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Horace Jeffery Hodges
I'm always right . . . except this time.
I'm always right . . . except this time.
Horace Jeffery's posts

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My Book of Poems: Radiant Snow

My collected poems are finally available through Amazon. Actually, they've been available for a few weeks, but I was waiting till the ebook was also available. A few days ago, the ebook was posted and I bought a copy, only to discover that Amazon recognized none of my formatting, so my poems were jammed together in such a way as to be unreadable. I will need to get this fixed sometime soon, but if you want the poems and are willing to have a paperback, you can get it through Amazon.

Here's what my old friend Natalie Macris wrote as a preface to these poems:

Years ago, my friend Jeff told me he had started to write some poetry. He remembers showing me a few lines and me teasing him about writing "dirty poems," but I recall being more encouraging. We were in our twenties, students at Berkeley – why not dabble in poetry? And while I might have been surprised – Jeff didn't fit the stereotype of a dreamy poet – I had learned to expect surprises from him. He came from the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas – commonly and derisively known as "hillbilly country" – and yet he was a scholar in what seemed the most esoteric of fields. At first meeting he was serious, almost severe in demeanor, but as I soon learned he was also kind and had an earthy sense of humor. And while he could match intellects with anyone at Berkeley, he liked to seek out rough bars where we could drink beer with non-university people.

Not long after that first mention of his poems, Jeff read some of them to me. I don't know much about poetry, I thought, but these seem very good. I especially loved "Water Witching," how it evoked images of Jeff's Arkansas homeland and the grandmother he had mentioned so often. And it expressed nuances of thought and feeling that I couldn't imagine putting into words, let alone such beautiful words. Again, he surprised me. Who knew such delicate emotions lurked beneath the surface?

In what seemed like just a matter of months, Jeff won the university's Roselyn Schneider Eisner Prize in Poetry, and I was watching my friend standing on a stage under a spotlight, reading his work to an auditorium full of people. Once again I was surprised, although perhaps I shouldn't have been. He may have been writing poetry only a short time, but of course he would go on to win a major award. It was an early sign of his versatility, which would eventually produce a diverse body of work ranging from scholarly articles and a Korean-English translation of Yi Kwang-su's novel The Soil with his wife, Sun-Ae Hwang, to a novella titled The Bottomless Bottle of Beer.

It was only recently that Jeff told me I was the first person ever to see his poems. Yet again I was surprised, but this time also flattered and honored – and so glad he has compiled them to share with the world. Everything I've known about him is here: his subtle grasp of life's mysteries; the sensitive observations about love, lust, and human nature; an appreciation of the natural world, of Arkansas and the many places he's been since then; an ear for language, especially the language of his native Ozarks; the moral and Biblical underpinnings; the salty humor; and even his love of beer. They create a perfect portrait of a unique and talented man.

As can be seen, Natalie herself is a good writer. In fact, she is also an editor - and has even published a book on clear writing. Here's her website:

Meanwhile, if you're interested in my poetry, go to Amazon and see the free preview:

Go to my blogpost for more links:

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Old Dog, New Trick - Photo from Google Images

"You're never too old to learn that you can't teach an old dog new tricks!"

Such such is the intersectionality of proverbial wisdom! For links, see my blogpost:

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Grammar Rules

Wager Your Wages?
Linked Inc?

"The wages of sin is death to subject-verb agreement."

Blogpost for links:

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Glass House Photo from the Daily Mail

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, fits, or tantrums.

This, by the way, is the glass house concept of architect Carlo Santambrogio, and the article, with its illustrations, can be read here:

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A Perfectly Imperfect Waffle!

If you look closely at this photo of a waffle, and think imaginatively, then you might 'see' that this waffle was desperately trying to escape the intensely hot waffle iron by vainly stretching its tentacles to the left.

By "vainly," I do not intend any hint of vanity in the sense of an overvalued self-regard; rather, I mean "vainly" in vanity's nugatory sense of hopelessness.

If I were punning, however, I would waffle on both meanings:


A pun, my word:
There is no third
sense in this vain
search for a plain
sense of the term
to turn the worm,
for vain doth boast
both least and most.

Now, that's a stout little trite bit of self-consciously badly versified doggerel! I'm real proud.

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Sonic Booming: A Sound Notion?

Transonic image from Wikipedia

Fake News?

Bad news travels faster than sound news.

Speaking of proverbial transonic events, I remember the sonic booms that would seem to split the sky and shake the earth back in 1963 as those transonic jets would fly too low over the under-populated Ozarks and rattle the big, thick first-grader-size pencils off our desks and send us little kids into duck-and-cover mode.

Enough complaints from us hillbillies got that unsound practice stopped.

Links at my blog:

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A Very Tasty Burger

Home-Cooked Food

You're looking at the final photo of just about the best hamburger I've ever eaten, and it was created by my wife, who cannot make another like it because she didn't keep track of the ingredients and their proportions.

The salad, however, she recalls precisely, and I hope she remembers forever, because I don't want to eat a salad like that again, nor does my wife, for it lacked flavor, any flavor, though it was probably good for our health.

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Jae-Uk Performing . . .

My elder child is no longer a child, but a third-year student at Korea University and a gifted musician. Second from the right in the photo above, Jae-Uk is singing in a performance that lasted two hours and revealed not only a talent for singing but a mastery of the keyboard as well.

If you let them, your children will surprise you.

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Another Artwork by En-Uk Sequaya Hwang: Portrait of My Brother-In-Law

My younger son, En-Uk, is feeling rather aesthetic these days - and so am I! See how aesthetically I've spelled "aesthetic"? Yes, none of that ugly "esthetic" for me! I'm an aesthete, not an esthete!

Well . . . anyway.

I don't know what En-Uk wants to do with his life. He has more talents than I do - all I can do is write - but his very multi-talented self makes the choice of choosing harder.

I quickly learned at university that I was outstanding only in writing - essays, stories, even poems - but I also had a strong sense of curiosity about everything and tried to follow that up by pursuing graduate degrees in history, in which I could (in principle) learn about everything, but I've finally come around to doing what I do best.

As for my advice to En-Uk, I want to say, take your time, enjoy your youth, see the world - a bit like I did - but the world is now a less forgiving place than when I was young, and I'm often reminded that one has to choose early if one wants to find success.

So, I guess that is what I have to tell him.

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A Son's Eye View

My younger son, En-Uk, forced me to sit as his model for 10 or 15 minutes so that he could sketch my head and neck, which is somewhat impressive, I guess, but also makes me look a little bit decapitated.

He didn't intend that, of course. I think. Believe. Hope . . .

He also didn't intend for me to have a 'double' chin, to which he called my attention, apologizing for the mistake, so I told him not to worry since he drew me better-looking than I actually am, though that's not setting the bar very high.

I learned something, too. I don't like sitting still as an artist's model for even as little as 5 minutes.
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