March 2009 Newsletter
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AI Theater Spring Show Schedule Finalized
Well, it's been a lot of work but our spring/summer show schedule seems to be comming together nicely. The focus is on developmental work at festivals and theaters in New York, although we will also be doing a one-month run at a regional theater in San Diego. The complete calendar is below, but here are some highlights:

Pound, a one-man play in which the poet Ezra Pound is put on trial for treason with the audience as the jury, will be performed at the TADA theater in New York for one night only in early May (date TBD, but it's looking like either May 4 or 10); and then open at the Studio Theatre in Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, New York) and run from May 27th through June 19th.

Dickinson, a one-night confrontation between the playwright and the poet Emily Dickinson, will be performed at 440 Studios in New York from June 13 through June 20, and then open at the North Park Vaudeville Theater in San Diego and run from July 10 through August 2nd.
New Poetry Coffee Shop Site
Our poetry web site, Poetry Coffeeshop, was hosted by the hosting service xsorbit. Although we had prepaid for the board through 12/31/2009, the board owner apparently fled the country and the board was shut down and, as near as I can tell, all of the data was lost.

I have found another hosting service and brought the board back up, so once again www.poetrycoffeeshop.com is available for posting and discussing poetry and other topices. I'll need to rebuild my moderator list, so if the board moderators could set up their accounts on the new board and then email me, I'll reconfigure you as moderators again.
Visit the new site
Fundraising Progress
As many of you know, live theater in general, and especially live theater at the developmental stage, relies very heavily on donations and grants to survive. Last month I announced that we were kicking off a fund raising drive, and I'm pleased to announce that thus far we've raised $1,675 thanks to your generous support. If you have not donated yet, please do visit our website and make a donation. We need to raise $50,000 during 2009, so the need is still great.

Also, we could use non-financial support as well:

1. Do you know any groups in San Diego or New York who might be interested in attending one of our performances as a group?

2. Are you aware of any corporate programs that are willing to fund the arts and where we should apply?

3. Are you aware of any foundations that fund the arts where we should apply?

4. Do you have any experience with PR, Marketing, or fund raising? Would you be willing to volunteer some of your time?

5. Would you be willing to host or organize a fund raising event for us?

If you can help us in any of these areas, or if you have other ideas, please email william@aitheater.org.
Make a donation now!
Poetry Corner
by William Roetzheim
What is a Poem?

At first, this might seem like a simple question. Let’s take a poem like Robert Herrick’s “Upon Julia’s Clothes,” written not too long after the time that Shakespeare was writing.

Upon Julia’s Clothes

Whenas in silks my Julia goes,
then, then, methinks,
how sweetly flows
that liquefaction of her clothes.

Next, when I cast
mine eyes and see
that brave vibration each way free;
O how that glittering taketh me!

I think we can all agree that this is a poem, but what makes it a poem? Well, to begin with you might point out that the endings rhyme. If you read it out loud a few times, you might notice that it has four regular beats per line. This regular pattern of beats (or meter) and the end rhymes give the poem a musicality that contributes to the fluid feeling of the poem, a fluidity somewhat akin to the liquefaction of Julia’s clothes. If you probe even deeper, you might point out that the poem is a more intense, image rich form of talking than the standard, “Gosh, you look nice tonight Honey.” So a poem has rhyme, meter, and intensity.

But what about this poem, a little haiku, written by Shiki in the late 1800’s:

By that fallen house
the pear-tree stands full-blooming
…an ancient battle-site

The rhyme is gone. The regular meter is gone. It has some nice images but they aren’t developed very much and they’re sort of choppy. So why do we call this a poem?

The difference between poetry and most prose is that poetry deepens in meaning as you think about it. Good poetry brings as much enjoyment in the hours or days after you read it as it does while you are reading it.

So as you think about our little haiku, how does it deepen in meaning? Let’s look at each line individually, starting with the middle line:

the pear-tree stands full-blooming . . .

OK, we’ve got a beautiful pear-tree in full-bloom. This pear-tree represents nature, so we’ve got nature in her glory. Pear-trees bloom in spring, so we have the whole rebirth thing happening as well. What about the works of man? Let’s look at that first line:

By that fallen house

Uh oh, doesn’t look good for the home team. The only thing man created, a house, is fallen. Just like every work of man is ultimately destined to crumble. Now let’s look at the last line:

an ancient battle-site

We don’t know what the battle was about, much less who won or lost. The field may be littered with buried corpses for all we know, but what has survived? Nature, as represented by the glorious pear-tree in the spring of rebirth. In fourteen words this poem addresses the transience of man’s accomplishments, the futility of war, and the triumph of nature.

Or how about this poem about old age and death by Robert Creeley from his book Just in Time (New Directions Publishing).

Place

There’s a way out
of here but it

hurts at the edges
where there’s no time left

to be one if
you were and friends

gone, days seemingly
over. No one.

So the thing that differentiates a poem from prose isn’t rhyme or meter or even imagery. It’s more the way it leaves you thinking after you’re done reading. Can the lyrics to songs be poems? Absolutely! Can a work of prose such as a novel contain portions of the text that are poems, or at least, poetic? Sure! Could a portion of dialog from a play or movie be a poem? Definitely! We have poetry all around us, if we just look and notice. Let me end with a little poem called “The Haw Lantern” by Seamus Heaney from his book Opened Ground (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.).

The riverbed, dried-up,
half-full of leaves.
Us, listening to a river in the trees.
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Calendar
Performance of Pound
Illuminating Artists Festival
One-night only
TADA Theatre
15 West 28th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY
May 2009 (May 4 or 10)
Tickets $18

Reading of Dickinson
Weekend of May 29, 2009
The Studio Theatre in
Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
Date and time TBD
Free

Performance of "Dickinson
440 Studios
440 Lafayette Street, 3rd floor
New York, NY
June 13, 2009, 11:00 AM
June 14, 2009, 7:00 PM
June 15, 2009, 8:30 PM
June 17, 2009, 4:00 PM
June 19, 2009, 8:30 PM
June 20, 2009, 1:00 PM
Tickets $18

Performance of "Pound"
The Studio Theatre in
Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
Wednesday, May 27, 8 PM
Thursday, May 28, 8 PM
Friday, May 29, 8 PM
Saturday, May 30, 8 PM
Sunday, May 31, 3 PM
Thursday, June 11, 8 PM
Friday, June 12, 8 PM
Saturday, June 13, 8 PM
Sunday, June 14, 3 PM
Tuesday, June 16, 7 PM
Wednesday, June 17, 8 PM
Friday, June 19, 8 PM
Tickets $18
Box office 212.714.2442

July 10 - August 2, 2009,
North Park Vaudeville Theatre
2031 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92104
Fri/Sat at 8PM, Sun at 2 PM
619 220 8663 for box office
Tickets $18
Performance of "Dickinson"

Showcase production of "Dickinson"
TBD location in New York, NY
January 2010

Showcase production of "Eliot"
TBD location in New York, NY
February 2010
View our calendar on-line
This Issue

About William Roetzheim
William Roetzheim is an award winning poet, playwright, and
writer. He began his career in the fine arts in 2001 after retiring from the technology industry. Since that time he has founded a highly aclaimed small press, written or edited several award winning books, directed and produced fifteen spoken word audio CDs, and with his wife Marianne, started an art focused Bed and Breakfast outside of San Diego.
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