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Southern Festival of Books: Hometown Hero Arne Weingart Visits from Chicago

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unnamed-13Arne Weingart made quite an impression at his niece Sherrie Gordon Eisenman’s birthday party.  “I have vivid and fond memories of Arne singing folk songs at my party in December of 1965.  The playroom was full of wall to wall mattresses, made up with quilts for each 9-year-old guest.  Arne sat in the middle of the room playing his guitar and singing… The Sounds of Silence, Turn, Turn, Turn, and Puff the Magic Dragon were my favorites!” Sherrie remembers.  “Arne came from a creative family.  Arnie was always creative musically and had a tremendous command of language.”  This weekend he’s coming to the Southern Festival of Books with his book of poetry, Levitation for Agnostics, winner of the 2014 New American Press Poetry Prize.  Today, Arne is kind enough to share one of his poems, “Recursion.”

Saugatuck-Beach

 

Recursion

 

All the best unskipped smooth flat round stones

have already been skipped by the early morning

 

walkers or else peed on ecstatically

by their dogs, creating needless difficulty

 

in the search for perfect rocks to fling back

in the general direction of Chicago.

 

You can teach someone to skip stones as easily

as you can teach writing poetry,

 

both requiring an insatiable appetite

for failure. Like many other recondite

 

disciplines – Chinese calligraphy, stiff egg whites,

sexual pleasure – it’s all in the wrist.

 

For all its breadth and weight, the lake apparently

needs us to deliver its mineral children for further

 

pedagogy. All its rocks still have

something to learn about roundedness, about

 

eternity. Stones may never dance

and poems may never float, but every teacher knows

 

that year after year what may not be learned

must all the same be taught.

*     *     *

“Recursion” published in The Sow’s Ear Review

*     *     *

To hear Arne, come to his panel:

haxton_re-048unnamed-15Words of the Now: Poets with a Wide Lens
Ryan Guth and Arne Weingart

Sun. Oct. 11, 2:00-3:30 pm
Nashville Public Library
Conf Rm 2

 

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