Open Mic Blog
|Posted on June 9, 2017 at 8:05 PM||comments (0)|
I am delighted to be a featured writer at "More Than Words" in Hurricane, West Virginia, at 6pm on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at Hidden Creek Mercantile. Come join us!
|Posted on March 9, 2017 at 11:40 AM||comments (0)|
Mountain State Press, Inc., announces their latest publication: Looking For Ireland: An Irish-Appalachian Pilgrimage by Laura Treacy Bentley. http://www.mountainstatepress.org/
Both a chapbook and a work of art, her book creates a seamless alchemy of elegant poems and stunning photographs. The 48-page collection “... reveal[s] fresh landscapes of thought and feeling. In our rushed and muddled world, Bentley's meditative poems are like breathing spaces—elegant, clarifying, assured.” --- Julia Keller, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Sorrow Road.
"You are holding in your hand a thing of beauty. Here, indeed, Laura Treacy Bentley makes 'words flicker like flame.' The imagery of the poems is married to stunning photographs forming a perfect balance. You will be taken seamlessly on a visual and poetic journey from Appalachia to Ireland, 'to the fuchsia that bleeds on Inish Mor' and 'Blackbirds seed the summer clouds' and back again. This is a work of art that achieves what the poet/photographer strives for, 'to capture wild beauty before it takes flight.'" ---Tony O'Dwyer, co-editor of Crannog magazine (Galway, Ireland)
The official release of Looking For Ireland: An Irish-Appalachian Pilgrimage is March 11, at River & Rail Bakery in Huntington, WV, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Looking For Ireland is now available on Amazon!
|Posted on February 4, 2017 at 7:45 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on September 23, 2016 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
I was recently interviewed on Geosi Reads. Take a look!
|Posted on June 10, 2016 at 6:15 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on March 10, 2016 at 9:45 AM||comments (0)|
Guess where I'll be on St. Patrick's Day?! Out to Lunch!!
If you're going to be in Huntington on March 17, come and join us! I'm kicking off this new venture with River and Rail Bakery and The Red Caboose, so watch for your favorite author in the coming months. The food is to LIVE for!
If you have already bought my novel, just enjoy the delicious lunch and conversation! This themed lunch will help support these wonderful independent businesses, and the work of local authors to boot.
"We're excited to announce a new venture with local authors that allow their readers to have a themed lunch, a reading by the author, and an autograped copy of the featured book. We kick off "Out To Lunch" on St. Patrick's Day, March 17th, at noon. For March, we welcome Laura Treacy Bentley and "The Silver Tattoo!" Lunch will include Guinness Beef Stew, Guinness Cheddar Soup, salad, iced tea, and dessert! Call 304-399-1247 to reserve your seat!"
|Posted on March 4, 2016 at 10:05 AM||comments (0)|
I was recently featured on "Author in the Spotlight" at the lovely Portobello Book Blog out of Edinburgh, Scotland: /http://portobellobookblog.com/2016/02/15/laura-treacy-bentley-author-in-the-spotlight/
Stop by and stay awhile
|Posted on December 9, 2015 at 10:20 AM||comments (0)|
I was invited to be a guest blogger on Vicki Goldman Gilbert's terrific blog Off-the-shelf book reviews in the UK! My post is titled "Drive, Imagine, Write." It's for all of you writers, like me, who have written or are writing a book and have traveled that long road to publication. http://bit.ly/1IEBA8z
|Posted on October 19, 2015 at 6:00 PM||comments (0)|
I read everything from literary, mysteries, fantasy, thrillers, poetry, non-fiction and more, but my secret pleasures are often children's books like Brian Selznick's Hugot Cabret, Wonderstruck, and The Marvels published by Scholastic Press. They are literally works of art! I am the proud owner of four of his books, and now I have his autograph. Be still my heart!
|Posted on April 11, 2015 at 12:00 AM||comments (1)|
|Posted on April 7, 2015 at 10:35 AM||comments (3)|
I was interviewed by Eric Douglas on his radio show Writer's Block. I talk about The Silver Tattoo and my forthcoming short story prequel "Night Terrors." Take a listen!
|Posted on February 16, 2015 at 1:15 PM||comments (24)|
Dr. Linda Tate
StoryWeb: Storytime for Grownups
Recently, I launched a weekly blog and podcast – StoryWeb: Storytime for Grownups. Readers and listeners are abuzz with excitement about the new project, and many of them have asked how I got the idea to focus on stories.
Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison answers the question better than I can. She says:
"People crave narration. People want to hear a story. They love it! That’s the way they learn things. That’s the way human beings organize their human knowledge – fairy tales, myths. All narration."
I love Toni Morrison. To me, she is the great American writer alive today. And one of the primary reasons she’s a classic is that she understands the power of story. Storytelling – one person talking to another, spinning a yarn – is at the heart of all her fiction.
Human beings tell stories all the time, in so many ways. We tell each other the tale of what happened that day. Families pass down stories of treasured memories – the favorite in my family is the tale of my grandparents’ first date. Communities pass down lore, the history of the culture, spiritual lessons through oral storytelling. Writers convey stories through novels, short stories, memoir, poems. Dramatists write plays, and filmmakers tell stories through the world brought to life on the big screen. Songwriters encapsulate stories in short lyrics, little tale capsules. Even visual artists – painters, photographers, sculptors – tell stories.
It seems that we humans can’t stop telling stories – and as Toni Morrison says, we “crave” stories. We want to hear them. We want to read them. We want to experience them.
My weekly blog and podcast – StoryWeb: Storytime for Grownups – celebrates this human love of stories. Each week, I highlight yet another storyteller – a fiction writer, memoirist, poet, playwright, filmmaker, songwriter, visual artist, folklorist. To bring the stories to life, I feature an audio or video excerpt from the story of the week.
And when you’re inspired (and you know you will be!), you’ll find links to read the book, watch the movie, listen to the song.
A former Professor of English, Dr. Linda Tate loves stories of all kinds.
After 26 years of teaching literature and writing at universities around the country, Linda left higher education to focus on her writing. She’d had a great run – she’d even been named West Virginia Professor of the Year – but it was time to write!
Most recently, her memoir, Power in the Blood: A Family Narrative, won the Colorado Authors’ League Award for Creative Nonfiction and was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. Currently, Linda is at work on Ferguson Girl: A Memoir of Family, Place, and Race. You can learn more about the research for this book at her website and blog, The Wellston Loop.
If you’re interested in learning how Linda brings her talents to the nonprofit world, check out her Tate Communications website.
Through StoryWeb: Storytime for Grownups, Linda brings her knowledge of stories to you. She hopes you’ll be inspired to read, watch, listen, learn.
|Posted on December 9, 2014 at 7:00 PM||comments (3)|
Prepare to be amazed! Seriously!! Explore this innovative and exciting Virtual Reality labyrinth of books for book lovers. Turn your speakers on, take a look around, and while you're there, enter the door with my name on it: http://inkflash.com/LauraTreacyBentley ;
|Posted on December 5, 2014 at 8:00 AM||comments (1)|
THE SILVER TATTOO is having its first Kindle Countdown Deal ONLY on Amazon UK from now until next Friday (Dec. 5-12) and is currently priced at 99p.
If you or your friends shop on Amazon UK, please help me spread the word. Thanks for your support!
|Posted on September 13, 2014 at 8:30 AM||comments (2)|
Join us for an Irish-themed evening: Ireland: Words & Music, sponsored by the Ohio River Festival of the Book. I'll be reading from The Silver Tattoo on Tuesday, Sept. 16 from 6:30-8:00pm at the West Huntington Library in Huntington, WV. I'll be joined by award-winning banjo player, Tim Bing! This event is free and everyone is welcome. Free refreshments, too. Hope to see you there!
|Posted on July 28, 2014 at 9:35 AM||comments (1)|
|Posted on June 28, 2014 at 1:35 PM||comments (0)|
I will be reading from The Silver Tattoo at The Winding Stair Bookshop in Dublin, Ireland, on Sunday July 6, 2014 from 4:00-5:00pm! If you're in Dublin, stop by! www.winding-stair.com
|Posted on June 20, 2014 at 8:15 AM||comments (1)|
WORD & SONG CAFE 2014
Come to the Word & Song Café this Sunday June 22, 2014, from 1-3pm on the beautiful gazebo at 14th St. West in Huntington, West Virginia. It's part of Old Central City Days. Be sure and read about our authors and look at the photos from 2013's Word & Song on their website! www.oldcentralcity.com
For a donation of $3 or three cans of food, you will be serenaded by Jim Rumbaugh and The Harmonica Club, treated to pepperoni rolls, peach apricot iced tea, brownies, and cookies by Manchester House Tea, plus readings from some wonderful authors! Joining us this year to read and sign their books will be Cat Pleska, Robert Yoho, Christina St. Clair, Carter Taylor Seaton, Eliot Parker, and Lola Miller. I will be signing, too.
Come out for an afternoon of fun! All donations and canned goods will be given to the City Mission.
Please share this news and help me spread the word. Bring your family and friends!!! I'll see you Sunday at the Word & Song Café!
|Posted on May 22, 2014 at 9:40 AM||comments (16)|
Poetry is Meant to be Heard, Not Seen
I always have known poetry is meant to be heard, not seen. My earliest memories of poetry go back to nursery rhymes and Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. Nursery rhymes and Stevenson’s poems don’t dwell on the page – they come alive in a child’s ear. And they stayed in mine. I started writing poetry at Vinson High School in Huntington in the 1960’s and continued through college at Transylvania and Marshall Universities. I never quit. But, from the beginning, I always constructed the structure and form of the poem around the sound of it. The words, the line, the symmetry, assonance, dissonance, alliteration, etc. That’s the basis of all my work. Always has been.
I come by the rhythm naturally. On both sides of my family, as far as I have gone back, there are musicians. My Father’s father played the fiddle. My Mother’s mother played guitar and piano, and her father played fiddle and banjo. That’s how they met. He had a trio called The Derby Serenaders, and they played on the first “country music show” on WSAZ radio back in the forties and fifties. So that is there. But I didn’t get the music itself, just the rhythm of it, and how it felt. Mostly I think it is the rhythm of the language of my people, and of most people here in the Appalachian region. The language has a wonderful lilt and cadence that blends seamlessly with that same rhythm of the music. Maybe one predates the other, but who knows. I just always knew they fit. And that infused my writing.
And that continued. I started into Appalachian Studies at Marshall, and found myself reunited as a fraternity brother with Mike Bing, an old sports rival. We like to say we graduated from different high schools together. His family also contained musicians, and his brothers were already playing fiddle and banjo, and Mike was just beginning on the mandolin. It turned out that we both had a mutual friend in Pocahontas County, another musician named Sherman Hammons.
I had met Sherman in 1971 on a fishing trip to the Williams River. He was part of the legendary Hammons Family, the subject of studies by many traditional cultural entities and whose tunes and stories were recorded by the Library of Congress. The Bing family had known the Hammons family for years, and was then beginning to learn some tunes from him. I was lucky enough to spend 17 years watching that exchange. More importantly, I watched as Sherman taught not only how to play the music, but how to feel about playing the music. It was an incredible experience and remains the most influential period of my life.
Since I’ve always known poetry is performance, I’ve always treated it that way. And I had some great influences other than Sherman. In the early 70s, I was a volunteer assistant asked to work on the Hillbilly Festival held at Morris Harvey College in Charleston. It was a creation of Bill Plumley, who would go on to become one of the founding members of West Virginia Writers, Inc., the largest state-wide writers’ organization. I was in that group, too. Bill introduced me to Muriel Dressler, a wonderfully talented poet from St. Albans. She was a performer! She flowed across the stage and recited her work from memory. Very dramatic. And right on the money. I was thrilled. Then, in 1979, I was asked to read at the installation of Louise McNeill Pease as the Poet Laureate of West Virginia in a ceremony at the Capitol Cultural Center in Charleston. I had already devoured everything I could find from Louise, and was ecstatic to meet her. We became friends, and she was the greatest poetic influence on me.
Other influences may seem a little unusual for a poet. My parents loved music. I grew up listening to and watching the great ballad singers – Bing Crosby, Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Rosemary Clooney, Perry Como, Peggy Lee, Dean Martin, Brenda Lee, Bobby Darin, etc. I was always impressed with the way they interpreted the songs. It was more than just singing. There was transference of emotion between the performers and the audience that transcended just the sound. It was an act of giving. Nothing is more important in spoken word poetry than timing. The best way to understand how to deliver lines with perfect timing is to watch comedy and stand-up comedians. And I did. Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Carol Burnett, The Smothers Brothers, Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart, Lucille Ball, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Jonathon Winters, etc. By far the best was George Carlin. Impeccable timing and rapport with the audience. He could have the house in the palm of his hand and on the same page with his first two lines. That is amazing talent. And I still love to hear and watch singers and comedians. And I still learn from them.
So that is a little of my background and how that factors in to the creation of the project. The project itself is a labor of love 40 years in the making. The title of the book, My People Was Music, comes from a refrain in one of my most popular poems, "The High Country Remembers Her Heritage." Most people always call the poem that, so I just decided that would make a good, recognizable title. And it fits with the theme. There is little separation from my poetry and the influence of music, heritage, and the rhythms of life in West Virginia. I started putting poems to music 30 or 35 years ago. I had spent so much time listening to the Bings, Sherman, and other traditional music that it just seemed right. I recited "The High Country" to a cassette recording of the Bings playing a neat old fiddle tune called "Grumblin Ol Man and Growlin Ol Woman." I was stunned by the fact that it fit perfectly. Perfectly. I told them about it, we started doing some other poems and other tunes, and found that they all fit! It is more than a little spooky. A genre was born. So I’ve been doing that ever since, and the idea of the CD included with a poetry collection was a natural. The studio recordings are great. It is better live, but the CD is pretty darn good. The musicians all are so good. I am always humbled and honored by their incredible talent and generosity. It is amazing to work with them and experience the way it all comes together. Magic.
The photographs also are pretty magical. Dave and I have been friends for a long time, and he started taking the creative writing class at Allegheny Echoes many years ago. I have watched him work and progress on his photography, and I think he is one of the most talented photographers in the state, and West Virginia has some pretty fine photographers. His photos fit as well with my poems as the music. I am proud to have those photos in the book. We collaborated on the choices, but mostly Dave knew which ones would work. Just like the music, once you realize the fit and connection, you can’t see or hear it any other way.
The poems are the poems. Some of them are over 40 years old. Some of them are new. Some were collected in my two previous chapbooks, and some have been published in literary magazines, but this is the first light of day for many of them. They pretty much represent my life’s work. This project constitutes what I’ve done. It is basically a love letter to West Virginia, her music, her art, her culture, her attitude, her tragedy, her story. If there is a rhythm in this state, I hope I have given voice to it here.
* * *
Kirk Judd has lived, worked, trout fished, and wandered around in West Virginia all of his life. He was a member of the Appalachian Literary League, a founding member and former president of West Virginia Writers, Inc., currently serves on the board of the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation, and is a founding member of and creative writing instructor for Allegheny Echoes, Inc., dedicated to the support and preservation of WV cultural heritage arts. Kirk is widely published and the author of three collections of poetry: Field of Vision, TaoBilly, and My People Was Music. In addition he was a co-editor of the widely acclaimed anthology, Wild, Sweet Notes: 50 Years of West Virginia Poetry 1950-1999. Kirk is internationally known for his performance work combining poetry and old time music, and has performed poetry in Ireland and across West Virginia at fairs, concerts, and festivals for the past 35 years.
On May 21st of 2014, Mountain State Press released this announcement about the publication of My People Was Music, “…a stunning collaboration of poetry, photography and music/spoken word performances written and produced by Kirk Judd, one of West Virginia’s best-known poets and literary personalities. The book contains 70 original poems by Judd, 11 beautiful photographs by Huntington photographer Dave Lambert, and 26 performances on compact disc featuring Kirk with well-known West Virginia musicians and artists. Included on the CD are The Bing Brothers, Danny Arthur, Dave Bing, Mike Bing, Tim Bing, Bob Shank, Pops Walker, and Sherrell Wigal. The performances are recitations of the original poetry recorded live in the studio with musical accompaniment. One of the pieces is a dual-voice spoken word performance with Judd and Wigal. The CD was produced at Otter Slide Studio in Preston County, recorded and engineered by well-known musician Bob Shank.
The book is an incredible collection of superbly crafted poetry as well as a celebration of West Virginia cultural heritage arts. Judd combines wonderfully written words and images of his beloved home state with just the right feel of the traditions of spoken word, song, story-telling and inspiration of the natural world of West Virginia. The collection spans 40 years of a life spent working in, living in, experiencing, and writing about this complex state. Judd expresses profound respect, mixed with sorrow, loss, renewal, joy and hope for this land.
The combination of poetry and music is a unique and incredible blend of soaring emotion and indelible impact on the reader/listener. This is a must for any lover of West Virginia and poetry.” For more information contact Mountain State Press at www.mountainstatepress.org
I would like to thank Laura Bentley for asking me to share some thoughts about my new poetry collection My People Was Music. It is my response to inquiries from Mountain State Press and others.