March 31, 2014
What a weekend! I had a chance to go into NYC with my buddy Dennis McDonough, who writes for Elmore Magazine, NYC/NJ. They send him into the city to catch acts here and everywhere. He talks about this stuff, and about going onto WBAI with Bob Fass, Radio Unnamable. I have never caught him on, feel bad about it, but man he is a whip when it comes to music knowledge and poetry.
He ask if I wanted to go on with him one Thursday, I said Heck yeah! So we planned it, but in and around a few acts he had to cover- John Gorka and Garland Jeffreys. And as I said, it freaking rocked. These guys are great, in spite their celebrity, they allowed me to hang out. They adore Dennis, he has given them great press, but why not there shows were awesome.
I passed a bootleg copy of my book onto both, we shall see. I got an email from one of them, thanking me. Thrilling! Okay, I am a groupie, sooooo.
If you want to hear me, go here: WBAI > find this below, Radio Unnameable>
scroll mp bar over to 2:44 and you will hear Dennis begin singing Happy Birthday to the station host friend ,Lenny. I’ve been invited back this Thursday for more time. It’ s too long to explain why we only got 17 mins.
March 11, 2014
Wow! What a past few weeks. The pressure is on to read manuscripts, get ezines in order for our first print anthologies, and get a few books to print for Red Dashboard LLC Publishing.
TMI- I had to go in for tests which check for esophagus damage from reflux before I can have weight loss surgery, i. e. the Sleeve in May. I did, but it seems the damage is there and I am not sure whether the doctors will go through with it. I am waiting for a biopsy result. Sigh. Oh well I am losing 2 lbs a week on my new life change eating plan. Yes, that is a kind of made up name for what I am doing, some call it Atkins. Healthy is what it is. High protein and veggies, low to no carbs, no sugar, no soda, no alcohol, and a cheat day here and there.
The most important part is chewing slowly with small portions and bites. Easy right? Uh huh.
BOOK NEWS: The proof copies came out and due to a few issues on the interior and exterior it went back to the editing table. My book, My South By Southwest: A Cast Iron Recollection should be ready by the beginning of April. Sometimes you just have no idea what something will look like until you print it. And printing is so easy, it’s the delivery that takes up time.
One of my poems from the book was accepted by the Texas Observer Magazine last week. “Cowtown, Texas, 1975” is a piece written about small town life: town centers filled with agricultural awareness and small theaters, sometimes the only place kids had to go growing up, outside of spinning truck wheels on gravel roads, and that didn’t always keep us out of trouble.
Another review rolled in-
“My South by Southwest: A Cast Iron Tempo Recollection is a provocative collection that chronicles a special quietude inside thunderstorms that unsettle both earth and heart. Elizabeth Akin Stelling is a poet prospecting as storyteller. She masterfully unearths emotional trapdoors, unexpected complexities, humor, and the resiliency of mature love. These poems celebrate triumph, fearless honesty, and the pursuit of grace. Elizabeth Akin Stelling drowns the page in red clay misery. Her two step small talk is the language of power needed for the price you pay to roam free in harsh country.” – Jaki Shelton Green, author, Breath of the Song.
I’m very privileged to have had so many good reviews. The book was written in fond memory of my parents and upbringing in Central Texas and visiting all other parts of Texas.
My South By Southwest: A Cast Iron Tempo Recollection by Elizabeth Akin Stelling
Elizabeth Akin Stelling’s My South by Southwest presents a childhood without fences − just yards and yards of Texas fields and skies. Her language is dense and fresh and very moving − like the surprise of falling asleep on freshly washed sheets.
− Shelby Stephenson, Poet and former editor, Pembroke Magazine
I’ve never been to Texas but after reading Elizabeth Akin Stellings’ fine book it seems like I have. It’s better than a Lonely Planet Guide in that the poet marks every locale with personal references. You learn more about Texas than if you went there. It preserves the past without sinking into nostalgia. It’s a gritty description of a poet’s love of a place that is gone, except in her memory and images. She shows how the land intersects with her life. She has a visual sense, shifting from the personal to the landscape, like a city scene and a still life merged together. I’ve never read anything like it. She proves through her writing that borders are just a state of mind.
– Hal Sirowitz, Former Poet Laureate, Queens, NYC & 1994 Recipient NEA Endowment
To recall something is to remember something from the past, to find a special moment in time and grant new life to it. Elizabeth Akin Stelling’s My South by Southwest Recollection grants new life to all regions of Texas, with a final movement east to New Jersey. The collection begins with childhood memories of cowboy culture, of boots and stirrups, of cornbread and beans, and then it culminates in one woman’s recollection of her beloved past and all of its precious images.
Images move poetry. They replace abstract verbiage with concrete descriptions. One of the strongest poems in the collection, “Wipe That Grin Off Your Face, Boy,” uses this technique to engage the reader using images, along with local dialects, to paint a Texan memory. “Memory / and ashes fly high, / so no cowfolk is ever lonely / against its pretty back drop.” Stelling then continues in the last stanza with “More so than blast of thunder / from a storm birthing a tornado miles away, they / ain’t so up close and personal / when you’re miles from home.”
Stelling chooses to define her own poetics in My South by Southwest Recollection. Rather than utilizing traditional poetic forms or mechanics, she writes in the style of the Beat Generation by breaking lines for sound and rhythmic emphasis. By doing this, Stelling mimics the musical, local cultures of Texas.
The last stanza of “History Calls Out, ‘A Bullet Gone Wild’” is an excellent example of Stelling’s musical emphasis. Observe the following lines: “Don’t walk the edge of town / with no gun, / with no worries, / but watch your back, you’re truly naked / without your spurs.” The line breaks are deliberately placed to guide the reader through the rhythmic movement of the poem, while showing clear images to the reader.
By using Texan images, dialects, and music, Stelling writes a Western experience with an inspired voice.
– Andrew Jarvis, Poet & Editor
Her book launch is April 6th, at 3-6:30 PM, Tre Piani, 120 Rockingham Row, Princeton, NJ, 08540. Between reading from her book (she will sign copies available for .sale) as local bands, White Fox, Danielle Steward, and Kevin J. Allen will perform while you enjoy appetizers and a cash bar (3-5 PM). Local Jersey born artist, Bill Plank, the artist, will be on hand to discuss his inspiration for the book cover.
Availability on Amazone TBA (book publishing is in the works)