April 2009 Newsletter
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New Poetry Books Launched
William's publishing company, Level 4 Press, Inc., has just launched nine new poetry titles. These titles will all be exhibited at the Level 4 Press booth during Book Expo America in New York this May. The titles are:

Poems of Romance
Poems of Inspiration and Faith
Poems of Nature
Poems of Ghosts, Evil, and Superstition
Modern Nursery Rhymes
Journey in Flagrante
Postmark Atlantis
An Evening's Entertainment
Five Poet Plays

We'll talk about each of these titles in more depth, one per newsletter.
Update on Plays
We have received the postcards advertising the currently scheduled New York productions of Pound and Eliot. If you are willing to put these out at a location in New York, drop me a line with your address plus how many postcards you could use. I'll mail them right off to you, with much thanks.

Eliot was accepted into the EAT festival, and Pound was accepted into the Midtown Festival. For Eliot, we ended up declining the invitation simply because we are already so busy with the three performances scheduled in New York during the same timeframe. We just didn't think we could do a good job taking on another production, especially of a musical, during the same timeframe. Instead, we're trying to set up a developmental reading of Eliot during one of the scheduled trips to New York.

We haven't decided yet r.e., whether to accept the Midtown Theater Festival's invitation, which would involve six productions of Pound during the late July timeframe. Money is the biggest issue. Because we've already used our "once per year" showcase of Pound, we'd need to do this under a mini-off-Broadway contract with AEA which means paying the cast and crew union wages, so to do the festival we'd need to come up with a couple of thousand dollars. That's a lot to raise on top of the money we're already trying to raise for the currently scheduled productions. We'll keep you posted.

Poems of Romance
edited by William Roetzheim
This poetry anthology collects together the poetry of well known and emerging poets, all dealing with various aspects of romance. The included audio CD contains spoken word versions of selected poems from the book. $7.95. The book was partially developed using the services of weBook, an on-line community of approximately 400,000 writers contributing and reviewing work.

Some samples:

LEAP

I'm one of those with scraped knees
And bruised elbows,
Tumbling and
Crashing
Into Love.

Once more I'm at the precipice,
The valley's
All I've ever wanted.
I don't even think

I snap off the rope,
Before the plunge
And jump
Without bungee jumping.

DANTE

I have but one ambition in my life,
to be the naked spark
Igniting Dante's fire.

To dance within his eyes—
a flame of heat and scalding passion,
to have him spell bound and beguiled
in any way I fashion.
Order Poems of Romance
Poetry Corner
by William Roetzheim
Are People Ready for Poetry?

We live in a busy, hectic time. Schedules are compressed, gratification must be instant, and communication occurs in short emails. Can people today afford to take time out for poetry?

Actually, poetry is ideally suited to the needs of society today. Poetry is the most short and intense form of communication known to man. A poem often packs the punch of an entire novel into something that can be finished in a few minutes. As an added bonus, poetry helps us keep our communication skills sharp, and exercises our intellectual ability as well.

Let’s look at an example. Suppose your friend tells you she just finished a great novel about the Irish nationalists who revolted against England in 1798. She tells you how they were called “croppies” because they wore their hair cropped short, and that the book has a sad ending when they were defeated. Even if the idea of the novel appeals to you, when will you have time to read it? But now let’s look at a poem by Seamus Heaney taken from his book Opened Ground (1998, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.) that compresses this story into 131 words.

Requiem for the Croppies

The pockets of our greatcoats full of barley . . .
no kitchens on the run,
no striking camp . . .
we moved quick and sudden
in our own country.
The priest lay behind ditches
with the tramp.
A people hardly marching . . .
on the hike . . .
we found new tactics happening each day:
we'd cut through reins and rider with the pike
and stampede cattle into infantry,
then retreat through hedges
where cavalry must be thrown.
Until . . . on Vinegar Hill . . .
the final conclave.
Terraced thousands died,
shaking scythes at cannon.
The hillside blushed,
soaked in our broken wave.
They buried us
without shroud or coffin
and in August . . .
the barley grew up
out of our grave.

Given a chance, poetry can profoundly affect our lives in three ways: It helps us to see ourselves in a different way; it gets us through difficult times; and it connects us with other people around the world and across the centuries. Plato said, “Poetry is more important than history.” In other words, poetry speaks to issues that are more relevant to us as humans, and speaks in a way that is more meaningful to us, than any history book.

Shelley wrote a short poem that reinforces Plato’s point. In his bleak vision the transience of political power is strongly reinforced, but Shelley’s view of the world tells us that while art outliving politics, even art crumbles with time.

Ozymandias

I met a traveler
from an antique land
who said: `Two vast
and trunk-less legs of stone
stand in the desert.
Near them, on the sand,
half sunk, a shattered
visage lies, whose frown,
and wrinkled lip,
and sneer of cold command,
tell that its sculptor well
those passions read
which yet survive,
stamped on these lifeless things,
the hand that mocked them
and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal
these words appear—
"My name is Ozymandias,
king of kings:
look on my works,
ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains.
Round the decay
of that colossal wreck,
boundless and bare
the lone and level sands
stretch far away.'

So if art outlasts even the most powerful of political power, but even art is subject to the decay of time, then is everything really hopeless in the long run? Perhaps the answer can be found in this little haiku written by Ryusui (translation by Peter Beilenson) in the early 1700’s:

A lost child crying
stumbling over the dark fields . . .
catching fireflies

Perhaps we really are lost children crying while stumbling over dark fields, but at least we can enjoy those momentary flashes of life’s fireflies.
Visit William Roetheim's personal website
Calendar
Performance: Pound
Illuminating Artists Festival
TADA Theatre
15 West 28th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY
www.eatheatre.org
Box office (212) 247-2429
Tickets $10
May 4, 7 PM Performance

Reading: Dickinson
The Studio Theatre in
Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
Free
May 31st, 4:30 PM
(Immediately after "Pound")

Performance: Dickinson
440 Studios
440 Lafayette Street, 3rd floor
New York, NY
www.planetconnectionsfestivity.com
Tickets $18
June 13, 11:00 AM Preview
June 14, 7:00 PM Open
June 15, 8:30 PM
June 17, 4:00 PM
June 19, 8:30 PM
June 20, 1:00 PM

Performance: Pound
The Studio Theatre in
Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
www.ticketcentral.com
Box office 212.714.2442
Tickets $18
Box office 212.714.2442
May 27, 8 PM Preview
May 28, 8 PM Preview
May 29, 8 PM Open
May 30, 8 PM
May 31, 3 PM
June 11, 3:30-6, Tech
June 11, 8 PM
June 12, 8 PM
June 13, 8 PM
June 14, DARK
June 15, DARK
June 16, 7 PM
June 17, 8 PM
June 18, 8 PM
June 19, 8 PM

Performance: Dickinson
North Park Vaudeville
2031 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92104
Tickets $18
619 220 8663 for box office
July 10 - August 2, 2009
Friday/Saturday at 8 PM
Sundays at 2 PM
View our calendar on-line
Awards
THE GIANT BOOK OF POETRY COMPLETE AUDIO EDITION is a finalist for ForeWord Magazine's Audio Book of the Year. The winner of this very prestigious award will be announced during the Book Expo America show in New York City on May 29th.
Fundraising Progress
We are up to $1,961 in our fund raising efforts, so thank you to all of you who have donated. These funds are allowing us to pay a smalll stipend to the actors and crew involved in our productions, something that they very much deserve. We would like to thank the following doners who have recently made donations:

Anonymous
Luke Brown
Jorge Barreto
Jack Webb
Mom and Dad Roetzheim
Alan Stacy
Larry Blasko
Beverly McCabe
Robin Berson
Paul Tayyar
Patricia Cherin
Otto Fox

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. Do you live in either San Diego or New York, and if so, would you be willing to put out postcards somewhere (perhaps where you work) advertising the show?

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!
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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