Veterans Day Column

I often discover inspiring reads in the new books section at The A. K. Smiley Library in Redlands, CA. Adam Sol’s “How a Poem Moves” started me thinking about what to write for my Inlandia Literary Journeys column that was scheduled to appear in print just before Veterans Day.

Published in Canada, Sol’s book may be purchased online or ordered from your local book store. The book may be marketed to readers of poetry, but will inspire many a poet to consider the moves they might make with their own poems. Sol maintains a blog by the same name as the title of his book.

Taken with Lucia Galloway‘s “Ten Miles from Home” while reading her new book “Some Words for Meanwhile,” I was excited when I learned she would be reading at the DA Arts Center in Pomona. At her reading I asked her if I might use her poem for my Veterans Day column. She agreed and kindly added the poem to the poems she read that evening.

Galloway at the DA Arts Center in Pomona

My column, “How a poem captures the dissonance of drone warfare” appeared in four of the Southern California News Group’s papers: The Press Enterprise, The Redlands Daily Facts, The Sun, and The Inland Valley Bulletin.

On Sunday, November 10, 2019, the column ran in the print editions. I enjoy driving around the region to purchase a copy of each of the papers to see how they varying in their presentations.

Photo of Wilfred Owen in public domain

I allude to the British World War I poet Wilfred Owen in my column. For my undergraduate thesis to earn my BA in English, I utilized James Fowler’s faith development theory to analyze the life of Owen and consider how his transitioning stages of faith appeared in his poetry. I was privilege to meet one of the major Owen biographers and scholars, Dominic Hibberd, when he came to Atlantic Union College to visit with Professor Deborah Leonard who had taught with him in China. Ms. Leonard served as advisor to my thesis.

Converging Conversations

Conversations have converged on my desk.

In The Philosophy of Literary Form, Kenneth Burke metaphorically describes the exchange of ideas as a never ending parlor conversation to which we may contribute but never provide the last word because we must leave before the conversation ends.

I’ve been taking dips in Catherine Blyth’s The Art of Conversation since 2012.  Her light blue book seems to submerge in my book stack and resurface annually.  img_1360Constantly distracted by my life’s demands, I’ve yet to finish it, but yet I find it refreshing each time I return to it.  Blyth says, “The irony of this communication age is that we communicate less meaningfully.  Not despite but because of our dizzying means of being in touch.  So many exchanges are conducted via electronic go-betweens that, what with the buzz, bleeps, and blinking lights, it is easy to overlook the super-responsive information technology that is live-action; up-close-and-personal; snap, crackle, and pop talk–one that has been in research and development for thousands of years.”

I keep a post card with Lucia Galloway’s poem “Conversation” on my desk (pictured above).  I can’t get myself to part with it.  I reread it at least once a week, savoring its first four stanzas of “Not” and its last four of “More like.”

Yesterday, I found three lines in a Cati Porter poem which brought me such pleasure that I copied them in my quote book.

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Just the day before I had spent over an hour messaging with one of my grade-school classmates with whom I hadn’t talked in years and last night I talked on the phone for over an hour to my cousin.

Though nothing beats a face-to-face conversation, preferably over food, exchanging words with others in any way brings such a particular pleasure, as Galloway says, “like friends at the shore tossing a beach ball.”