Spirit World Restless #11

spiritplantsradio.com

This edition of SWR is devoted to the fabulous poet Martina Reisz Newberry.

https://martinanewberry.wordpress.com/

We are so delighted to have had another opportunity to delve into Martina’s thoughts and poetic processes. This interview came to fruition 12 years after our last recorded conversation back in 2010.

And that’s not all! Since the release of Glyphs, Martina’s latest book, the poets of The Cenacle, edited by Raymond Soulard, Jr, wished to pay homage to her fine skill and so 11 poets have chosen favourite poems to read

A total experience that I adore and I hope you do as well.

Showtimes below and permalink for listening:

http://archives.spiritplantsradio.com/judih/06.25.2022.mp3

link for playlist and more information: http://redirect.viglink.com/?key=71fe2139a887ad501313cd8cce3053c5&subId=6968699&u=http%3A//www.spiritplantsradio.com/shows.html%23DJudih

Playlist

Part 2, Poet Speaks Out! Roy Sunter, Jr

Signs of Spring, New Hampshire, Roy Sunter, Jr

Speaking with Roy Sunter, Jr., I was interested in how the Internet has contributed to his artistic process.

How has the internet affected your development as a writer/ artist / photographer?

My introduction to haiku was from a slim volume my (ex)wife had had for bathroom reading. Some time in my 30s I tried my hand at it, carefully counting out 5, 7, then 5 syllables. I discovered a few online poetry boards, & started posting what I thought were my best. I was warmly welcomed into one of these, the Interactive Poetry Pages, which encouraged me to continue. But there were a few poets there who didn’t play by the “rules” – composing in 3-5-3 or 4-6-4 or sometimes not bothering to count at all. Despite publicly declaring myself a traditionalist, I eventually tried my hand at these terser forms – and found it liberating. Now I let the syllables fall where they may, though I usually set my sights first on 353 or 464. If I hit either target, fine. If not, fine.

It seems to me that Artists’ Forums on the net are rarely serving wide audiences, yet they continue to serve a purpose. What do you think?

They’re like the gentlemen’s clubs of Victorian London – gathering places for like-minded outcasts, safe-houses for dyspeptic old farts who dislike the same social conventions. (“Kids these days….”) They provide a sense of community for those who might otherwise find none – and in the process a bit of fine poetry rises above the crowd. And these rare gems get noticed and encouraged. The online forums can be breeding grounds for great writers, though I wonder how many of us really achieve any kind of commercial success – the kind that modern society really recognizes.

Do you see yourself spending more or less time online in the future?

Certainly not less!

Well, I’ve handed a few of my carbon-based acquaintances copies of some of my more problematic works in progress, soliciting their opinions – and rarely hear back. The anonymity of the internet makes it easier, I think, to offer blunt opinions – so I suspect it will continue to be my primary outlet.

Visage, Roy Sunter, Jr

Which subjects in life most stir you?

Nature – and Man’s persistent disregard for it…

Do you think writers / artists have the ability to shake things up, socially?

I think so – once they’ve achieved some level of notoriety. I doubt I ever will. Pop music of the late 1960s was instrumental (ahem) in gradually changing public opinion of US involvement in Vietnam.

Do you have favorite pieces of music?

There are a few pieces of music that can still move me to tears – the coda to “Mars, the Bringer of War” from Holst’s “Planets Suite”, in Zubin Mehta’s performance with the LA Philharmonic… the conclusion to a tabla/mridangam duet between Zakir Hussain & TS Vinayakaram on the 1st Shakti album… Lalo Schifrin’s piano solo on “Kush”, from “Musical Safari”, when he was still Dizzy Gillespie’s keyman – how it glides to a gentle stop after reaching cinematic intensity

soothing the savage breast…

Yes, indeed.

Does poetry and other artforms serve as tools for therapy in your own life?

Absolutely. My journals primally screamed me through some rough times ca 1995. I’ve posted of few of the less agonized ones.

Journals as vehicles for screams – I like that.

What would be an ideal way to spend a day (let’s say the weather is not too cold, not too hot, you have no pressing obligations)?

Immersing myself in the woods.

Walking Through Autumn Woods, RS jr

It’s both humbling and comforting to know that the trees I walk among somehow evolved as energy-consuming devices the same way human ancestors did, and that we share the common purpose to live, thrive, and survive – I remember Carl Sagan alluding to “our cousins, the trees” – and it pisses me off that so many of us feel that all of this was somehow put here by some Deity specifically for our exploitation. I have a feeling we’re on the brink of getting schooled, HARD, in the errors of that hubris. …

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’ve always taken interest in the natural world, and that led me to a career involving science & mathematics. I remember how, at the age of 6 or 7, I took a peek at the moon through my dad’s binoculars – and the thrill of discovering that it wasn’t just a flat disk but a World, a place, with mountains that cast shadows, and craters whose rims did, too. It was unbelievable, but there it was. Along with the sci-fi flicks of the time, it roused my curiosity about what might really be out there – and how one might go about finding out.

==More on Mathematics==

I guess I discovered mathematics when I was around 12. We had a 2nd bathroom just off the kitchen that I sort of claimed as my own. Besides a toilet & vanity, it had a little shower stall, lined with those 1” yellow tiles. I was standing under the stream one night, long since soaped & rinsed, & just staring vacantly at the wall. I started running my finger along the grout in the tiles… over one, up one; over one more, up one more; etc. And it seemed my finger trip was more or less tracing out a diagonal line. So I tried over one, up TWO; over one, up TWO – and that looked like a straight line, albeit steeper. So now I got tricky: over one, up one; over one, up two; over one, up three – it didn’t look like a line any more, but I couldn’t quite visualize what my fingertip was tracing out. 

1″ yellow shower tiles

So after toweling off & getting into my PJs, I swiped a graph pad from my dad’s desk, and this time put a mark on the pad at every point my finger had stopped – and was blown away by what I saw. What my finger appeared to be tracing out was not a straight line, but a mysterious, strangely symmetrical curve that arced upwards with regular, ever-increasing steepness. What I had discovered, of course, was analytical geometry and the parabola, both of which had been well-known since the 1700s – but I didn’t know that then. All I knew was I had discovered something deeply profound. I’d peeked under the edge of the tent and glimpsed the Universe. It was almost a religious ecstasy.

By the time I was 17, our high school had one or two teletype machines connected via modem to the GE 635 computer at Dartmouth College. (PCs and pocket calculators were still years in the future.) A few of us hard-core nerds had learned the rudiments of the BASIC computer language, and were dabbling in programming. The 1st program I wrote – beyond the usual generation of insulting messages to an unsuspecting pal – was a brute-force search for primitive Pythagorean triplets. This was another revelation – beyond the 3-4-5 that everyone knows, there were 5-12-13… 8-15-17… 20, 21, 29… and a little digging further revealed that there are an infinite number of such triplets – something I’d never suspected! I had fallen under the spell of the magick.

All of this was taking place at the same time that the US manned space program was upshifting into second. Project Gemini had placed our first 2-man spacecraft into orbit, and future flights promised things like long-duration missions, spacewalks, and rendezvous & docking with another vehicle – the latter of which not even the Russians had managed to accomplish. When a friend of mine proposed we write a computer program simulating (as realistically as we could) a manned space mission, I was on board – but without any knowledge of orbital mechanics, the project never got off the pad.

So when I went off to college, I declared my major as Physics, and for my senior project, finally wrote the program. It was little more than a column of numbers representing the distance between a target in a circular orbit above an approaching pursuit vehicle – and the numbers went wildly astray at distances of less than a mile – but otherwise it seemed to match what the NASA tech reports were publishing. My prof even asked to use my thesis as part of a syllabus for an Orbital Mechanics course he was proposing.

I’ve never lost that sense of wonder, that certain numerical patterns suggest that mathematics might be a whole lot more than simple arithmetic, and that the natural world might be infinitely more complex and detailed and beautiful than we’ve ever imagined. 

Roy, thanks for sharing with us a glimpse into that huge cosmos that has excited you for most of your life.

Darque 9 by Cecil B. Lee – vocals, Roy Sunter, Jr and Judih, audio engineering, Roy Sunter, Jr, artwork by the artists of Studio Eight

Part 1, Poet Speaks Out! Roy Sunter, Jr

Poet Speaks Out! Roy Sunter, Jr

Full Name: Roy Alexander Sunter. I’m a Jr, even a III – but not on the birth certificate.

Birthplace: Springfield MA, USA

Present Location: Fitzwilliam NH, USA

Fitzwilliam, NH, USA

Roy, what is your favorite childhood memory?

shards… discovering the circle of bare ground underneath a hemlock when the snow surrounding it was up to my knees… building a 2-story treehouse with my buddy Russ K. using lumber we stole from an overturned flatbed… the 1st girl I kissed, Cheryl M., who lived next door, when we were 6… finding & playing with a hog-nosed snake, and watching it go from threat displays to playing dead, just like I’d read it would… just bits & pieces…

How would you describe yourself as a poet / artist / photographer?

amateur 1st-class

Is there one word you’d choose to describe yourself?

dreamer? romantic? I’ll think about this…..  definitely a loner… lately, OLD – trying to wrap my head around the notion that this train is pulling into the station

Roy Sunter, Jr

Specifically about writing

How did you get started writing? and How old were you?

about 10 years old – I was addicted to the trashy B- sci-fi movies of the 1950s, and started writing down their stories – embellishing them with my own flourishes – took a while to find my voice – sometimes I think I’m still looking for it…

Do you have a favorite spot for writing?

my computer workstation

Do you prefer to write longhand or by computer?

I wouldn’t go back to longhand any more than I’d go back to performing calculations with a slide rule! I will say that the word processor has blurred the distinctions between drafts.

About Creativity

What are your most favorite creative endeavors?

besides writing, I enjoy photography & audio editing, and tend to rotate through them cyclically.

My dad brought home a Minolta 35mm & a Kodak Carousel slide projector when I was abt 15 – I started assembling his photos into slideshows, & setting them to music. Crude, clumsy, & labor-intensive – but it introduced me to a new medium of storytelling. I was also astonished by the power of music to enhance the visuals – how the sum of the two could be greater than either combined. That led to exploring the music of film composers – Mancini, John Barry, Lalo Schifrin in particular

Do you find it easy to sit down and concentrate (or do you have methods for getting into the mood)? (

I have to be in the mood to write, but if I’m not in that mood and NEED to write something, I’ve learned it’s possible to push your way through it – just write SOMETHING – you can always fix it later. I’ve overcome some blocks with a bit of cannabis, but the results can be variable. It could be brilliant, or really awful, with lots of mistakes. Chemotherapy for the Muse is a bit unpredictable…..

Are there those who have inspired you over the years?

yes! HP Lovecraft; Elliston Trever (aka Adam Hall); Elliot Porter; others

By 1962 or so, HP Lovecraft was finding his way back into print – I picked up a paperback anthology of some of his work at the village store when I was 12 or 13. I was struck by the sophistication of the language and the originality of the stories – and later by how he cleverly (or unconsciously) had built them all atop the same mythical background, so there was a nagging familiarity to their backgrounds… (“Cthulhu… seems I’ve heard that name from somewhere before…”) Now I realize he had no feel for character, couldn’t write dialogue for shit, and his virulent racism has gotten a lot of recent attention – but his work definitely altered my own trajectory…

When I got into photography, I was taken with, and emulated, the work of Elliot Porter. I went through a heavy Elliot Porter phase in my 20s. Then I went through a Harry Callahan phase, & several others before settling into what I hope is a Roy Sunter phase….

Black and White (mostly)

(See below) I love photographing foggy days, especially this time of year. Fog softens the already muted colors of a limited palette – sometimes reducing the image to its barest essentials in stark monochrome… backgrounds fade mysteriously away into gray nothingness…

Scott Pond from unnamed Causeway
Looking down my front driveway

Poetry

Could you offer here one of your favorite poems (yours or someone else’s)?

Favorite poem of mine…. maybe. For sure my most intensely personal…

I don’t read a lot of poetry, and cheerfully recognize that most of my output is a bit clumsy & amateurish, with the occasional flash of adequacy. It just isn’t my primary medium. But when you play with Poets, it’s not a bad idea to at least pick up the ball once in a while and make an attempt, and I’d like to think that I suck a lot less than when I first tried my hand at it.

I wrote the following about 15 years ago as farewell to a lover, a beautiful young contract engineer we’d hired to help us get our manufacturing processes in order. I’d been assigned to be her tech writer, and while the chemistry between us was immediate, the age difference held me back (she was 38, I was 56 – you do the math). But she had no such qualms, and initiated what became an intense affair, despite still being legally married to her estranged husband. Then one day without explanation she abruptly called it off – and when her contract ran out some months later, she just left. I never saw or heard from her again.  On her last day I handed her a CD with some of “our” music, & a recitation of this poem.

She passed away some 8 yrs later, in November 2015, something I learned from a Google search – so I guess it wouldn’t be too inappropriate to share it now. It’s seeing the 1st light of day since she left.

Will You Remember Me?

At the end of this chapter

   and I’ve left the page…

Are you going to forget about me?

Will your memories fade

   like old Kodachrome prints

   ’til one day I just cease to be?

Will the laughter, the love, the physical joy-

   will all that we shared go away?

Or will your heart keep a place

   where our love is alive,

   where What Is defers to What May?

When your flight takes you home

   for the very last time,

   will part of me go along too?

Will I be in your thoughts? Will tears sting your eyes?

   or will you just murmur adieu?

Did I matter? Make a dent?

   Change your course, turn your bow,

   did I alter your orbit at all?

Or was I just feckless? A trifle? An amusing diversion

   unwittingly held in your thrall?

If I look to the sky

   through a veil of tears

   and chokingly whisper your name,

Will you hear me and pause? Will you answer in kind?

Or was it all only a game?

Will you let your eyes close as mem’ries unfold,

   Will your heart open up for my soul?

Or will you assume I’m someone long-dead

   and leave me outside in the cold?

After we’ve passed

   from this world to the next

   and the cycles of life start anew

Will you remember? Will you wait? Will you look for me, Darling,

   just as I will be looking for you?

I think we both know that our paths must converge,

   that our lives have become intertwined…

But unatoned sins from the past bar our way,

   or so mystic cards have divined.

The time wasn’t right, the debt still unpaid –

   cruel karma still holds us apart…

How many more times must we do this

   ‘til we finally conjoin our two hearts?

I’ve lost you before at a terrible cost,

   and it kills me to lose you again;

But ’til planets align and stars light the way

   we can do little more than ask “when”?

Though part of me died

   the morning you left,

   you’re in me, for better or worse.

Your face haunts my dreams and everyday thoughts,

   a possession both blessing and curse.

I’ll always remember the touch of your lips,

   the warming caress of your sigh…

I’ll never forget you, my lovely young dryad

no matter how hard I might try.

riverbank

Thank you, Roy. Allowing time for that beautiful poem to resonate within, Part 2 of Poet Speaks Out! Roy Sunter, Jr will be published soon! Stay tuned.

Radio online! Spirit World Restless #10!

Welcome radio lovers to another weekend of Spirit World Restless. This edition is number 10!
You can listen to it here.
Thanks to the fabulous radio station of Spiritplantsradio.com lovingly hosted by Raymond Soulard, Jr.

http://spiritplantsradio.com

This time, I’ve included a variety of my latest favorite tunes from Johann Back to Janis Joplin, along with a few classic slices of life, like Allen Ginsberg’s In My Kitchen in New York, a stream of consciousness poem while practicing Tai Ch’i in his miniscule space, and Yuval Noah Harari speaking of What’s Wrong with the Idea of God.
Hope you enjoy!

Playlist below

Permalink here.
And here’s most of this weekend’s schedule.

Spirit World Restless #9

http://spiritplantsradio.com

Last show of 2021, now with a permanent link, available here.

The playlist includes a few of my longer poems (longer than 3 lines, that is) and some haiku along with an eclectic selection of music.

This time, the sounds range from Queen to Johnny Cash to Robert Plant. Jobim with Pat Metheny, Maria Callas, Antony, Leonard Cohen and some Coltrane to take us home.
Take a look at the playlist below and click onto the link to listen to some radio! Hope you enjoy.

Spirit World Restless #8

Back on the air with Spirit World Restless, #8. Permalink here

This time, when I was cruising through my current favourite pieces of music, I gravitated towards references to my past and strangely enough was interested in Joan Baez, long before I heard that she was being honored in the Kennedy Center – a supreme bit of serendipity.

Playlist (first aired on june 12th and 13th):

Mixed in with the haiku from the Jellicle Literary Guild, you’ll find the one and only Sunflower Sutra, one of my ultimate favourites, by Allen Ginsberg. This poem can bring me from humility to tears to compassion within its few minutes of vocalization. A masterpiece.
Also Joseph Goldstein offers some simple advice in his Wisdom for Troubled Times.
Please listen and enjoy! Live this weekend 12th and 13th of June. Permanent link.

Until next time, may you be safe and well.

Spirit World Restless Show #7

Show Number 7!

Listen here

April means new life, new energies. Tune in to a new edition of Spirit World Restless #7. Catch it live twice on spiritplantsradio.com at 17:30 EST, Saturday April 3rd and at 6:30 p.m Sunday April 4th.

Listen to an interweaving of haiku and my favourite playlist during this current state of life: Get Up, Stand Up, Higher Ground, Nina Simone, Tracy Chapman, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington,

The weekend schedule offers 3 DJS – take a look.

For fascinating radio, check out Spirit Plants Radio!

Spirit World Restless Radio Show #6

Show Number 6 !

Listen here

February is here and what better time for radio? Tune in to a new edition of Spirit World Restless #6. Catch it live twice on spiritplantsradio.com at 17:30 EST, Saturday February 13th and at 6:30 a.m Sunday February 14th.

Listen to an interweaving of haiku and my favourite playlist during this current state of life: some Carole King and Willie, Bob Dylan, Louis and Ella, Maria Muldaur and Pema Chodren, to name a few.
The weekend schedule offers 3 DJS – take a look.

Playlist for Spirit World Restless #6

For fascinating radio, check out Spirit Plants Radio!

Radio with DJ Judih! Spirit World Restless #5

Show Number 5 – listen here!

December edition of Spirit World Restless #5. Catch it live twice on spiritplantsradio.com at 19:00 EST, Saturday Dec 5th and at 9:00 a.m Sunday Dec 6th.

Listen to an interweaving of haiku and my favourite playlist during this current state of life: a lot of Dylan, some George Harrison and Krishnamurti, a favourite Chinese tune with kalimba accompaniment and Baez for the angst.

Playlist and direct link.