I had to share this eloquent poem by Rimas Uzgiris, published by Rattle in its weekly “Poets Respond,” in which poets respond to events of the previous week. Being Lithuanian-American, I was especially moved by the fact that this Lithuanian poet who teaches literature and creative writing at Vilnius University wrote this poem in response to those who mocked Greta Thunberg’s Climate Speech, including many in his own literary community. His poem eloquently captures the anguish of those of us who see climate change as the chief moral issue of our times. In the words of Greta, “How dare you?”
Here I am reading at Peregrine Book Company in Prescott, AZ. The video includes two short poems. The first poem (“All That Was Needed”) is based on a quote from 1984 by George Orwell. Watch the video here.
“The Museum of Unwearable Shoes is simply stunning, filled with biting wit, subtle humor, insights, provocative questions and fresh looks at ordinary things that I’ll never again experience in the same way. I love the way Twaronite peeks beneath the ordinary, leaving me moved and at times inspired by what he finds there. Even the few poems whose images and metaphors I find disturbing also provide insight in how to deal with such things. Reading this book was a wonderful adventure and I look forward to going back many times to again probe its depths.”
Susan Lang, Faculty Emeritus at Yavapai College and author of the novels The Sawtooth Complex & In God’s Trailer Park as well as a trilogy of novels about a woman homesteading in the southwestern wilderness during the years 1929 to 1941.
My second book of poetry has just been published by Kelsay Books. This is my first full-length collection and includes 61 new poems, most of which first appeared in various literary journals. Available at Kelsay Books The Museum of Unwearable Shoes
A beautiful poem by Molly Fisk that perfectly captures the sense of frustration and helplessness many of us feel.
All day long this this beautiful song by Tom Petty has been playing in my head.
“Learning To Fly”
Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up, the world got still
I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing
Well the good ol’ days may not return
And the rocks might melt and the sea may burn
Well some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown
So I’ve started out for God knows where
I guess I’ll know when I get there
I’m learning to fly, around the clouds
But what goes up must come down
Tom Petty, who died last Monday, was not only one of the great rock muscians of our time, but a great poet as well, whose simple elegant words soared even without music but with them could take you places you never knew were inside you. That’s what poetry does. We often forget that poems were once sung, and whether we sing them on a stage or simply read them aloud with our whole heart and soul, it’s all the same. And till the end of his days, Tom did just that.
Tom and his band The Heartbreakers were on their 40th Anniversary Tour this year, and Josie and I were hoping to get tickets. Alas, it was not to be. We were fortunate, however, to have heard him back when he and his band once toured with Bob Dylan. It was a night of pure magic. I will never forget watching and listening to these two gifted musicians and lyricists on the same stage as they played each other’s memorable songs and displayed their mutual admiration. And I don’t think his good friend Bob would care one bit if I said that Tom was truly his equal as a songwriter.
I think this post by Ani Bundel beautifully captures how many of us feel today and provides a good starting point for celebrating and keeping alive the memory of Tom Petty. Rock on, Tom! Tom Petty Lyrics to keep his legacy alive
There were so many memorable events at the recent Tucson Festival of Books. I wanted to share this delightful performance by my local poet friend Jeanne Missey Osgood, a fellow docent at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. She has now memorized a hundred of Emily Dickinson’s poems – a feat which astounds me. I can’t even memorize one of my own poems. Jeanne seamlessly recites Dickinson’s words through her charming puppet, bringing this beloved poet (and her dog) to life on the stage. Bravo, Jeanne!
There I was, all alone, with just the power of my personality and my six published books, to fill that 10 x 10 foot booth for two whole days at the Tucson Festival of Books this past weekend. Fortunately for me, I had plenty of good company.
Award-winning author/illustrator Rita Goldner came by on Saturday morning to speak about her beautiful book Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy and to demonstrate how to draw an orangutan’s head.
Best of all were the many readers and book lovers and people who simply dropped by to say hello and wish me well. Turns out, I was never alone. Why, I even made a few sales. Thanks to all for making this first booth of The Twaronite Zone an event to long remember.
For those who couldn’t make it or are now maybe having second thoughts about not buying one of my books, you can still go to my online store above and purchase signed copies (or unsigned copies, if you prefer).
This banner for our booth #477 (The Twaronite Zone) at the Tucson Festival of Books says it all. If you’re in the area, please join us for a weekend of literary fun for the whole family. The festival will be held on the beautiful sunny mall of the University of Arizona, on March 11 and 12, from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.
We have a number of activities planned, including a drawing demonstration by award-winning illustrator Rita Goldner, author of the picture book Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy, readings by Gene Twaronite from his children’s book Dragon Daily News: Stories of Imagination for Children of All Ages and his first book of poetry Trash Picker on Mars as well as a visit from the Absurd Naturalist, fully equipped and dressed for a day in the field.
For those who can’t make it, you can purchase signed copies of my six books in my online store. Just click on store to enter.
As many of you have noticed, for personal reasons I am no longer on Facebook or Twitter. I would be much obliged if you would pass along this link to anyone who might be interested in following my writing.
Our Tucson Festival of Books is now the third largest in the country. tucson festival of books If you’re in town March 11 or 12, please join me in Booth 477 (The Twaronite Zone) on the sunny University of Arizona mall.
We have a number of events planned. On Saturday, from 10:30 am to 11:30 am, award-winning author and illustrator Rita Goldner will give a brief description of her new book Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy and how it came to be, then lead an exercise on sketching a simple orangutan head. For young and old, age 4 to adult. Copies of her book will be available for purchase and signing.
Of course, I will also be doing some readings and performances from my six published books, including an appearance by the Absurd Naturalist himself, in full costume.
If you know anyone who’s visiting here that weekend and loves books, please pass along the word. The Tucson Festival of Books is our biggest event of the year and one not to be missed.