Wednesday, December 31, 2014

off the page poetry: featured poet: David E. Cowen

On Wednesday, January 14 at 7pm, Friendswood Public Library off the page poetry series presents a reading with David E. Cowen, president of Gulf Coast Poets; Sybil Pittman Estess, 2009 & 2015 Texas Poet Laureate nominee; and UHCL professor Dr. John Gorman. Featured readings will conclude with an open mic session. Dr. John Gorman will receive the first annual Friendswood Public Library Award for Outstanding Cultural Programming at the conclusion of this poetry event.

Excerpt from the FOREWORD of David E. Cowen’s The Madness of Empty Rooms (Weasel Press 2014)

Danel Olson, Professor of English, Lone Star College

If you step quietly for long enough into the coolness of a certain Texas graveyard at night by the sea, you may hear meditations and narratives just such as these. You pass by particular half-opened sarcophagi, then around an unmarked grave of a Civil War veteran, and then over a sheaf of salt-grass growing at the furthest edge where the mower finally gave up.
But you may never find that cemetery, so here is the book.

Incidents of families at war, of dreams slowly achieved and fortunes quickly squandered, of decadence and vendettas and eternal returns, with a few cases of tombstones repurposed, are all shared by this deliberative voice of Texas. 

Growing up close to the sun-blanched, salt-encrusted Gulf of Mexico in Brownsville, and relocating further north to Galveston to practice law, David Cowen has internalized the central narrative of that hurricane shore: nature is always indifferent, and life is as merciless as death. If his characters should face the rubble with courage to begin again, another storm only swells in the Gulf to take them all down.

If the keenest instinct of the Gothic impulse is to record decay, that is what these poems do--with uncommon directness.  Abandonment, fragmentation, ruin, trammelled innocence, and someone's unsentimentalized demise are always in the middle or at least on the edges of his verse. 

Being a lawyer, and the son of a lawyer, this poet defers to facts over lore, and remembers them well, recounting and fusing them into poetic cases melancholy, strong or shocking, yet never in doubt. The effects of evil linger long after a crime is done. In David Cowen's poetry, they linger twice as long…

…I certainly am grateful for these poems, their vitality, their atmosphere, and all their haunting voices. The secrets of an island are in this poet, and when I read him aloud again, I vow that even the ghosts of this coast stop to listen.

~Danel Olson

From the book The Madness of Empty Spaces by David E. Cown:

The Traveling Salesman Finishes His Run

anomalies are so cliché --

the soft hum of the Class III Alcubierre
spitting us
from the lips of the traversable horizon
always has its side effects

I become a primordial slug
inching on an evolutionary plane
of parallel strings
my antennae probing lost patches
of fractured reality

at least the colors are amusing

but they fade
as I find myself
slithering unexotically
over a half eaten package of peanuts
and an empty can of soda

just hazards of the trade
the movie was boring anyway

I am content
I met my quota

we decelerate through the other door

my arms reform
my legs reshape
I become who I am
I finish the last of the honey roasteds

the garbled recording reminds us
to return our tray tables to an upright position--
presuming up and down in zero G--
thanking us for taking the “company plane”
I reach down to secure
my suitcase of samples under the seat in front
as instructed

looking out
at the cerulean pearl
imbedded with swirls of red storms
circling a familiar bloated star

I sigh
I will again be sleeping in my own bed
my only apprehension
being whether I remembered
to let the cat out
before I left

Monday, December 8, 2014

Friendswood Library flicks

Friendswood Library flicks is an ongoing movie series held every other Thursday evening in the Friendswood Public Library Activity Room.  Films are shown on an 8 X 10 ft. screen.  Movies are free and begin at 6:20pm.  Refreshments provided.

When Episcopalian bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) prays for divine guidance in his efforts to raise the necessary funds for a new cathedral, his prayers are answered in the form of a handsome, personable guardian angel named Dudley (Cary Grant). Establishing himself as a Yuletide guest in the Brougham home, Dudley arouses the ire of Henry, who, unaware that his visitor is from Up Above, assumes that Dudley has designs on the bishop's wife Julia (Loretta Young). Eventually, the lives of both Henry and Julia are agreeably altered by the presence of the affable angel: He regains the "common touch" he'd almost lost, while she realizes anew how much she truly loves her husband.  (Rotten Tomatoes)

Holiday classic still charms. ---Steve Crum

Not rated: 1948: 109 minutes

Thursday, December 18 at 6:20pm

Astaire plays doctor—a shrink, of all things—in Mark Sandrich’s Carefree (1938), a little-known screwball comedy gem as antic and goofy as Howard Hawks’ Bringing Up Baby (1938) with dance. And what dance! Accompanied by an Irving Berlin score, Astaire and Rogers are at the top of their game in the tale of a therapist (Astaire) who must find the root of the commitment phobia that plagues his new patient (Rogers)... Ginger is funnier and lovelier than ever. Together, their chemistry is undeniable, and their dancing—captured in full-length, full-body shots with the barest hint of editing—is sublime. --Livia Bloom (

Not Rated: 1938: 83 minutes

Thursday, January 8 at 6:20pm

 The recipient of seven Oscar (R) nominations, this film version of Jane Austen's classic 1811 novel stars Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood. With her mother and sisters, Elinor struggles financially after the death of her father, who bequeathed the Dashwood estate to his oafish son by an earlier marriage. Thompson won the film's sole Oscar (R) for her screenplay adaptation of Austen's novel. (Rotten Tomatoes)

PG: 136 minutes: Directed by Ang Lee: 1998

We need no further proof that this material is ageless.     ~Janet Maslin, New York Times

Thursday, January 22 at 6:10pm

A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court. IMDb

What today's audiences will find amazing is the sheer energy of its invention. –Roger Ebert

(The filmmakers') creativity is both fantastic and organic, their imagery spellbinding and gorgeous, and their scripting clever and witty. –Sean Axmaker

#90 on the British Film Institute Critics’ Top 250 Films

In 2004, a poll by the magazine Total Film of 25 film critics named Stairway to Heaven the second greatest British film ever made.

104 minutes: Not Rated: 1946: Technicolor

                         Thursday, February 5 at 6:20pm

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Author Rene Steinke at FPL

Author René Steinke with panel members Ruth Ann Prince and Jennifer McAninch at Friendswood Public Library on Wednesday, October 22, 2014.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Friendswood Library flicks

Friendswood Library flicks is an ongoing movie series held every other Thursday evening in the Friendswood Public Library Activity Room.  Films are shown on an 8 X 10 ft. screen.  Movies are free and begin at 6:20pm.  Refreshments provided.

Thursday, October 23 at 6:20pm: The Others starring Nicole Kidman. Directed by Alejandro Amenabar in 2001. This film is rated PG-13 and runs 104 minutes. 

It won eight Goya Awards, including awards for Best Film and Best Director. Kidman was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Drama, with Amenábar being nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay, a rare occurrence for a horror film.

Thursday, November 6 at 6:20pm: Disney's The Kid starring Bruce Willis, Emily Mortimer, and Lily Tomlin. Directed by John Turteltaub in 2000. This film is rated PG and runs 105 minutes. 

Thursday, November 20 at *6:10pm: The New World starring Q'orianka Kilcher, Colin Farrell, and Christian Bale. Directed by Terrence Malick in 2005. This film is rated PG-13 and runs 135 minutes. 

Malick manages to do something I never thought possible, and that's make America seem like a New World to begin with. ---Christopher Runyon, Movie Mezzanine

An epic retelling of the Pocahontas story that, despite its flaws, leaves you slack-jawed with wonder at times. ---Film4

With most movies, a shorthand description or a reference to another film is enough to convey a sense of the experience. But Terrence Malick's "The New World" is not like any other movie….In its emotional effect and in the ways it makes its points, this motion picture is much more akin to poetry or music. Malick uses cinema in a way no one else uses it, in a way that no one else has ever used it. Through elliptical and seemingly oblique methods, he forges moments of staggering emotional power. –Mick LaSalle, SFGATE

Thursday, December 4 at 6:20pm: Saving Mr. Banks starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks. Directed by John Lee Hancock in 2013. This film is rated PG-13 and runs 125 minutes. 

Two-time Academy Award (R)-winner Emma Thompson and fellow double Oscar (R)-winner Tom Hanks topline Disney's "Saving Mr. Banks," inspired by the extraordinary, untold backstory of how Disney's classic "Mary Poppins" made it to the screen…Inspired by true events, "Saving Mr. Banks" is the extraordinary, untold story of how Disney's classic "Mary Poppins" made it to the screen-and the testy relationship that the legendary Walt Disney had with author P.L. Travers that almost derailed it. (C) Disney ---MOVIE INFO (Rotten Tomatoes)