Welcome to Rayz Reviewz. Past editions are archived on my web page.
In this Issue
Featured essay: Blake’s Tyger and the Mistress of Typhoons
My latest project is still live
Photos taken near Cravens House, August 28, 2018
Opportunities for Writers: Regional events go Virtual
Travels Close to Home: Chattanooga Audubon Society Events
Featured Essay Blake’s Tyger and the Mistress of Typhoons
I live in an alternate universe populated solely by me and Mary Poppins. This seems to be the image I conjure up when I tell an audience that I am a Nature Poet. Sometimes this image is true. In a state of reverie, I enter a distant land where the keys of a piano yield the soothing strains of Claire de Lune. The poet William Blake appears and reads the introduction to Songs of Innocence as I hear a child’s voice say, “Pipe a song about a lamb.”
With a sudden twist, Blake recites lines from a better-known poem, “Tyger, Tyger burning bright…” I see in his face the assurance of one who could gaze upon both the gentle and the destructive personas of the natural world without flinching. “Did He who made the lamb make thee?” The piano music changes to the opening from The Saber Dance. The goddess Kali appears, wearing her necklace of human skulls. She is mistress of the typhoon, the earthquake, and the tidal wave. She gestures with her hand.
A tidal wave ravages a distant shore, washing people, goats, chickens, and homes out to sea. Some wave their hands in hopes of an unlikely rescue. The sea reclaims all flesh. Kali smiles as new life sprouts to fill the void left by her destruction. In my heart, I hold the mystery of birth following death. The vision passes and I am on the shore of a familiar pond.
A heron snatches a hapless frog. Herons and egrets take flight with a hoarse chorus of croaking. They gently glide and land on the further shore. They take up stationary posts, resuming a hunt that involves patience and a speedy attack from ambush. A kingfisher hovers above the water seeking a fishy dinner. I imagine the strains of Appalachian Spring filling the air.
If Blake were present, he might smile and gaze at a tree, its branches filled with angels. But he is not here. A dragonfly lands on a nearby twig. Its wings shimmer in the morning sun.
With the decline of live learning and performance opportunities, readers and writers look to online events to fill the void.
The Southern Festival of Books has released their schedule of presentations for their online event, October 1 – 11. The list of authors is also available.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution Decatur Book Festival continues through October 4. A lineup of dynamic speakers will please every reader’s tastes.
The Chattanooga Writers’ Guild continues to offer monthly online programs on craft as well as writing prompts and links to events. Check the events section of their Facebook group for full information. Entries in their monthly writing contest are free and have cash prizes but are limited to members. Check the web page for information on their nominal membership fee.
The Plug Poetry Project, presented by Christian Collier will launch Episode 6 of Christian’s docuseries on Sunday, September 20, 2-3 pm. Each episode features two poets in conversation and presenting their work. A discussion by all poets who participated in the six episodes will follow. You can access past episodes on their YouTube Channel.
Palette Poetry has announced deadlines for September and October opportunities.
/11/20 Meet our Wild Ambassadors! - Program starts at 1:30 at Audubon Acres, 900 N Sanctuary Rd, Chattanooga. Presented in partnership with For Fox Sake Wildlife Rescue. Program will feature Juniper Russo, CWR who will explain about rehabilitating wild animals, the animals stories, and why you don't want wild animals for pets. Three rehabbed animals will highlight the show: T'Challa the Bobcat and Sonnet & Odyssey, rehabbed turtles. Visit https://www.chattanoogaaudubon.org/wildrehab for additional information. A limited number of tickets will be sold. Cost is $7.50 per person.
10/24/20 Native American Culture-Audubon Acres, 900 N Sanctuary Rd, Chattanooga. This new event will feature Cherokee Native Americans. Further details are forthcoming. Start time 1pm. Cost $7.50 per person. A limited number of tickets will be sold.
11/18-11/20/20 Pioneer Days 9am-1pm Audubon Acres, 900 N Sanctuary Rd, Chattanooga By reservation only See and participate in pioneer activities such as butter churning, cider press, rope bed, old time tools, historic cabin tour, corn husking and corn husk dolls, etc. Geared for elementary aged students. Cost is $7.50 per person. Visit https://www.chattanoogaaudubon.org/pioneerdays for additional information.