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<a href=" WORDLE for my book of poetry “AM MUSIC”

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REVIEW:  A GREAT BIG PILE OF LEAVES/”You’re Always On My Mind”

From the plaintive and nostalgic opening on “Snack Attack”, A Great Big Pile of Leaves’ second full CD is an engaging work that manages to be a piece of masterfully rendered pop with enough maturity to keep it from sounding redundant. Lead singer Pete Weiland sings in an unassuming manner, which gives a story-teller feel to glibly clever lyrics. Weiland’s vocal technique contrasts with the disarmingly melodic background vocals, providing a density that blends well with the clean jangle of guitar chords and an adept rhythm section. This approach would be enough to provide a group of amiable pop tunes, but Weiland manages to phrase certain lines that give them a definite resonance to the careful listener. “Back to School” is a perfect example of this technique. For most of the song, the singer expresses the achy nostalgia of September that we all connect with. Then, right before the last chorus, the musical background is abruptly hushed, and Weiland stretches out the line “I’m never in the present tense”. The effect is formidable and gives the song its intensity. Matthew Fazzi’s guitar work effective without ever being self-indulgent. His tuneful soloing is appreciated, and his cleanly chiming chord work lend the release much of its pop magnetism.

A Great Big Pile of Leaves should propel the band into some notoriety; or they will be one of those groups who cause me to lament,, “Why isn’t everyone listening to this band?”

George In The History Department

Hiding my flops and flaws in

soliloquies of cynicism; world-woeful,

like Burton in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”.

    Rooms of voluminous shadows, literature

and textbooks in unattended piles.  I

constantly organize my disarray.

    Dimmed lighting

    Ochre incandescence

    Soft edges

    Muted music

My quiet conversations are complaints

and observations of cultural things:  the

words I’ve written, the books I’ve read,

songs that move me, art in my head.

    Burton in extreme close-up, with his

thinning, unruly hair, tie askew, ancient

cardigan stretched over paunchy belly,

ruminates with unfocused eyes cast on

some unseen cause=and=effect from long ago.

Reality is the cackle of crows on some

well-lit front porch, in archetypal autumn

that I romanticize as contentment.

But I am at ease with regret

and ponder options that meander

like paths through the suburban woods.

There are no Edens.

Every paradise comes with

shadows and subterfuges.

 

Always agree with tyrants.

There will be ample time

to exact gratifying retribution.

 

Girls on heroin aren’t much fun,

but they’ll giggle at any quick movements.

 

Tap into the loyalty of a

drunken reprobate. They will repay you with

gratefulness and ineffectual encouragement.

 

Glass is not your friend and mirrors

will wreak havoc with any

psychic equilibrium you’ve managed

to gather in your sweet, short life.

 

Evil is, ultimately, a solitary existence and

Good will eventually gather allies and

kick its sorry ass into oblivion, ignominy, or some

really painful death.

From The Last Pew

 

A gathering of the adherents of self-sufficiency,

uncommonly adept at the duck of the head,

legislating for forms of normal change.

I toady myself prone before the stained-glass windows:

these scenes of Christ in some Damascus land.

In Demerol numb sweat I watch the minister,

his skin as wan and drawn as parchment,

negotiating support for relinquishment of control;

but I cannot completely let go of

the sounds and sights of secular leftovers.

Outside, I walk around with my son’s unease

on this gray-blanket Easter morning

that’s echoing with the distant drumfire of traffic.

He plucks a carmine tulip for my wife

from the careful shallow garden on a small-town lawn.

Silence, on these spacious porches,

I only wish I could swallow this silence.

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Teaching 2012

The habits and intellectual competency that will be a focus of my classroom are related to the writing process, but directly come from the ability to comprehend and analyze a writing selection. There are definite techniques and abilities that are assessed on the AP tests, and the best way that this can be achieved is to motivate a confidence and autonomy in the way the students put their thinking into the written word. Writing about literature, while certainly tied to a set of guidelines, need not be mechanical and scholastic. All too often, I think that AP students fall into the trap of trying to write in a way that is inauthentic. Motivated by the perceived requisites of academic writing, students often submit formulaic essays, which show little perception, understanding, or authenticity.

The mind-set that the course presented was the concept that writing should be a “conversation” with the text, whether it be prose, poetry, or non-fiction. Regurgitation of supporting quotes, with little insight into meaning or perception, are all regularly a characteristic of the writing I have encountered in my short time as an AP teacher. Summarization habitually is offered as a substitute for insight. Culpability for this rests in the lack of certainty young adults have toward their writing.

The other concept, which should facilitate better written analysis, is the idea of “The Bounce”. In order realign students away from the superficiality of paraphrasing and supporting with a quote, their writing should be seen as a way of showing the machinations of their mind in a way that is profoundly public. There are techniques, which I learned in the course, and that I have utilized before, that can enable students to gain their own voice. By evaluating proficient and superlative writing of others, in conjunction with practice in the minutiae what makes for engaged writing, I want to be able to both stimulate students to write more capably, to analyze competently, and provide them with the skills to make them assured of their own talent and capability

John 5: 31-47

31 If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true; 32 there is another who bears witness to me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony which I receive is from man; but I say this that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen; 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent. 39 You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from men. 42 But I know that you have not the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; it is Moses who accuses you, on whom you set your hope. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

I have observed thDSCN1012at there are a lot of people who are willing to offer advice on how to improve. From self-help gurus with best-selling books to that annoying guy in the next cubicle at work, someone always has a plan on how we can be a better person. Everyone seems to be an expert and this extends into our spiritual life as well. There are those who seem to want people to follow a set of rigid, narrow strategies that will lead us to some guaranteed reward. Jesus addresses the same kind of mentality in this passage from John. Jesus is confronted by Jews who were adept at quoting Scriptures and looking to receive the glory of like-minded believers. He instructs that obedience to restrictive principles is not what God is looking for. God can’t be reduced to an ideology. It is only through Christ’s call to love one another and to put that into action that we are truly bearing witness.