Who Are Your Favorite Latin American Poets?

Standard

As I continue this series on favorite writers, I am going to try to continue to hone in more specifically on regions as well as eras, although not always in the same post! For today’s question, I would like to learn who are some of your favorite Latin American poets. Unfortunately for me, I do not speak Spanish, so I can only address the writings of the following artists as their work appeared in translation. I am hoping, however, that the translations are accurate.

Here are a few of my most admired Latin American poets:

Pablo_Neruda_1963

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Pablo Neruda

Neruda’s work might be among the best known poetry of any time or place in the world. I find his work to be astounding in its depth and breadth of subject. He was a well known political activist as well as a writer of some of the most beautiful love poetry. Neruda, from Chile, won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1971.

 

Gabriela_Mistral_1945

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Gabriela Mistral

Gabriela Mistral, of Chile, also won the Nobel Prize for Literature (1945), and has produced an enormous body of poetic work. Her work often encompasses a wide range of themes: among them: love, sorrow, bitterness, hope for the world, family, motherhood and the issue of Latin American identity.

 

Octavio_Paz_-_1988_Malmö

(https://en.wikipedia.org–Photograph by Jonn Leffman)

Octavio Paz

Octavio Paz completes this triumvirate of winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature (1990). Paz is one of the most well known Mexican poets, and his work was widely varied and dealt with many themes. A few are love, death, passion, natural beauty, as well as the Modern world and surrealism.

 

So I ask all of you–who are some of your favorite Latin American poets?

The Wisdom of Walt Whitman–to Question Everything

Standard

Walt_Whitman_-_NARA_-_525875

(commons.wikimedia.org)

I have taught Walt Whitman in several classes both at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA and at the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, in traditional and adult classes.

This excerpt is from his introduction to the 1855 First Edition of Leaves of Grass.

leavesofgrass

(http://www.whitmanarchive.org)

Whitman was one of the greatest American poets and has been called the Bard of Democracy. He challenged the existing views of normalcy in the United States across a wide range of topics. We live in a time, perhaps even more than in the 1800s, when great pressure exists to conform to what society defines normalcy to be. I believe it is crucial for individuals to find out who they are, for what they have passions, and what they believe. With this thought in mind, I want to share this small excerpt:

“re-examine all you have been told at church or school or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem”

walt-whitman-391107__180

(https://pixabay.com)

Whitman shattered the conventions of his time, and his admonition to us to question everything is as important today as it was in the mid-1800s.

meadow-63987_640

(https://pixabay.com)

Please, keep Whitman’s idea in mind, and question everything.

Who Are Some Of Your Favorite American Poets?

Standard

As I continue this series, I realized that with some categories, it is necessary to be more specific than I had been. Poets are one such group; I thought I would begin this discussion with American poets and then move on in later posts to poets from other places.

It is still an enormous task to choose several favorite poets, but since it is my series, I must do so. Here are my choices:

Robert_Frost_NYWTS

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Robert Frost

Without a doubt, Robert Frost is one of the most important American poets. He wrote many poems set in rural America, and his works earned him the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Many who do not read much poetry are familiar with his famous poem: “The Road Not Taken.”

My next choice:

Langston_Hughes_by_Carl_Van_Vechten_1936

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was a poet of the 20th Century, and he was one of the most important of the creative minds who made up the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes wrote about life for African-Americans and about themes that dealt with the entirety of the American experience. One of his best know poems is “Dream Deferred.”

My third choice is a poet whom I have featured in this blog before:

robertfillman

Robert Fillman

Mr. Fillman has a book of his poems being published this spring– November Weather Spell. I completely expect that, in the future, Robert Fillman will be recognized as one of the most important American poets.

Here is a link to the book page: November Weather Spell

and to his homepage: robertfillman.com

cvrnovweather_bookstore

 

My question to all of you is–who are some of your favorite American poets?

Who Are Some of Your Favorite Fantasy Writers?

Standard

I thought I would continue this series on favorite writers by asking specifically about Fantasy today. I have addressed Speculative and Science-fiction writers, but now let us consider those we love reading in Fantasy.

Here is a brief list of some of my favorites:

ring-1671094_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

J. R. R. Tolkien and The Lord Of The Rings

 

J._K._Rowling_2010

(https://commons.wikimedia.org)

J. K. Rowling  The Harry Potter Series

 

ray-28744_960_720

(https://commons.wikimedia.org)

Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes

 

These writers are only a few of many possible whom I might have listed.

So, I ask you: who are some of your favorite fantasy writers?

Quotations on Thinking

Standard

Plutarch_of_Chaeronea-03

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

                                                                     Plutarch

 

christopherhitchens

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.”

                                                                   Christopher Hitchens

 

Nicolas_de_Largillière,_François-Marie_Arouet_dit_Voltaire_(vers_1724-1725)_-002-transparent

(https://commons.wikimedia.org)

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”

                                                                   Voltaire

 

charles french

“A population that asks questions and analyzes deeply is the mark of an educated and free society; a citizenry that accepts blindly and embraces willful ignorance is the material for a dictatorship.”

                                                                 Charles F. French

Why Do You Write?

Standard

typewriter-407695_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

I have a question for all you out  there who write, and that includes writers of books, poetry, plays, nonfiction, and blogs. If I left out any kind of writing, you are included also.

Why do you write?

I write because I love telling stories, because I see characters and want to know their stories, and because I feel compelled to.

So for everyone else, I am curious: Why do you write?

 

GallowsHillFinalCoverEbook

Gallows Hill can be found here in ebook.

Gallows Hill in paperback can be found here.

An interview about Gallows Hill can be found here.

32570160

Please follow the following links to find my novel:

ebook

Print book

Thank you!

The book trailer:

Maledicus:Investigative Paranormal Society Book I

My radio interview:

interview

FOE_Cover_French

 

Available on Amazon

Who Are Some Of Your Favorite Speculative Writers?

Standard

I thought it would be interesting to hear who are some of your favorite writers of speculative fiction, which can include fantasy, science-fiction, and horror. Of course, other genres might be included.

For me, I think my favorites are

Stephen King

stephen_king,_comicon

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Among his novels are The Stand, The Shining, and Hearts In Atlantis.

 

Neil Gaiman

Gaiman,_Neil_(2007)

(https://commons.wikimedia.org)

Some of his books are American Gods, Neverwhere, and Coraline.

and

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(https://de.wikipedia.org)

Among his novels are The Shadow Of The Wind, The Prisoner of Heaven, and The Angel’s Game.

So, I ask you: who are some of your favorite speculative writers?

What Is A Sentence From a Book (or two) You Love?

Standard

book-1659717_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

I was thinking recently of a variety of aspects of books that I love, including plot, theme, and character. As I was considering these elements, I realized that some books have extraordinary sentences. These lines might not encapsulate the entirety of those books, but they are beautiful and powerful.

I will offer two such quotations:

The first is the closing sentence from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, one of the most important novels ever written:

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known” (307).

The second offering is from A Soldier Of The Great War by Mark Helprin. This novel is, in my not too modest opinion, one of the absolute best novels ever written. With this book, Helprin takes his place among the pantheon of literary giants such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Cervantes, and Tolstoy.

“As a way to arrive at the truth, exactitude and methodology are, in the end, far inferior to vision and apotheosis” (30)

I am sure I will continue this idea as a series, but this little post will serve as a beginning.

So, now I ask everyone who reads this: what are some of the most beautiful and important sentences you have read in books?

Works Cited

Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Wordworth Classics. 1993.

Helprin, Mark. A Soldier Of The Great War. Perennial. 2001.

Benefits of Reading: Revisited

Standard

book-692575__180

(https://pixabay.com)

I believe this topic to be important, so I wish to revisit it again.

I have previously written about the happiness of reading, a pleasure I hope everyone, or at least, most people experience. As I wrote before, I consider reading to be one of the main joys of life.  Reading is one of the most essential and, at the same time, the most sublime of pleasures.  Reading can take us places we have never been, tell us stories we have not known, and let us experience the lives of many other people.

In addition to the pleasures of reading, I also want to consider the benefits of reading. I think the first, and perhaps most obvious, value is that of education. Regardless of where the reading is done, or if it is for class or for self, all reading informs the reader in some way. As a Professor of English Literature, I teach many books in my courses at Lehigh University and the Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College–and for me, this is one of the most fulfilling parts of my life, to share books and explore them with students.

While there are a myriad of ways to learn in life, reading still stands out as the primary, and most efficient, way of gaining information. (I am not in any way discounting the importance of learning through experience.) Readers can learn about areas of study that exist far outside of their particular areas of understanding or expertise. For example, I am a student of English literature, but I love reading books about quantum mechanics and the extraordinarily esoteric world of String Theory. I do not understand these ideas the way a physicist would, but I can still appreciate the ideas from books aimed at intelligent, non-specialist readers. Such reading allows the book lover to explore an almost unlimited range of ideas.

In addition to education, I think there is a second and equally important value to reading. I have read numerous articles recently about studies suggesting that people, who read, especially fiction, develop more empathy than those who do not read (Chiaet). The overall point of the results of this study, as well as others, is that people who read fiction tend to learn to identify with other human beings and their problems. This is what many of our parents taught to us when they said that we needed to learn to walk in the shoes of other people. It is the basic idea of trying to understand how other people think and feel. Even without these scientific studies, I would assert that fiction helps us to develop empathy.

What do you think about this? Do any of you have other suggestions about the benefits of reading? I would enjoy seeing your ideas.

Works Cited

Chiaet, Julianne. “Novel Finding: Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy.” Scientific
American.Com. October 4, 2013. Web.

face-985964__180.png

(https://pixabay.com)

Mr. Trump, do you have no decency?

Standard

usa-flag-830720_960_720

(www.pixabay.com)

I try not to be political in this blog, but I cannot be silent.

President Trump has a history of attacking service members and their families, which gives the lie to his claim that he supports the military.  He attacked Senator McCain, a gold star family, and now Admiral McRaven, a former Navy Seal and special operations commander, who lead the attack and capture of Osama bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda leader and one of America’s greatest enemies.

Trump is a man who avoided military service and who places self-interest above all else. Admiral McRaven, conversely, has lead a life of serving the United States of America. I am not concerned with the Admiral’s political views. I respect him no matter if conservative or liberal. He served the country honorably.

To paraphrase Joseph Welch, whose opposition to Senator McCarthy during the Army-McCarthy hearings helped end McCarthy’s cruel, unAmerican, and tyrannical approach to justice, I ask President Trump — Do you have no decency? Finally, Sir, do you have no decency?

President Trump, stop attacking our military.