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Places and Times Paperback – April 7, 2015
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When it comes to painting word pictures with brushstrokes of authenticity, poet Arthur Turfa has not only “been there” and “done that” in a lifetime of open-eyed globe-trekking adventures but has chronicled it in such a way as to sweep his readers along for the journey. Whether it’s across the country or around the world, he embraces not only an affinity for rich detail but also a gift for philosophical reflection. One senses from his poetry that he’s not just making new friends wherever he goes but that he is tucking away those snippets of conversations, those emotions, and those shared lessons in humanity for later use in a warm, lyrical narrative. Among my favorites is the following:
“A chance remark, a brief glance transports me to an earlier time, distant places.
Could we cut and paste from all our pasts, we create the best time that never was,
hovering on the horizon for us as the stuff of which our dreams have been made,
sustaining us in our monotony.”
It’s a slim volume to be sure but definitely not one to be rushed through. These are passages that are meant to be leisurely savored with a glass of wine, read aloud with friends, or mused upon in the context of current political and social upheavals. Turfa’s diverse careers as a military reservist, a Luthern pastor, and an instructor have given him ample opportunity to observe and reflect on the complexities of the human condition as well as the simplicities of Nature’s seasonal treasures. Even if a poem’s theme is deep, it is nevertheless approachable here, especially for those who aren’t well versed (no pun intended) on what a poem can accomplish.
My only criticism of this poetry collection – and it is a flaw that falls squarely on the publisher, not the author – is that the front material (acknowledgments and testimonials) takes up the first 25 percent of a book that is only 64 pages. From a marketing standpoint, 80 percent of prospective buyers will stop reading after the first page if there isn’t something that grabs their attention. In Amazon’s LOOK INSIDE, feature, for instance, that only allows for two of Turfa’s poems to actually be included as a teaser. In a bookstore, potential buyers might get frustrated having to flip through so many introductory pages before they got to the first poem. It’s certainly not enough to cost the author a star in this review but it is something I’d encourage him to keep in mind for what I hope will be new works in the near future.
When I opened this beautiful book of poetry, PLACES AND TIMES, the pages automatically fell to "Sunday Morning at Beech Island"...
Sunday morning on the crest of the hill,
Slightly cold wind in this January
Blowing down the slope toward the Savannah...
I had just remembered a friend found in 2015...lost from view for over 25 years. We used to sit in her yellow kitchen, drinking coffee on Sunday morning, and listening to a neighbor's music...a Vivaldi recording... coming through an open window.
And now I remember a multitude of Sundays spent with a girl from Aiken, SC, near Beech Island...and a few October days we spent in Beaufort just a few months ago. A special friend....my all-time wonderful friend of over 50 years.
Thank you, Arthur Turfa, for writing this poetry. It recalls PLACES AND TIMES and faces for me. Your book is on my bedside table in case I need another healthy dose or so of your beautiful words and sunny outlook on life...or need a few more happy memories.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a wonderful and inspiring collection of poetry from clearly a very talented author.Read more