Thankful for Poetry

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by Ed Davis on November 23, 2016

It’s been a tough year for all of us. Along with life’s other challenges, this year’s election season was an especially bruising one for every American, regardless of where anyone stood along the political divide. Here at Thanksgiving, I believe that gratitude is the best attitude we can take toward life, along with humility. Hard as things get, I am always thankful for friendships in which I can truly be myself; a terrific, loving family; Nature in all her awe-inspiring manifestations; good work to do every day; and a meaningful spiritual life.

And poetry.

For the fifth year, Tecumseh Land Read the full article

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Dylan Accepts Nobel…Finally

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by Ed Davis on October 30, 2016

“Well, I’m right here,” Bob Dylan replied when told the Swedish Academy had been trying for three weeks to hear from him regarding the Nobel in Literature they had awarded him. Whew. I’m sure fans and committee members alike exhaled with relief. But what did it mean that he had waited so long to accept his prize? “I was speechless,” he claimed. Really? And what does that mean . . . I’m right here?

The Lens

My study of Dylan while researching for my novel The Psalms of Israel Jones gives me a clue. In my novel, the world … Read the full article

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Dylan Wins Nobel

October 14, 2016
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Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,

Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,

With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves

Let me forget about today until tomorrow.

–Bob Dylan, “Mr. Tambourine Man”

Bob Dylan:  winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. Finally, in this acrimonious election season, something we can all agree on, that Dylan has been America’s leading poet for decades. This year’s Nobel committee should be congratulated for expanding the definition of literature to include songwriting. As a poet and novelist, I believe songwriting is … Read the full article

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Write and Cycle: The Joys of Biking

September 14, 2016

The storm struck as I crossed Jacoby Road on the Little Miami Bike Trail, four miles south of Yellow Springs, heading home from Xenia. The sky roiled, rain began pelting me and a cannon blast of wind flattened trees lining the trail ahead—or seemed to. I felt caught in something surreal, simultaneously insular and exposed, but exciting as hell as I rode right into the blustery heart of my own personal tornado. Leaves and limbs crashing around me, I wondered if I’d make it home alive.

It wasn’t really a tornado, just a pop-up storm that, if you’re a fairly … Read the full article

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Channeling Dunbar & Dylan

August 23, 2016

I recall, years ago at the Antioch Writers Workshop, watching from afar as Herbert Woodward Martin prepared himself to become Paul Laurence Dunbar. Herb had sequestered himself outside the auditorium to do what he needed to do in order to let the famous Dayton poet inhabit his body, his mind, maybe even his soul.

To channel Dunbar. What does that mean when artists say they’re “channeling” someone else?

Do You Believe in Magic?

I hadn’t thought much about this quasi-mystical term until recently. Reuniting with my old professional musician friend Tom Martin (www.martinsguitar.com), I surprised him by … Read the full article

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The End of Editing

August 1, 2016

(At least for now)

Shortly after The World According to Garp won the National Book Award in 1980, I recall reading that John Irving was caught on-stage editing the published copy of his novel before rising to read from it. Amazing! Wasn’t it good enough by then? Shouldn’t he have let it go?

Now, many years later I understand that we—no one else— are the CEO’s of our work and that there simply is no end of editing until we die (then someone else takes over). And yet if writers are interested in moving on and not getting stuck in … Read the full article

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Advanced Dialogue: Nate & Silas

June 21, 2016

Not known for our conversational acumen, we men are even less lauded for our ability (or desire) to “go deep,” unless it’s to be the distant target of a forward pass. But recently I had a couple of miraculous moments during two male “non-conversations” leading to realizations resulting in a life-enhancing epiphany.

The Foxhole

The first was a social encounter with “Nate,” a fellow cancer survivor who’d given me excellent medical advice in 2015, resulting in my getting a prostatectomy rather than treating my disease with radiation or “watchful waiting.” We began chatting about Mohammed Ali, who’d just passed away … Read the full article

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Serving the Work: Me, Brooks & Hemingway (Plus a Photography Exhibit at Aullwood)

May 2, 2016

“Hemingway able to rekindle brilliance despite excesses” read the headline above David Brooks’ op-ed column last week in the Dayton Daily News. I knew the excesses would be mostly alcohol, but I was keen to read what Brooks meant by “rekindling.” All of us who write need to know how to keep feeding the fire.

Along with his suggestions to perform the “professional routines that served as a lifeline when all else was crumbling” and strive for “moments of self-forgetting,” it was Brooks’ third item that really grabbed me. In his estimation, when you try to serve the workRead the full article

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Literary Feasts

April 7, 2016
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Blue Jacket in Xenia Has Food!

How would you like to dine on gourmet soups, sandwiches, desserts and coffee among 50,000 books? If, like me, you’re looking for quality destinations along Greene County’s Little Miami Bike Trail—or, if not a biker, a place not too far to drive—then Table of Contents inside Xenia, Ohio’s Blue Jacket Books will delight you.

Could be you know Blue Jacket Books already; after all, it’s been an anchor business at 30 S. Detroit Street for ten years, selling used books almost exclusively, with vast holdings in social sciences and history. Also, BJB has a … Read the full article

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The Joy of Writing

March 8, 2016

The literary life has given me some very real moments of joy—and plenty of the opposite, too—but isn’t it perhaps the presence of both joy and despair in any “life,” literary or otherwise, that makes the experience so satisfying? Has it been the richest of my various lives? No. I prefer my life of important relationships, especially with my spouse, and even my spiritual life to writing. So how can third place be so full of joy? Maybe because it’s third place.

As the necessity of publication eventually became more a byproduct than the point of writing, the joy increased. … Read the full article

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