phanaerozoic

Musings about life on Earth in all its aspects…

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My Interview by Miranda Erickson Kendall of the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library

Thanks to Miranda for her interviewing skills.

Here is a link to the interview:

https://tscpl.org/books-movies-music/roy-beckemeyer

Please join me and Leah Sewell on April 26, 2017 at the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library’s Poetry Month event.

 

Roy Beckemeyer, April, 2017

IMG_0038

An Ekphrastic Poem:

THE ANGEL OF DEATH’S PENANCE

After Oleksa Novakivsky’s painting, “Angel of Death,” 1923

He clasps the setting sunpic%5cn%5co%5cnovakivsky-oleksa-angel-of-death-1923

between icy wings, makes

of it his halo, sets his face

to shade, offers to his Creator

the body of yet another wingless,

mortal man, searches with averted

eyes a numinous end to the

endless path by which he will

one day part  from this, his

own private Purgatory.

 

  • Roy Beckemeyer

 

 

“Angel of Death,” 1923, an oil painting by Ukranian Artist Oleska Novakivsky, (1872-1935)

Notes from the past – posts moved from my “Music I Once Could Dance To” WordPress site – from July 24, 2015

I was thrilled to be notified by Lindsey Martin-Bowen that she had reviewed my first poetry book, “Music I Once Could Dance To,” in goodreads.  I am including here a link to the original review, and I have also, with her permission, pasted the review here.Thanks, Lindsey. I feel humbled and honored to have had these words penned about my book. Bless you.

ORIGINAL REVIEW On goodreads LINK HERE.

Lindsey’s review Jul 23, 2015
5 of 5 stars
Read in July, 2015

Review: Beckemeyer, Roy J. Music I Once Could Dance To.
Lawrence: Coal City Review Press, 2014, paper. ISBN 978-0-9795844-8-0. $10.

Even if Roy J. Beckemeyer spent most of his life as an aeronautical engineer, he has maintained a poet’s soul and uses poet’s tools—a descriptive, honest voice, vivid imagery, and rhythmic sounds—to generate a sense of characters and of place, some of which no longer exist. Nevertheless, his lyrical poems transport the reader not only to areas in the Midwestern landscape but to a less harried time.

For example, in the poem “Owl,” the reader can sense the elegiac longing for an earlier era in the Midwest landscape (and perhaps in our society nationwide). The bird becomes an emblem of a dying way of life:

. . . the universal truth of a broken owl
suddenly shattered by a strand of barbed wire,
gone from magnificent pursuer to wheeling
wreck of hollow bones, his wing flailing, cloud
of down and feathers floating like incense . . . (l. 1-5 ).

Beckemeyer presents the poem containing the book’s title first, in the section he named “invocation,” a request to God (and/or the muses) to lure the reader into a dance of words to ensure that it be guided by the Divine—or at least, supernatural forces beyond our material world. And his poetry creates music with its alliteration and rhythms. Although he continues the music metaphor in the titles of the book’s five sections (invocation, exposition, theme, variations, recapitulation), his engineering background appears when he weaves in scientific terms without destroying the poem’s rhythm. For instance, in the final poem, “We Discuss the Geomorphology of Life,” he notes “It’s called saltation, I said,/when grains of sand are picked up by the wind/and blown along, dislodging other grains. . . .” (l. 1-3).

Beckemeyer has lived in Kansas most of his life but isn’t a native. He spent his early years in Illinois. Those years etched intriguing imagery into his memories, which unfold often in his poetry. In “A Year in Small-Town Illinois: 1953 in Tanka,” his imagery leads the reader through the calendar via tankas (five-line poems in syllabic counts of 5/7/5/7/7 with the last two lines showing a “turn” from the beginning three). He wrote a tanka for each month. Some of them illustrate life in Illinois, such as the February tanka:

skating on Shoal Creek
ice cracks like a rifle shot
and transforms us both
from skaters into swimmers
huddled steaming by the fire (l. 1-5).

Others, such as the March tanka about the 1950s television show, “Sky King,” could occur anywhere in the nation during that era:

Sky King’s niece Penny
in that twin-engine Cessna
Saturday mornings
twelve year old boys dream about
pony-tailed girls and flying (l. 1-5)

Beckemeyer brings small surprises with the imagery, too. He illustrates the dance theme in unexpected ways, such as when he describes his wife, Pat, in “At Watermark Books Before the Reading.” He studies her as if she were dancing, “. . .your hands held out before you/as if they are dowsing sticks” (l. 4-5). And he notes “You always do that,/your hands dipping and bobbing/to the hidden rush of words” (l. 6-9).

In a similar vein, “Picking-at-Scabs Blues” in the same section not only picks up on bluesy rhythms, it, too, contains a dance description of the blues performer:

his hands would flutter,
open and closed,
open and closed,
catching at air coming
through the harp
and thrumming it there, (l. 26-31).

Indeed, this collection of poems not only shares the landscape with other descriptions in “Tornado Warnings” and “Nebraska Morning,” its dance-themed poems, such as “Initiation Song from the Prairie,” “Centering” and “Falling,” along with those previously mentioned, lead the reader through dancing lessons and create a music that many of us can still dance to today.

– Lindsey Martin-Bowen

Two “In Depth” Pieces for Whispering Prairie Press’s Blog

Pleased to kick off Whispering Prairie Press‘s “In Depth” blog series with two items on aspects of the craft of poetry: One on the use of epigraphs (http://www.wppress.org/theme-and-variations-epigraphs-and-poems/) and the other on Poetry and Memoir (http://www.wppress.org/poetry-memoir-and-biomythography/).

Hope you link, read and enjoy.

 

  • Roy Beckemeyer, 23 September, 2016

Annunciation Angel – a poem from my collection of ekphrastic poetry based on abstract, symbolist and surrealist artists’ depictions of angels

Annunciation Angel

 

After Jay DeFeo’s Oil on canvas, “The Annunciation,”

1957/59, Art Institute of Chicago

 

Angel announcements are always

astounding. Angels are drama queens,

every one, no sign of subtlety; they light

the night sky, let all the neighbors hear

the news. No virgin ever born could

hope for discretion with angels involved.

 

Loud, too much makeup, glitzy robes

encrusted with bling, they swoosh in

on wings immaculately white, halos

like circular fluorescent tubes swiped

from a tavern storefront.

 

What’s the use of a Holy Spirit

silently slipping into your room

in the dead of night after all this?

 

 – Roy Beckemeyer

 

Please link to De Feo’s painting here:

DeFeo: “The Annunciation” – http://goo.gl/9z6CjK

Or use your smartphone to link through this QR Code:

DeFeo Annunciation Google QR Code

 

This poem is from a collection of 28 ekphrastic poems addressing various artists’ depictions of angels. Art ranges from abstract expressionist to symbolist to surrealist work. Tentatively titled Amanuensis Angel, the collection has been making the rounds of various publishers. No acceptance yet, but still trying. All the poems have QR codes so that readers can call up the picture on their smartphone or tablet, thus making reading the poems an interactive experience.

Three Short Non-fiction Articles in KONZA: A Bioregional Journal

Here are links to three non-fiction articles that appear in the 2016 issue of KONZA: A Bioregional Journal.

https://konzajournaldotcom.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/nature-journal.pdf

https://konzajournaldotcom.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/wilsons-phalarope-feminist-shorebird.pdf

https://konzajournaldotcom.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/roy-beckemeyer-dainty-dancers-corrected.pdf

  • Roy Beckemeyer, July, 2016

Links to My Poetry Posted On Line

Here are links to various poems of mine that may be found on the internet.

“Pink Angels” (After De Kooning’s 1954 painting of the same name), May 12, 2016, The Ekphrastic Review: writing and art on art and writing (On-line literary journal):

http://www.ekphrastic.net/ekphrastic/pink-angels-by-roy-beckemeyer

 

“Imbrued Angels” (After Simberg’s 1902 painting, “The Wounded Angel”), Feb 20, 2016, The Ekphrastic Review: writing and art on art and writing (On-line literary journal):

http://www.ekphrastic.net/ekphrastic/imbrued-angels-by-roy-beckemeyer

 

“Jacob’s Angels” (After Marc Chagall’s 1977 print, “Jacob’s Dream”), Feb 25, 2016, The Ekphrastic Review: writing and art on art and writing (On-line literary journal):

http://www.ekphrastic.net/ekphrastic/jacobs-angels-by-roy-beckemeyer

 

“Angel, Falling” (After Jagoda Buic’s woven sculpture “Fallen Angel, 1967), The Ekphrastic Review: writing and art on art and writing (On-line literary journal):

http://www.ekphrastic.net/ekphrastic/angel-falling-by-roy-beckemeyer

 

“Skull of Sirius, Crossbones of Cassiopeia”

“The Chase”

“Daylight’s Starring Role”

“Sunset”

“Magisterial Moon”

All five poems published on The Syzygy Poetry Journal, Issue 3, April 4, 2016

https://fulguria.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/roy-beckemeyer/

 

“Cerebellum’s Fire” – Winner of the 2016 Kansas Voices Poetry Award, May 7, 2016. Posted on my blog, Phanaerozoic:

https://phanaerozoic.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/2016-kansas-voices-contest/

 

“fifteen panes of glass” – 3rd place winner of Zingara Poet 2016 Haiku Contest, Jan 2016:

https://zingarapoet.net/2016/01/24/haiku-contest-winners/

 

“Stand By Me” – pif Magazine (On-line Journal) Feb 1, 2016

http://www.pifmagazine.com/2016/02/stand-by-me/

 

“Fables for Children of the North” (Silver Birch Press – Mythic Poetry Series) Oct 28, 2014

https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/fables-for-children-of-the-north-poem-by-roy-j-beckemeyer-mythic-poetry-series/

 

“At Night in the Southern Rockies”

“Currents”

“Canada Bound”

All three poems excerpted from my book, Music I Once Could Dance To, at the web page We Wanted To Be Writers, Sep 15, 2014

http://wewantedtobewriters.com/2014/09/excerpt-from-roy-beckemeyers-debut-poetry-collection/#.VBbUz6hRwis.facebook

 

 

“Lessons”

“Oh, Come Share”

Both appeared on The Light Ekphrastic web site Aug 20, 2014:

http://thelightekphrastic.com/issues/august-2014-issue-19/beckemeyer-and-wood-aug-2014/

 

“Front doors” – a cinquain published as part of Kansas Poet Laureate Wyatt Townely’s Homewords Project. Published Apr 2014:

http://kansashumanities.org/v2/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/HW_BeckemeyerSchultz.pdf

 

“Cancion De Amor” – Kansas Humanities Pin-up Poetry, April 2014

https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/550424385680146433/?from_navigate=true

“Lincoln’s Horse” – Kansas Humanities Pin-up Poetry, April 2014

https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/550424385680268124/

“For a Distant Friend” – Kansas Humanities Pin-up Poetry, April 2014

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/550424385680146430/

“Prayer of Letting Go” – Kansas Humanities Pin-up Poetry, April 2014

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/550424385680146415/

“Under the cold moon” – haiku – Kansas Humanities Council Pin-up Poetry, April 2014

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/550424385680119958/

“Hymnal” – Kansas Humanities Council Pin-up Poetry, April 2014

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/550424385680153894/

 

“Train Sounds” – Straylight Magazine On-line, April 28, 2014

http://straylightmag.com/archives/4944

 

“Lessons”

“Tree Shadows”

Both at my entry on Map of Kansas Literature

http://www.washburn.edu/reference/cks/mapping/beckemeyer/index.html

 

“Oceans of Kansas” Feb 24, 2014, Kansas Time + Place

https://150kansaspoems.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/oceans-of-kansas-by-roy-beckmeyer/

“Initiation Song from the Prairie” Dec 2, 2013, Kansas Time + Place

https://150kansaspoems.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/initiation-song-from-the-prairie-by-roy-j-beckemeyer/

“Encore” Aug 11, 2014, Kansas Time + Place

https://150kansaspoems.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/encore-by-roy-beckemeyer/

“After the Storm” Mar 3, 2014, Kansas Time + Place

https://150kansaspoems.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/after-the-storm-by-roy-beckemeyer/

“KaSantatieh” Feb 11, 2013, Kansas Time + Place

https://150kansaspoems.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/ka%C2%B7santatieh-by-roy-beckemeyer/

“A Kansas Farmwife’s Snow Song” Nov 19, 2011, Kansas Time + Place

https://150kansaspoems.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/a-kansas-farmwifes-snow-song/

“We Discuss the Geomorphology of Life” Apr 5, 2011, Kansas Time + Place

https://150kansaspoems.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/43/

 

 

“In Kansas to Stay” Kansas Poems

http://www.kansaspoets.com/ks_poems/Kansas%20Poems%20-%20Page%205.htm#in_kansas

2016 Kansas Voices Contest

Pleased to report that my poems, “Staying Warm,” and “Cerebellum’s Fire,” won first place in the Free Verse and Traditional Poetry categories, respectively, in the 27th Annual Kansas Voices Writing Contest. “Cerebellum’s Fire” also took the Overall Award for Poetry.

 

image   – Roy Beckemeyer

Interview Conducted for Kansas Public Radio by Kaye McIntyre Aired September 20, 2015

During the Kansas Notable Book Awards, Kaye McIntyre of Kansas Public Radio interviewed the Notable Book Awardees including yours truly. Here is the link to the program, which aired on September 20, 2015.

KPR PRESENTS KANSAS NOTABLE BOOKS 2015 (PART 2)

My interview and reading occurs about 35 minutes into the program.

 

  • Roy Beckemeyer