After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in December 2015 with a Master’s of Arts Degree in English Literature, I decided to write a blog focusing on literature and poetry. The decision was actually made easier for me when it snowed over 12 inches in Richmond on January 19 and 20 and the piling snow prevented me from travelling outside of my home. With little previous experience, I began to explore the possibility of setting up a blog. After a little research and much consultation from the experts of my Web platform (Word Press) and my Webhost (Bluehost), I activated Litchatte.com on January 19th and 20th with Blog Introductions. From the beginning, I have focused many of my columns on the literature and poetry classes I have been at the Lifelong Learning Institute (LLIChesterfield.org), and on my VCU research on Edgar Allan Poe.
In my poetry blogs, I have discussed Emily Dickinson, William Carlos Williams, Spanish Poets influenced by Edgar Allan Poe, Wendell Berry, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. My last three posts are on the Sonnets of William Shakespeare. In one of these, I compared Shakespeare’s Sonnet 94 with a verse in Lao Tzu’s, Tao Te Ching. On January 28, I discussed the poetry of Rosanne Cash’s song, “My Baby Thinks He’s A Train.” Other poetry blog posting have focused on the techniques I have used to encourage retired workshops participants to appreciate and write original poetry at LLI. I even wrote and published a few poems.
In the Literature Category, I posted a review of the book The Zen of Tony Bennet and s summary of several of the discussions from the class I taught on Ernest Hemingway’s, The Sun Also Rises. My Edgar Allan Poe blogs have all been about my VCU MA topic— Poe and Science. In these, I have traced and will follow Poe’s interest in science from his poetry, journalism, and fictional works, to his culminating enigmatic treatise on metaphysics, history, and science, called Eureka: A Prose Poem. I have written one Commentary piece on my experiences learning beginning French with Lydia Aiken-Wilson, two on Millennials for Baby Boomers, and a pair of tongue and cheek essays on Drones by Stan Nickel.
This summer, I will be leading a class at LLI on the art and joys of reading to children. I will use The Prince and the Pauper and Tom Sawyer, books that my fifth-grade teacher read to me which first inspired my love of fine literature. I will also continue to post discussions of poems that I inspire me as I prepare for leading another poetry workshop in the Fall of 2016. I am currently working with a new theme developer, Themify.com, to improve the navigation, look, and responsiveness of my blog. It will take some time until the Blog looks fully like I wished. Thanks for being patient.
Murray Ellison received an M.A. in Education from Temple University (1973), an M.A. in English Literature from Virginia Commonwealth University (2015) and a Doctorate in Education from Virginia Tech in 1987. He is married and has three adult employed daughters. He retired as the Virginia Director of Community Corrections for the Department of Correctional Education in 2009. Currently, he serves as a literature teacher, board member, and curriculum advisor for the Lifelong Learning Institute in Chesterfield, Virginia. He is the Chief Editor of www.LitChatte.com, an editor for the “Correctional Education Magazine,” and editing a book of poetry written by an Indian mystic. He also serves as a board member and volunteer tour guide at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond Virginia. You can write to Murray by leaving a Comment on this Blog, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also receive automatic postings from www.Litchatte.com by submitting your email address on the dialogue tab to the right of this Blog.