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Word Worth Volume VIII, 2008, Issues are available by clicking on the name of the month below.Get Acrobat Reader 
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Working OutMarin Helz


A Test of WillCharles Miess

   Exercise is clearly a very good thing—something we tend to get too little of. Still, when people talk about it, there is such sanctimony involved. I Believe in Working Out!, they pronounce, using the same tone that people used to use when stating I Believe in God and Country! It’s the “Working Out” term that makes this silly. By calling exercising for the sake of exercising “Work” a certain noblesse appears bestowed upon it.
   Face it; this is not work. It’s play. People pay an enormous amount of money for expensive toys to help them move “muscle groups.” They pay a ...

Classic Readings
Word Worth

   “It’s beautiful, untouched, unpopulated forest; there’s no evidence of human impact or presence up in these mountains.”  He added that several natives who considered themselves owners of the surrounding forest accompanied them and were astonished at the area’s isolation.  “The men from the local villages came with us and they made it clear that no one they knew had been anywhere near this area—not even their ancestors.”
   Although no new species of bird had been discovered in New Guinea since 1939, the scientists discovered a new one... on their first day.

Rediscovering HopkinsM H Perry


Reclining WomanCharles Miess

   Drew, who looked like a successful businessman and stood out among the less mature students, was polite, but he was particularly persistent in letting me and the class know that he had things to do and places to go, and felt that nothing could waste his time more than reading fiction and poetry. When I began the section on Hopkins, he raised his hand, and I braced for the onslaught of polite but tiresome questions on why we bother with this. To my surprise, he loved Hopkins, especially Sonnet 42. Hopkins is tough—that sonnet in particular, so I was intrigued. Gerard Manley Hopkins


   Okay, I’ll admit right from the start that I’m really dumb when it comes to the arts.  My brain is more attuned to precise and concrete ideas—math and science and that sort of thing.  When it comes to abstract concepts, I struggle; when it comes to abstract art, I pretend.
   My first visit to an art show was on the lawn of the town hall in a nearby village.  I gave token attention to the abstract stuff while surreptitiously working my way to the kind I could understand.  Once there, I was enchanted by pastoral scenes that invited me to step in and ...

Biography as Critical AnalysisM H Perry


A Matter of RespectCharles Miess

   When one analyzes a poem, the object is to decipher it: to discover the meaning that the poet intended. To some extent, understanding the life of the poet is helpful. Most biography based analysis, however, muddles the intent rather than clarifying it. Lives are subtle and cannot really be known without interpreting words and actions. Interpretation is better left to the artwork itself. We don’t know for certain what another person is thinking no matter how close we are to them. Photography
A. W. Helz


   Years ago, the president of a large university was asked to prepare a quotation on the subject of ethics for the foyer of a new public building.  He was stumped.  How do you sum up the whole of human activities and interaction with just a few words?  Oh he considered many of the exalted proclamations from history, but somehow they didn’t quite fit.  He finally came up with this simple statement: Civilization is just the slow process of learning to be kind.

Making LemonadeMarin Helz


Literary Heroes—Part I—Graceann MacLeod

   If life hands you a lemon, you should make lemonade. In the northern states of the USA, snow is the equivalent of a lemon, and it precipitates lemons in much of the north from mid-November to mid-March. Often enough, those boundaries are stretched to encompass mid-October to mid-April or later. In the Buffalo, New York, area, nine inches of snow once fell in May 7. While ... the snow goes away very quickly, it still leaves a gloomy residue on the psyche. Snow Sculpture
   I love to write.  It gives me a chance to explore my vocabulary, and the puzzle of how to make words flow together in new and interesting ways has always fascinated me. ...  I’ve made pilgrimages involving all three of these people.  They are the folks I turn to when the “real world” becomes overwhelming, and the inspiration I seek when my well of words runs dry.  Two of them may be somewhat unfamiliar to you, and the third I’m sure you know very well.

Updating AdagesMarin Helz


Literary Heroes—Part II—Graceann MacLeod

   Cultures gather wise sayings as a kind of advice shortcut: learn this truth to avoid mistakes—or this error is one you’re likely to make now. The problem is, a lot of our maxims are out-dated. They deal with horses. How many families own a horse now? The examples in our proverbs have become remote, so they no longer function as the shortcut to wisdom that they were intended to be. What’s needed is an update. We’ll start with “Either fish or cut bait.” Photography
Stanley Alster
   Geneva Grace Stratton was born on August 17, 1863, in Wabash County, Indiana, to a Methodist minister....  New family funds, an influx due to oil being discovered on their farmland, allowed Gene to design and construct a 14-room home near the Limberlost Swamp.  This is where her creative inspiration began.  She started to photograph birds and animals in the natural settings.  This led to magazine work in two nature publications.

So You Want to be a PoetM H Perry


Literary Heroes—Part III—Graceann MacLeod

   Even though writing and publishing poetry pays very little, there are many more people who want to be poets than there are opportunities for poets to publish. Only versifiers tend to make money—those who pen superficial “truisms” either in rhyme or in simple prose statements devoid of rhyme or rhythm.  These come and go like all fads and tend to be remembered only as exemplars of bad writing.
The reason people really want to write ...
The Conshohocken Women’s Club

by Jean Katter

   Visiting Hannibal, Missouri, where Twain spent his formative years and where he found inspiration for his most memorable characters, is even today a journey back in time.  It is not uncommon to find a paddle-wheeler at the harbor, and most of the homes go back to the famous writer’s heyday.  The complex which is comprised of his boyhood home and other important locations of his youth, is a time-traveler’s paradise.  Taking a boat journey is mandatory – the River is a living,...

First Lady”–Nation's HostessMarin Helz


Passions...Cultivated—Graceann MacLeod

   The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term as meaning, “The most important lady in the land.” Such a concept is antithetic to the principles of democracy in addition to being silly. The concept suggests that Laura Bush is more important than Senator Hillary Clinton and that Senator Clinton was more important when her husband was President than she is now—the reverse of actuality.
In a world of billions of people, there can never be one who is the most important, the most beautiful, the most intelligent....   
Leslie Marks'

African Animals

   ...What causes us to take up the things that give us the most joy in our lives.  For me, silent film – the watching of it, the study of the work behind-the-scenes, the lives of its principal participants - has been a passion for almost 30 years.  It seems as if my love of silent cinema has been with me forever, but that isn’t strictly true.  There is a single, definitive moment when that candle was lit for me, and I have to assume that similar stories abound among those who devote their lives to special pursuits.

The Post and Chandra LevyAnna Seymour


D. G. Hogarth—Aurelia Perry

   The Washington Post advertised its series on Chandra Levy by stating that they would tell us who killed her. The first person to post a response to their articles stated that we didn’t know anything more than we did before. While we don’t know who killed her—because in a society that states one is innocent until proven guilty—we do know more than we did. We certainly know who is the likely murderer from the subsequent attempted murders he committed in Rock Creek Park. We still don't... Poetry by

Perry Nicholas

   When Hogarth died in 1927, his wife Laura approached T. E. Lawrence to write a biography of him; Lawrence was consumed with projects of his own, though, and as a result made the somewhat unfounded excuse that he felt DGH simply wasn’t a subject for biography—he had been, Lawrence said, too vital, too much a personality that wouldn’t come across on paper.  As biography readers and writers are aware, of course, the genre of biographical literature itself would not exist if vital...

“You're No...”Anna Seymour


My Life Without T.V.—Rita Banerji

   To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen in response to Dan Quayle, vice presidential candidates twenty years ago: We’ve followed Senator Hillary Clinton through fifty states; we’ve witnessed her grace in defeat as well as in victory; we’ve watched her endure through deep personal disappointment; we’ve seen her dedication to those she represents; we’ve observed her indefatigable spirit. Sarah, you’re no Hillary Clinton.
   The idea that a woman is a woman, and any woman will do if there has to be someone female is both misogynistic and...

Leslie Marks
   And no, I wasn’t a deprived child; none of the inhabitants of the small Indian towns I grew up in owned a T.V.
   In the absence of canned entertainment, children had to get imaginative with their time between homework and school.  We organized cultural shows and fetes, invited the adults and charged them for ‘tickets.’  We investigated our fields and forests.  We raided fruit orchards.  And we read – voraciously, competitively – competing for the number of books we read, how fast, and how big the words were.

CreditAnna Seymour


Grandmother’s Memories—Rita Banerji

  The word “credit,” though it has many varied definitions, now typically is used to mean, “will someone lend you money?” “Credit” comes from the Latin word credere which meant to trust or believe. We may presume that the evolution of the term came from the concept that one would be lent money if one could be trusted to pay it back. It’s the pay back part that has been missing in the equation to national detriment with international ramifications.
   While the recent orgy of lending ...
Poetry by

Perry Nicholas

   I hear from second-hand sources that the picture was taken just before grandma was leaving for college.  At a time when a most women in India were unlettered, my grandmother’s father, a barrister, had encouraged her to continue her education, just as he had taught his own wife to read and write.  My great-grandmother, who used her writing skills to get her kitchen into meticulous order, labeling every cabinet and jar, still rued that her 20 year old daughter was “too old” and “over-educated,” and would never get married.

The Death of the GOPAnna Seymour


Scented Italian Straw Basket—Jean Katter

   A two party system is crucial to the ideals of the United States government. If the Republican party fails to reform itself after being the captive of extremists groups, it will either destroy itself or it will destroy the country.
   The Grand Old Party was once just that. It was founded on the most noble of principles. Half a century ago it was guided by Dwight David Eisenhower whose integrity and common sense was impeccable. He was wise enough to avoid the Viet Nam war into which his successor ...



Leslie Marks

   After wearing the pin once, it decided to fall apart as all good vintage pieces do. A few of the rhinestones fell out, so what was I to do? Bring it to some chic jeweler and say, "Um, these aren't really amethysts, emeralds, or rubies, but could you replace them with rhinestones?" Er, I don't think so.
Of course, I went to Google, and I typed in "rhinestone replacement." That's what any red-blooded American woman does these days; she searches the Internet. Like I always say, "Who needs a man when you've got the Internet?"

The Mayor of Bimbo CityAnna Seymour


Neighbors—Jean Katter

   After losing the Vice Presidential race, Sarah Palin was quoted as saying that she was praying that a door would open for her.
   The country is engaged in two wars and is in an economic melt-down, and she is praying that a door will open for her! What does the governor of Alaska do? Clean the state toilets?

With her own son in Iraq, there are things that she should be praying for instead of her own it’s all about me type of advancement. This is Bimbo City and she’s the mayor.


Nick and Britta
   She won’t drive on the highway, hates being home alone, and is afraid of animals (cats, dogs, and so on). If it walks on all fours, she doesn’t want to be near it. She is a sweetie, though—just a tad neurotic.
   Example: I took her son and my two kids to the beach one day in the summer. About five minutes after leaving the house, she called to ask me to remind her 15-year-old son how to swim when there’s a riptide.
   We were headed to the world’s most mild-mannered beach. If this beach were a dog, it’d be a yellow Lab. If it were a ...


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Publisher: Aurora Artisans®, LLC       Editor: M. H. Perry
Contributors: Marin Hoelz
· Aurelia Perry · Susan Johnson · Banwell Goddard · David Clark · Tiffany M. [Stuck] Perry · Wayne Johnson · Alastair Reid · Pei-Hua Chiang  · Ilina Sen [Rita Banerji] · Ruth Hitchings · Darin Boville · Ron Colgrove · Carl Dennis · Renee Oubre · Carolyn Scott Panzica · K Srinivasan · Charles Miess · Aurelia Perry · Cam Adams · Michelle M Mayer · Gary Earl Ross · Cheryl Rofer · Charles Bartolotta · Joy Walsh · Kevin H. Siepel · John T. Baker · Tambourine Gray · Harvey Kaye · Nettie Veling · Graceann Macleod · Anna Seymour · Kateri van Huystee · Kevin Roe · Beverly Roe · Dave Trageser · Susanne Woyciechowicz · Nancy Palmer Miess · Jean Katter · Leslie Marks · Britta Monaco · Nick Monaco · Malka Davis · Howard Miller · Christian Belz · Christopher Wittman · Linda Cross · Bruce Berger ·  Barbara DuBois · James Francis Cahillane · Cathy Crenshaw Doheny · Ross M. Hall · Bonnie Fields · Philip K. Edwards · Helen Peppe · Elizabeth Morana · Jennifer Campbell · Helen Peppe · Elaine Greensmith Jordan · Marie O'Donnell · Robert Coats · Sean Flury · Joshua DeMont · Lisa Wiley · Shaun Bellavia · Dr. Sheenu Srinivasan · Charlie Callan · Judith Washington · Sunny Woods · Hannah French· Joel Hooks · Brian Michael Norris ·  Eryn Leedale-Merwart  ·  Michael J. Cahill ·  Samantha Greiner  · Amy Conley · Vira Katolik · David Kiphuth · Shelby List · Susan Coburn

Distinguished Selections:  Hale Chatfield ·  Armin W. Helz ·  Rabindranath Tagore ·  Herman Melville ·  William Shakespeare ·  E. A. Robinson ·  Mark L Kaufman ·  Edward Fitzgerald ·  William  Wordsworth ·  William Blake ·  John Greenleaf Whittier ·  Alexander Pope ·
© 2018 Word Worth®—World magazine of Ideas & the Arts