Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Horace Jeffery Hodges
I'm always right . . . except this time.
I'm always right . . . except this time.
About
Posts

Post has attachment
Merely a Mirror on the Wall?

Some time back, I read Martin Seay's novel The Mirror Thief, which I delighted in, so I left a message of appreciation on Seay's website for his having written such a wonderful book, and I shared one of my own poems with him that I thought he might appreciate:

Souvenirs

You look upon the world with antique eyes,
through intense lens, with more than innocence,
but only in this moment circumscribed
by shelves and shelves of other people's lives.
Let's peer into this mirror, you and I,
clear through the old and darkened glass. What past
perhaps reflects obscurely back on one
behind the silver-surfaced other side,
who gazes here with solemn, antique eyes?

He didn't respond to for a while, but he then finally did respond, quite graciously:

Hi Jeffrey --

My name is Martin Seay, and I wrote a book called THE MIRROR THIEF that you read . . . oh, probably a year ago.

I'm writing because my website -- which has been on the blink -- JUST NOW coughed up the message that you sent upon finishing the book.

Thanks very much for sharing "Souvenirs"! I enjoyed it, and look forward to following the link you sent shortly. It's got some of that incense-shrouded eeriness that one finds in Yeats and Coleridge and Mallarmé, and for which I'm a sucker.

Please accept my apologies for the much-delayed response, and my thanks for reading and for taking the time to write. I'm very gratified that you enjoyed the book!

Hope this finds you well,

Martin

Touched by his (entirely unnecessary) apology, I wrote back to thank him:

Dear Martin,

Thank you for writing back. I suspect your life is rather filled with all sorts of things, so I appreciate your email. I hope you're well and that your book is selling as it deserves.

Since "Souvenirs" was to your taste, you might also appreciate this little lyric:

Vampire

Fine frost that laces window panes,
the icy-blooded vampire’s veins;
seductive, sensual spoor of death,
its frozen, freezing undead breath;
one cold, controlled, alluring art,
its solitary lover’s heart.

There's no mirror in this one, but vampires avoid mirrors anyway, so one of them had to go.

Yours,

Jeffery

PS Note that my name is with "-ery." Everyone has trouble with it . . .

Good to see that some writers write back . . .
Photo
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Dylan in Reflection on Literature and Song
Photo by William Claxton
Nobel Prize Organization

Dylan finally gave his Nobel Prize speech to the Nobel Committee, a speech that began with these words:

"When I first received this Nobel Prize for Literature, I got to wondering exactly how my songs related to literature. I wanted to reflect on it and see where the connection was. I'm going to try to articulate that to you. And most likely it will go in a roundabout way, but I hope what I say will be worthwhile and purposeful."

You can read the speech or listen to the audio - I did both - and you'll be surprised to hear (if you chose audio) that Dylan's voice is not the raspy instrument of song we've been listening to for the past 40-odd years. The voice Dylan chose to speak with was soft and deliberative. I was surprised. But I was even more astonished when he revealed three works of literature that had influenced his songwriting:

"Specific books that have stuck with me ever since I read them way back in grammar school - I want to tell you about three of them: Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front and The Odyssey."

And he summarizes the three brilliantly - those books are now in my memory far more clearly than even after I had just read them myself. I still don't think Dylan deserved the Nobel Prize for Literature, but he has done well with this interesting talk on the relation of his songs to literature.

But grammar school? Is he putting us on?

Here's the place to go for Dylan's speech:

https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2016/dylan-lecture.html
Photo
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
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:

http://www.planningediting.com/

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

https://www.amazon.com/Radiant-Snow-Horace-Jeffery-Hodges/dp/1544213484/

Go to my blogpost for more links:

http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.kr/2017/05/my-book-of-poems-radiant-snow.html
Photo
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
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:

http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.kr/2017/04/old-dog.html
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Grammar Rules

Wager Your Wages?
Linked Inc?

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

Blogpost for links:

http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.kr/2017/04/grammar-rules.html
Photo
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
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: https://goo.gl/AG4U0F
Photo
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
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:

Waffle

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.

http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.kr/2017/03/a-perfectly-imperfect-waffle.html
Photo
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
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:

http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.kr/2017/03/sonic-booming-sound-notion.html
Photo
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
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.
Photo
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
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.

http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.kr/2017/03/jae-uk-performing.html
Photo
Add a comment...
Wait while more posts are being loaded