Undercurrent Blues Has A Rhythm of Its Own - Poetry Book Review
On July 17, 2005 Cahuenga Press released Undercurrent Blues by James Cushing (Cahuenga is a cooperative press and Undercurrent Blues is the 14th book they have published since their inception in 1989). The collection includes poems written from 1989 through 1991 and 1997 through 2002. If you're like me, you immediately ask where 1992 through 1996 went. Mr. Cushing explains the skip in time in his Author's Note at the beginning of the book. Basically, the poetry included reflects the first 25 years of his writing life.
In Undercurrent Blues, The poems from 1989 through 1991 are from Mr. Cushing's first book, You and the Night and the Music published by Cahuenga Press in 1991. The titles and poems are inspired by 20th Century American songs that have become jazz standards. In Fly Me to the Moon Mr. Cushing's lyrical style matches the desire for transport in that old standard but he offers us a deeper yearning in his stanzas.
We picked roles (insomniac shepherd, complaining nymph) from
a basket of fruit. Orisons rise from every third house, a glow like
a broadcast ending, and we wanted this, to live near the sun, that
constant burnt offering.
His poetry from 1997 through 2002 is a reaction to the death of both parents and the end of his second marriage - to put it in the author's words "darker stimulation". In spite of the dark stimulation, these poems have a sly sense of humor, an acceptance of life's slings and arrows. Of these, The Turn of April shows the author's recovering hope:
I think we are moving, slowly and patiently,
within a great walled garden along an eastern path,
and I think I can assume we keep walking, lightly
and with kindness, until the garden ends, and we fall off the edge
where the next dream begins in a rush of kisses and cameras.
Undercurrent Blues by James Cushing asserts that music shapes us but also encourages the reader to play with its rhythms in order to fully incorporate its influence on our psyche. In the second half of the book, Mr. Cushing acknowledges the darker moments of life but offers hope and a bit of a lesson in maintaining one's sense of humor.
Sanora is a co-creator and founder of www.LAwritersgroup.com">http://www.LAwritersgroup.com. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from North Dakota State University. From 1995-2001, she studied under Cathy Colman ("Borrowed Dress") in her Unleash the Writer Within workshops and was included in her Master Poetry Class in 1996 and 1997. In April 1997 she won a Poetry Reading contest sponsored by Borders. In 2000 she studied under Ron Koertge ("Making Love to Roget's Wife") in Pasadena. She was one of several featured poets at scheduled readings at Midnight Special Book Store in Santa Monica, The Rose Café in Venice, CA and Projectile Poetry. She has taken part in several open mike readings in the Los Angeles area and believes poetry is meant to be spoken as well as read. Two of her poems, Elegy and Untouchable, appeared in the 20th edition of Wordwrights! magazine. Sanora is currently working on her Master of Professional Writing degree at the University of Southern California.
Novelist V.S. Naipaul, who won the Nobel Prize in literature, has died at his home in London aged 85. He was born in rural Trinidad in 1932 and wrote more than 30 books including A Bend in the River and his masterpiece, A House for Mr Biswas.
Bookmarks Bookshop, a socialist bookstore in Bloomsbury, in London, has received outpourings of support after 12 far-right protesters stormed in and vandalized the store on Saturday evening, the Guardian reported.
As two staff members were closing the store on August 4, a dozen men, one of them wearing a Donald Trump mask, entered the store and began "knocking over displays and ripping up magazines while chanting far-right slogans." It is believed that the men took part in demonstrations earlier that day protesting the "censorship" of Alex Jones's website InfoWars.
Although Amazon's sales in the U.K. continue to grow--rising 20%, to $11.4 billion, in 2017--for the second straight year the company was able to halve the amount of corporate tax it paid.
The Washington Post asks why China is so afraid of author and book publisher Gui Minhai (also known as Michael Gui):
Gui Minhai, a Chinese-born Swedish citizen, was riding a train from Shanghai to Beijing in the company of two Swedish diplomats in January when 10 Chinese plainclothesmen stormed aboard, lifted him up and carried him off the train and out of sight.
Three weeks later, Gui was paraded before Chinese media to recite a bizarre and apparently coerced confession. He hasn't been heard from since.
This is what passes for the rule of law in China today.
I think of Gui sometimes when I hear Chinese President Xi Jinping boasting about a country that "has stood up, grown rich and is becoming strong."
Would a truly strong and self-confident nation behave this way? Why would it feel the need to kidnap -- for the second time, no less -- a peaceable 54-year-old gentleman such as Gui and keep him, in poor health, locked up for, now, more than a thousand days?
New research suggests that Dr. Seuss's Lorax is based on a particular monkey that the writer encountered in Kenya...
Recently, a group of researchers posited that the Lorax is not entirely invented, like Sam I Am or Things 1 and 2. Instead, it's inspired by a particular real-life species, a fuzzy-faced primate called the patas monkey that Geisel got to know in Kenya. Their conclusion, a paper called "Dr. Seuss and the Real Lorax," was published in Nature Ecology & Evolution earlier this week.
Do you have a habit of picking up books that you never quite get around to reading?
If this sounds like you, you might be unwittingly engaging in tsundoku - a Japanese term used to describe a person who owns a lot of unread literature.
One of the many great things about languages worldwide is the sizeable number of words for which there is no real English translation. Often they tell us about concepts and ideas that we are missing out on in the anglophone world.
As the northern hemisphere heads abroad in the coming holiday season, here are a few to be looking out for:
You may have witnessed the ritual, knowingly or not, while on the hunt for a coffee or a cold beer towards the end of another long Spanish afternoon...
"Lost" material from The Autobiography of Malcolm X, reportedly seen as too controversial to publish in the 1960s, has emerged this week at an auction in New York.
Along with the original typed manuscript, which reveals the back and forth between the black activist and his collaborator Alex Haley, to whom he told his story, the unpublished writing was put up for sale on Thursday by New York auctioneer Guernsey's. The papers, including an unpublished chapter and a series of unpublished pages, were acquired by the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
Even the light of 200 birthday candles couldn't pierce the gloom of "Wuthering Heights." But the fire that burned within Emily Brontë roars across the centuries.
How remarkable that on the bicentennial of her birth, this reclusive woman should still be crying at our window like Catherine, "Let me in -- let me in! I'm come home!" ...
The Guardian posted the Man Booker Prize longlist early, in advance of Wednesday's scheduled announcement, and then promptly took it down. But the list survived in the Google cache and across social media and thus is now public.