“Burdens are plenty in this world and they can pull us down in the lamentation. But the good Lord knows we need to see at least the hem of the robe of glory, and we do. Ponder a pretty sunset or the dogwoods all ablossom. Every time you see such it’s the hem of the robe of glory. Brothers and sister, how do you expect to see what you don’t seek? Some claim heaven has streets of gold and all such things, but I hold a different notion. When we’re there, we’ll say to the angels, why, a lot of heaven’s glory was in the place we come from. And you know what them angels will say? They’ll say yes, pilgrim, and how often did you notice? What did you seek?”—By Ron Rash, from Above the Waterfall
(Our November issue is dedicated to Becky Dennison Sakellariou.)
This November, Weekly Hubris dedicates a poetry-rich issue to Becky Dennison Sakellariou, one of our magazine’s treasured archived contributors. We open with a poem by Sakellariou first published here in February of 2012: do follow hot links to the this bilingual writer’s many books. We follow on with an excerpt from Anita Sullivan’s latest book, The Rhythm of It: Poetry’s Hidden Dance. William A. Balk, Jr. then repairs to his Midlands and Lowcountry kitchens, breaks out his favorite cookbooks (explaining just why they’re favorites), and shares a beloved family recipe. Next, an ailing and messy Australian Shepherd features in the Rev. Robin White’s November essay, which comprises the warm “tail” of this writer’s muse and spiritual guide, Calliope. (Recently post-partum Annie Carroll Maffeo follows with a piercing little essay on the messes-on-two-legs-and four that make for her own postpartum inspiration.) Dr. Guy McPherson returns to the calling that is teaching, and the central message he has to teach us in what brief time remains to us on Planet Earth. Poet Claire Bateman introduces us to the rich poetry of Chrissy Kolaya. Dr. Skip Eisiminger free-associates (well, while consulting copious notes) about Japan, and travel (analog and virtual). And poet Don Schofield (like Weekly Hubris’s editor, Becky Dennison Sakellariou, and Diana Farr Louis, astraddle two languages and two cultures) offers up an encomium to Dennis Schmitz, his mentor, spiritual-father and, always, the “implied reader” of whatever Schofield has written since the two met, as professor and acolyte-poet, a half century ago.
About the artist featured on our November Home Page: The Serbian painter Vladimir Dunjić was born in Cacak in 1957. A student of of Professor Mladen Srbinovic, he graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in 1981. A member of ULUS, the Serbian Association of Fine Arts, since 1982, Dunjić has taken part in solo and group exhibitions in Serbia, the former Yugoslavia, and abroad. He works and lives as a freelance artist in Belgrade. Follow the artist and keep up with his exhibitions on Facebook.
Where Words Go
“The Almond Tree Song,” By Becky Dennison Sakellariou
ATHENS Greece—(Weekly Hubris)—November 2019—Poet Becky Dennison Sakellariou was born and reared in New England, but has lived all of her adult life in Greece. Of late, she has been “making her way home” to New Hampshire, where she now spends half of every year. Writing since she was seven, Sakellariou has published poetry in a wide variety of journals. Her chapbook, The Importance of Bone, won first prize in the Blue Light Press (San Francisco) competition of 2005 and her full-length book, Earth Listening, was published in 2010 by Hobblebush Books of Brookline, New Hampshire. In 2013, Finishing Line Press (Tennessee) brought out her chapbook, What Shall I Cry?, which was followed by a two-year long collaboration with Greek poet, Maria Laina, for The Possibility of Red/Η Πιθανοτιτα του Κοκκινου, a bilingual edition of eleven of her poems, also published by Hobblebush Books. (Read more . . .)
On the Other Hand
“The Silence of It,” By Anita Sullivan
EUGENE Oregon—(Weekly Hubris) —November 2019—Poetry, like a unicorn, seems to require lots of silence in order to show up. Or is it quiet I mean, instead of silence? The two words don’t seem to be interchangeable. Isn’t quiet like an inland lake, protected from the chaos of the open sea? Such lakes are dotted here and there, mostly hidden and rather rare—magic even. A state of mind is often involved. Silence is unenclosable; it was here first, pretty much before anything else, and hasn’t changed. It’s not really something humans can experience, at least for very long. We (those of us who are not cosmological physicists) don’t even have an inkling whether outer space is mostly noisy or mostly silent. Either, both, neither? We use the word “silence” to indicate absence of noise, which of course truly never happens for any one of us while we are conscious. (Read more . . .)
“A Feast For All Seasons,” By William A. Balk, Jr.
ELKO South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—November 2019—My sister Libby was rifling through the kitchen drawers, the ones that seem to catch all the “where-does-this-go?” stuff: batteries, wine corks, rubber bands, extra mason jar lids, stubby lead pencils. Several of those drawers actually hold useful things, and she was looking for the folders of carefully saved family recipes, special dishes perfected over decades, stored here among long-neglected guides to brewing beer and making wine. Libby was looking for Mama’s version of the classic Angel Biscuits, that exquisite blend of yeast roll and baking powder biscuit that has been on our Thanksgiving table for generations. It is that time again, so the planning must begin. (Read more . . .)
Wing + Prayer
“Grace Amidst Messiness,” By The Rev. Robin Kaye White
LAKE HARTWELL South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—November 2019—The Blessing of the Animals, which so many congregations, worldwide, celebrate in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, is the perfect opportunity for us to tell the stories of our furry family members. Please indulge me as I tell you (briefly) the “tail” of my own muse and spiritual guide, my beloved Calliope. In Greek Mythology, Kalliopē, meaning “beautiful-voiced,” is the Muse who presides over eloquence and epic poetry; so called due to the ecstatic harmony of her voice. Hesiod and Ovid considered her to be “Chief of all Muses.” The year 2009 had been difficult for me. My dear friend and surrogate mother, whom I had known and loved nearly all my life, died after a suffering a severe stroke. My faithful companion of nine years, a goofy and always happy, yellow Labrador Retriever, suddenly died of an aneurysm. A few months later, my 70-year-old father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was grieving and lost, and in need of comfort, companionship, and unconditional love. (Read more . . .)
Working Through Motherhood
“Misplaced Anger at a Cleaning Product & Other Such Postpartum Tales,” By Annie Carroll Maffeo
BATAVIA Illinois—(Weekly Hubris)—November 2019—There is a roll of Bounty paper towels that sits in my mud room closet. It is a smaller roll of paper towels than any sensible person with a small child should own. It is individually wrapped which, again, symbolizes a departure from how I normally purchase practical household products. I buy bulk. Individually wrapped anything is really a total joke to me. I buy toilet paper, diapers, and disinfectant in huge quantities. I am the lady in the check-out line who is holding up the giant thing of laundry soap so they can scan it as it does not fit into a normal cart. (Read more . . .)
“A Useful Life: Teaching,” By Dr. Guy McPherson
WESTCHESTER COUNTY New York—(Weekly Hubris)—November 2019—I am a teacher, as I have pointed out repeatedly in this space. Indeed, I have occasionally pointed out that teaching is not what I do. Rather, a teacher is who I am. A dear friend recently suggested that, because I keep returning to this topic, I ought to explore it further. My life as a teacher began when I was in first grade, learning how to read (first grade was the initial formal educational experience in Weippe, Idaho, where there was no kindergarten when I was young). I took the Dick and Jane primers home to my younger sister and insisted she learn to read with me. She was barely more than four years old. That she did not seem to appreciate my efforts did not slow me down. I was passionate. I still am. (Read more . . .)
“The Poetry of Chrissy Kolaya,” By Claire Bateman
GREENVILLE South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—November 2019— Chrissy Kolaya is the author of Charmed Particles: a novel and Any Anxious Body: poems. Her work has been included in a number of anthologies and literary journals and has received support from the Jerome Foundation, the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, the Loft Literary Center, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and elsewhere. Kolaya is an assistant professor of English at the University of Central Florida, where she teaches in the creative writing program. The poems here are excerpted from her forthcoming book, Other Possible Lives, which is available for pre-order here. (Read more . . .)
Skip the B.S.
“When Wanderlust Meets a Flagging Libido: Japan, with a Side Trip to Sri Lanka,” By Dr. Skip Eisiminger
CLEMSON South Carolina—(Weekly Hubris)—November /2019—With “Japan” still scrawled in fading ink across the top of my bucket list, this gaijin fully expects that the closest I’ll come to visiting the place is the interior of my Toyota, which was assembled in Tennessee. I won’t say I grew up hating “the Nips”—after all, it was “the Krauts” who were shooting at my father— but when I learned that he’d volunteered for the invasion of the Japanese mainland after Hitler’s defeat, the Japanese emperor and Hirohito went directly to my enemy list. And because President Truman’s decision to use nuclear weapons probably saved my father’s life, I have never criticized the president’s moral calculations. (Read more . . .)
“Filling the Void,” By Don Schofield
THESSALONIKI Greece—(Weekly Hubris)—November 2019—The call came at four in the morning, Greek time—suddenly, in my ear, the voice of Tom, a friend, fellow poet, and former classmate: “Sorry to wake you, Don, but I’m sure you’d want to know: Dennis died.” Stunned, I lay in bed, discussed the call briefly with my companion lying beside me, then tried to go back to sleep, but only managed to toss and turn until sunrise, lines from his poems that I know so well wafting through my mind: “in a brief release of water from a woman’s/body I came,/crimped & spare sailor, cracked perhaps/a little with salt, wet/with too much swimming . . . .” (Read more . . .)