheffler and Ann Soop. Most of this group became the ALL Steering Committee with Joe Airola as its chair. In October, Sandy Ridgeway began working as ALL program coordinator.

With classes schedule to begin in January 2000, the Steering Committee held a communitywide information session and dessert reception in November. The reception was an overwhelming success with over 250 area residents in attendance.

The first official ALL class was “Shakespeare’s Othello” on January 11, 2000, followed by 64 course offerings in addition to Gary Brown’s Monday afternoon film series beginning in March.

Over the years, ALL has become one of the largest programs of its kind in the country and continues to be one of the most successful programs at Lone Star College – Montgomery. Congratulations on the success of the 10th Anniversary Celebration. May it serve as a stepping-stone to continued program improvement in adult education in which active adults take responsibility for their own learning opportunities.


P.S.  Click here ALL PRESENTATION I to download a PowerPoint presentation prepared in the early days of ALL.

(The “Montgomery College Implements Initiative for Older, Active Adult Education” article appeared in the February, 2000 issue of “The Woodlands Hometown News.”)

Capturing the Moment — Blues Series Reuion Revisited   5 comments

Poster for the September 17, 2005 Blues Series Reuion – Images by kenne

This October the Academy for Lifelong Learning (ALL) at Lone Star College – Montgomery will be celebrating it’s 10th anniversary. One of the many successful programs that was a part of the ALL was The Blues Series, which began the same semester as ALL. Five years ago when the College celebrated its 10th Anniversary, ALL was very involved in the all day event, which included presenting a Blues Series Reuion.The Blues Series brought together some of Houston’s (and the country’s) best blues musicians.


“Why I Hate Telling People I Teach English”   2 comments

Wendy Barker & Emily BirthdayWendy Barker — Image and Video by kenne

“Why I Hate Telling People I Teach English,” is a new poem by Wendy Barker. I love this poem! But I feel obliged to point out that the nice thing about being able to answer the question, “What do you do for a living?” with “I teach English,” is not having to explain what it is you do after answering the question. I’ve had jobs that would generate a follow-up question, “So, what’s that?”, which directs the conversation into my answering a question that was not asked with the intention of getting an answer – it’s just “small talk.” It’s the small talk that gets to us, which is why most people should find Wendy’s poem entertaining as well as being very good prose poetry.


Posted December 13, 2009 by kenneturner in MCLAC, Poetry, video

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