Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summertime, Summertime, Sum-sum-summertime...

Anyone remember that old song? It's been an amazingly temperate, and until recently, wet summer so far, and our highlight to this point has been our trip to the Myrtle Beach area - our first visit. We actually stayed in Surfside Beach, just to the south and not quite as congested, though still quite busy. Our timeshare resort was set back in a wooded area, though, and was very nice with lots of amenities including a pool with a "lazy river". We only actually spent one day on the beach (the ocean was delightfully warm), but we found more than enough to do elsewhere, like amusement and water parks, mini-golf, seafood buffet, and activities onsite at the resort. The best place, though, was Brookgreen Gardens, about 1/2 hour south of MB. It's a huge 9000-acre estate which contains beautiful gardens and a wide array of sculptures, mostly in a neo-classic style, all over the grounds. Anna Huntington, who was a sculptor of some renown herself, owned the estate with husband Archer. There is also a zoo with domesticated and wild animals, including foxes, alligators, otters, eagles and others. The weather was near-perfect that week - hot but dry, and no rain in our area the whole time. We'll be back again.
Road trip tip: We discovered the joys of audiobooks on this trip, which is 10 to 11 hours each way by car. We popped them into our CD player and they really helped pass the time. We listened to Marley and Me on the way down, and Bill Bryson's memoir, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, on the way back.

The other highlight of the trip, especially for our youngest son, was reuniting with his half-brothers whom he hadn't seen for about eight years. They both live in South Carolina, and we had a very nice evening with them over dinner in Georgetown.

Poetry: I finally got word from Finishing Line Press that advance sales of my chapbook, Breathing Out, will begin on their website on July 17, through August 28. If you are interested in buying my book, the best thing for me would be to pre-order it online, as these sales will determine whether it goes to a full first printing. Click here for more information.

I've been rather frustrated because I have missed two of the three summer readings hosted by my group, The Quick and Dirty Poets, the last one on July 10th featuring our friend and former member Rachel Bunting. She did make a surprise visit to our group meeting the night before, though, so it was good to see her again. Our next reading features poet Lynn Levin on August 9. Click the link to the right for more information.

Still not producing as much new poetry as I would like, though I'm still doing the weekly Poetic Asides prompts. One of my recent ones was featured a few days later as's "Poem of the Day". I will include it below.

I've been enjoying Paul Pereira's poetry colleection What's Written on the Body, which includes a section called "Anagrammer", a series of very clever poems that contain a number of anagrams and other wordplay. They inspired me to try one out myself, and I was rather pleased with the results.

Music: Well, the year is half over, and here are my ten favorite albums of 2009 as of today (in alphabetical order:

Animal Colective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Bell X1 - Blue Lights on the Runway
Death Cab for Cutie - The Open Door EP
Decemberists - Hazards of Love
Iron and Wine - Around the Well
Black Joe Lewis the Honeybears - Tell 'em What Your Name Is!
Melody Gardot - My One and Only Thrill
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
Various Artists - Dark Was the Night
White Rabbits - It's Frightening

I haven't heard the new albums by Moby and Son Volt in their entirety yet, but when I do, I suspect they could crack my top 10.

Poem of the Month: Someday I'll get back to a poem a week, but for now this will do. This is the poem I wrote in response to the prompt, "Write a poem with a title that begins, 'Nobody's Worth...'".

Nobody’s Worth More than $4.50

It’s that exercise they do every so often,
where they break the human body down
to its composite elements and figure out
how much they’re worth in today’s market.

So nobody is literally worth their weight in gold.
And certainly nobody’s worth ten million a year
no matter what team they play on,
no matter what corporation they head.

And I’m sorry, but nobody is really worth billions,
not a sultan or a founder of some electronics empire.
It’s just stuff, and they’re still just
pathetic bags of chemicals.

To some, life is cheap, and nobody is worth anything.
This is where suffering comes in.
But I say all that’s irrelevant. We are priceless,
no matter which way you take us apart.

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