Posts tagged ‘poems’

2016, September 30

Review: George HS Singer’s, Ergon

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Today’s blog post is a stop on George HS Singer’s Poetry Tour run by Poetic Book Tours, this Autumn. Last month, I received the poetry book, Ergon, for review. At first, even though I do love poetry, I wasn’t sure I’d have the time to finish reading it, but after securing an end-of-the-month date for the blog tour stop, I said “Yes.”

Ergon is a mix of poems about George HS Singer’s life as a monk and in the monastery and about his life after he left to marry and have a family. As he tries to balance his spiritual principles with every day life as a husband and father, these poems utilize nature as a backdrop for his quest.

ERGON_coverPublished by WordTech Editions, who describe this book as: “George Singer’s Ergon is precise, delicate and fierce in its engagement with the world.”, you can find the poetry book, on Amazon and on BookDepository, as well as his other publications which range in a myriad of topics from education & teaching, parenting & social sciences, to medical books.

My copy of the book arrived in the week before I left for holiday, and given it’s 86 pages long, I decided to take it with me. I’ve taken novels on holiday with me before and then after arriving home felt all sorts of bad about not having enough time to read more than a couple of chapters.
Well, Ergon was the perfect holiday read!

The book is composed of four parts: Visiting, Ergon, Our Quotidian and Immensity. They, in George’s own words, cover the themes of:

  1. “The beauty, humor, and difficulty of living as a Zen monk.
  2. Coming to terms with a very mixed childhood and its insistent residue.
  3. My sense of gratitude for having found a soul mate in my wife.
  4. My sense of the unutterable wonder of existence and that there is enough of it that can be taken in and joined with to keep from staying down after inevitably and repeatedly falling down.
    the stars across the axis of the sky,
    light enough to walk without stumbling.”

The poems aren’t too long, they can be read in a fast pace, and as you can see listed above, their themes are varied in complexity. I can honestly say I haven’t read a poetry book quite like this one before. The poems give the vibe of being written with such ease despite the depth and warmth carried through.

My boyfriend read some of the poems as well, we read together; and I highly recommend this book for any couple if they want something truly interesting to read and talk about curled up on the couch together.

Here’s the early praise for the book:

“Singer’s work is wise, vulnerable, empty and full, erotic and spiritual, intimate and lonely, his source of metaphor the keenly-witnessed natural world. Ergon  is a book about abiding love but also illness, lobotomies, and long-held grief; its landscape is one in which the buffaloes with ‘eyes sad as Lincoln’s’ plow through the fence and break into the temple, where the Buddha is ‘poised with one palm open, one touching the trampled ground.’ Go to the forest or the shore and read this book, and while you’re at it, don’t underestimate the ferocity of these deeply adult and nuanced poems.”—Diane Seuss

“With his first book of poems, Ergon, George H. S. Singer takes his place among a rich tradition of California poets for whom the literary sphere is outlined not only in aesthetic terms but in natural, ethical, and spiritual dimensions as well.  This humane poetic runs recently from Hass to Hirshfield, Snyder to Herrera, but traces its origins to the ethos of Aristotle, who defines ‘ergon’ as ‘the core function or purpose of something or someone’; virtue then ‘arises when ergon is realized fully.’  Singer is a maker of contemporary devotions out of the dross and commotion of a daily life—out of false teeth, frayed cords, mouse nests and into the sphere ‘of celestial fire where the souls / of extinct birds are turned into gems.’  It’s not alchemy but faith. It’s not caprice but capability to see the spirited world within the known one, capability to approach in language the ‘eternal silence of these spaces between the stars.’”—David Baker

“With dignity and that slight irreverence that convinces you he’s telling the truth, George Singer creates his rich, lucid poems about the core of our human condition, our Ergon. Moving, surprising, erotic and profound, Singer’s poems take us around the world and through personal history—from the unexpected humor of daily life inside a Buddhist temple to the terrible inverted logic of a sanitarium for the insane, or from a sexual spark in a long marriage, to eons of geological time. Ergon marks the debut of a splendid poet with a sensibility that might make you more observant, and far lighter on your mental feet. A person could get wise reading poems of such warmth and depth.”—Molly Peacock

GeorgeSinger_AuthorPicMore about the author:

George HS Singer is a former Zen Buddhist monk and student of Rev. Master Jiyu Kennett, lives with his wife of forty-two years in Santa Barbara, Calif., where he works as a professor at University of California, Santa Barbara. He was educated at Yale, Southern Oregon University, and the University of Oregon. He wrote poetry in college but took a twenty-year break before taking it up as a regular discipline. He has been a long term student of Molly Peacock and has had the opportunity to work with other marvelous poets through the Frost Place in Franconia, N.H.  He writes about life in and out of a Zen monastery, trying to live mindfully in a busy and troubled world, his love of nature and of his wife. The arts have become more central to his life.  Singer’s poems were published in the Massachusetts Review, Prairie Schooner, and Tar River Poetry.

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2016, April 15

That moment – by Estrella Azul

Large-Blue-RGB-National-Poetry-Month-Logo

Today is the third stop on the Savvy Verse & Wit National Poetry Month Blog Tour.

Last week, I printed out the National poetry Month poster and displayed it on a cork board at work, hoping it’ll inspire some of my colleagues, too.
I have to say I’m having a lot of fun this month reading more poetry than I do on a regular basis!

Since I haven’t posted this on my blog before, and lately I felt the need to start gathering all of me/my writing in just this one place, I will share with you my poem, “That Moment”, which was featured on ArtiPeeps back in 2014.

~

NPMBlogTour2016That Moment,
by Estrella Azul

Four hours… passed by in a flash.
A cup of fragrant Jasmine tea in a cozy cafe,
gave way to a long walk as the wind made them shiver.
A fire lit up inside as dusk turned into night,
as drizzle turned into rain, as two lips touched.
That moment… it felt like eternity.
For her, that moment felt like a hike.
It felt like sunbathing on a hilltop,
surrounded by mountains covered in sparkly snow.
She felt her soul fill with warmth and calmness.
That moment… it felt like perfection,
in her world filled to the brim with uncertainty.

~

In other news, my wonderful writer friend, Janel Gradowski who first introduced me to National Poetry Month when she interviewed me as part of the 2010 blog tour, has the first book of her culinary competition series, “Pies and Peril” now free on Amazon through April 24th. This is the first time any book in that series has been offered for free, so I urge you to go download and read it as it’s truly a book worth spending your precious reading time on!

How is your National Poetry Month going? Read anything you think I’d like? Do share!

2016, April 8

Where do You Find Inspiration?

Large-Blue-RGB-National-Poetry-Month-LogoToday is the second stop on the Savvy Verse & Wit National Poetry Month Blog Tour.

My writer friend, Judy Clement Wall, shared the first post of the “Coffee Shop Moments” series back in 2013. She often writes in coffee shops, and she defined this as a way for her to combine writing with her (then) new-found passion of doodling, practice her hand lettering, experiment with some different doodling techniques and tools, and justify the time she spends shamelessly eavesdropping on people in coffee shops.

Since then, she is not a newcomer in illustrating anymore, as you can see from her Meet-the-artist video for HCI Books’s Inkspirations launch.
Hope you drop by and read her thoughts, and given they have inspired me a lot, I am sure they are bound to do the same for you.

NPMBlogTour2016From pen, to paper, to screen…

Personally, I don’t write in coffee shops – that would be way too loud, or at least busy, for me. However, for “inventory” purposes, so far I have written both poems and flash fiction:
in quiet spots while traveling, on a flat’s rooftop, as part of long walks in the park, on a walk with a friend where both of us got our notebooks out and started writing away after a nice long talk, and in various spots in my home that I’ve called my writing spaces.

In these same places I also found and continue to find inspiration. Ideas for theme, setting, and characters come from there. To elaborate on that, I’ll name only a few.

One of my favorite poems, “That Moment”, was written three months after a particularly amazing first date.
Silence prompted writing “Some Silences”, which I still think holds so much truth in just a few sentences. “Heart on the beach” came to life during a walk on one of the sandy beaches of Sicily.
One of my most emotion-filled poems still is “The slowest dance”, bringing up memories of a time long gone every time I read it. While the haiku “Stillness” was inspired by as little as the natural artsy light/shadows effect coming through our, at that time, new window after closing the curtains for the first time.

I wrote “Overwriting Memories”, one night after looking through the pictures of my trip, for a future travel article about Paris. In one of the photos I noticed a couple in the Eiffel Tower whom I inadvertently captured. Prompted by this, the flash fiction piece basically wrote itself.
“Sleeping Beauty of Palermo” came to life a couple of days after arriving home from my trip to Sicily. It is true to this day, that ever since my friends and I visited the Capuchin catacombs of Palermo in Sicily, the memory of it is still one which stands out to all of us, one that left us tongue tied for the rest of that day. The face of Rosalia Lombardo is etched into my memory, still keeping me speechless, yet I was compelled to act on my thoughts, to write a story around what I have seen.
“Predictable” is one of my favorite flashes inspired by my cat, Onyx, and says something about this writer life, about how inspiration comes to me.

As I write this article, I am sitting on a bench overlooking the lake in Central Park here in Cluj-Napoca. It’s past seven in the evening, the sun is setting, and the heat turned into a nice breeze. To my left, a middle aged woman leans back reading “The Little Prince”.
If asked about it, I imagine she would reply: “All my books are children’s books. After all, what is the difference between children and adults, and books written for one or the other? I was drawn in by a title, a first sentence, by a memory of school vacations from a long time ago, a quote I’ve known by heart for years and which I have rediscovered again while reading today.”

These thoughts might turn into a poem, or a flash fiction piece sometime in the future. Or they might only remain here as proof of how this writer’s mind works when out and about. Any and all of the above are welcome.

Now I am wondering about You. Please share in the comments below: where do You find inspiration?

How is your National Poetry Month going? Read anything you think I’d like? Do share!

2014, May 19

That moment, my poem, featured on ArtiPeeps

When Nicky from ArtiPeeps contacted me about a feature article a couple of months ago, I was thrilled. It was such a wonderful opportunity. I shared “The Closet of Dreams”, which I have designed myself to add a more personal feel to the words I was conveying.

And, it also meant that I qualified for FreeSpace, which meant I’d be featured three more times. My first use of the free space was a flash fiction, "A glance under the surface" in March. The second was a short essay, “In these fast-paced everydays, also think of…” in April.

Here is the last feature of the three, a short poem for this week.

Without further ado, I hope you enjoy “That moment…” over on ArtiPeeps today!

~~~

On a different note, Franny, from Dr. Franny and Mrs. Myself has tagged me in a blog post of hers a couple weeks back.

Given I’ve already answered the questions in a different blog post, when Lynn has asked me the same, I’ll redirect you to my previous post. The answers still stand :)

Hope you have a happy Monday!

2013, April 8

Some silences… – by Estrella Azul

Incoming flight, no one waiting at the airport

Some silences are louder than words…

Arriving home, feeling out of place

Some silences are louder than words…

Walking next to each other, silently

Some silences are louder than words…

Giving back a ring, tears flooding both pairs of eyes

Some silences are louder than words…

Looking around the room while packing a suitcase

Some silences are louder than words…

A friend helping out, no questions asked

Some silences are louder than words…

Walking out, looking back at a half-empty room

Some silences are louder than words…

Over-thinking everything in each spare second

Some silences are louder than words…

Gazing at a picture, wishing for the phone to ring

Some silences are louder than words…

Wanting things back the way they used to be

Some silences are louder than words…

Saying “I love you” one last time, hearing “I love you” back

Yet… Some silences are louder than words…

 

December 2010

2012, September 14

In need of a breath – by Estrella Azul

It never stops;

the hardship, the sadness.

They never stop;

the tears, the disappointments.

I wish they would stop.

I wish it would all just stop;

Just long enough to take a breath.

2012, July 20

Can you understand… – by Estrella Azul

Can you understand that I need my space?
To breathe, to unwind, to just be. To be me.

Can you understand that your constant concern and reproach bring me down?
That you make me feel guilty about taking time for myself. That it’s affecting our relationship.

Can you understand that I worry, too?
That instability is throwing me off track. That it makes me feel insecure.

Can you understand that I feel stuck?
That I sometimes don’t see the beauty people talk about seeing in me. That my soul is searching for something I can’t find right now.

Can you understand that some decisions just have to be mine?
About me. No matter how much a part of my life you are.

Can you understand that I love you?
That I want to keep loving you. That I don’t want to fight.

But for that, I need you to understand me.
No questions asked. No banter. No undermining my needs.

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