June 2009 Newsletter
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Winner: Book of the Year
The Book Expo America show was a success. THE GIANT BOOK OF POETRY COMPLETE AUDIO SET won ForeWord magazine's Book of the Year award (Bronze). Perhaps most important, it was a good opportunity to visit with friends in the industry who I only see once per year.
Buy The Giant Book of Poetry Complete Audio Set
Pound a Success, Get Ready for Dickinson
Pound opened at Theatre Row, and the comments have been universally positive. Jeff's ability to morph between characters is amazing, Barbara's lighting design, and Kate's precise timing in operating the board all contribute to a magical experience. The play continues at Theatre Row in NYC between June 11 and 19, then runs at the Midtown International Theatre Festival between July 20 and 26.

Dickinson opens at the Planet Connections Festivity in NYC on June 13 through 20. Dickinson tells the story of the real Emily Dickinson, a drastically different person than you've been told about in the past.

A reading of Eliot, the musical about T.S. Eliot, has been scheduled for 18 July in New York.

Order tickets to Dickinson
Art Show in June
William has an exhibit at the La Jolla Art Association's La Jolla gallery June 8th through 21st. Original drawings prepared as illustrations for his poetry books THOUGHTS I LEFT BEHIND and THE GIANT BOOK OF POETRY will be on display. The gallery address is 8100 Paseo del Ocaso # B, La Jolla, CA.

There will be a wine and cheese reception at the gallery Sunday, June 21st, between 4 and 6 PM. Everyone is invited.
Poems of Ghosts, Evil and Superstition
edited by William Roetzheim
This poetry anthology collects together the poetry of well known and emerging poets, all dealing with various aspects of ghosts, evil, and superstition. The included audio CD contains spoken word versions of selected poems from the book. 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:

Hag

She struck a match to tease a wick,
she hissed out an entire tier
of votive candles; stood witch
in the strychnine darkness cackling

Least, lost in the star-stack
Flick out Earth in a tick
Of its prime, a brief bead
Nicked in the barter of time.

And out of a hooligan sleeve
I swear four thousand fireflies
came pelting the smouldering darkness
with ellipsis anonymity.

She hailed whores in the star-swarm
on an abacus rosary,
filled the holy grail with hearsay,
jammed a needle through a camel’s eye.

Inside

There is a horror growing deep inside
I feel its teeth but cannot see its face
And I must cover it like ancient lace
So it can linger there till I have died

And I must sit for years in simple black
And let it always think that I am kind
And let it slowly feed upon my mind
And feel it waiting there not looking back
Order Poems of Ghosts, Evil and Superstition
Poetry Corner
by William Roetzheim
A Bridge Between Generations

Poetry often deals with issues fundamental to humanity, and because of this it speaks effectively through generations or even centuries. Listen to this translation of a poem by Archilochos, written in roughly 675 BC, as translated from the Latin by Kenneth Rexroth in Poems from the Greek Anthology (1962, Univ. of Michigan Press):

Will, lost in a sea of trouble

Will, lost in a sea of trouble,
rise, save yourself from the whirlpool
of the enemies of willing.
Courage exposes ambushes.
Steadfastness destroys enemies.
Keep your victories hidden.
Do not sulk over defeat.
Accept good. Bend before evil.
Learn the rhythm which binds
all men.

Doesn’t this speak to us today just as well as it spoke to the original audience almost 2,700 years ago? Poetry can be thought of as a message in a bottle, but instead of floating across the ocean to an unknown audience on a distant shore it floats to an unknown audience across time. Here’s a scrap I pulled from a bottle that was tossed into the waves of time by John Keats:

This living hand,
now warm and capable
of earnest grasping, would,
if it were cold
and in the icy silence of the tomb,
so haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
that thou wouldst wish
thine own heart dry of blood
so in my veins red life
might stream again,
and thou be conscience-calmed—see here it is—
I hold it towards you.

We all have a desire to see something of ourselves surviving our death here on earth. No-one wants to imagine their life ending without rippling the surface of society, their collections sold in garage sales, their accumulated skills and knowledge of a lifetime forgotten. In many ways, it must have been reassuring to live in an era when children followed in the footsteps of their parent’s occupation, assumed ownership of the family home, and provided continuity between generations. Here’s a poem from my book Thoughts I Left Behind (2006, Level 4 Press, Inc.) that speaks to this very issue.

Grandpa Roetzheim

Grandpa was a carpenter,
like all the Roetzheim’s back in Germany—
generation upon generation.
A beam extended there from birth,
to tell you who and what you were,
the plane on which you built
your life.
But Dad refused

and sought a different level—
so Grandpa saw
their paths diverge,
a bevel pointing out, away.
So Grandpa shrugged
then hammered out a book,
hand drawn with notes,
enamored with the thought
of propagating skills
for future Roetzheim carpenters.

His drills and other tools
were stored inside,
the handmade chest locked tight,
and pushed toward those future
generations. Like a joist
it crossed two worlds,
supporting hopes unvoiced
but locked within the frame
of leather bound dreams.

I’m not a carpenter,
but found the trunk and thought I saw a sinking ark
of wood and nails, old things
shrinking slowly.
I passed it to my son,
but kept the book.
He sold the tools,
that is except a few
on kitchen walls,
and yesterday I cleaned my house
and found to my dismay
I’d lost the manuscript,
and now my Grandpa’s hopes
are gone.

Perhaps the same thing that compels us to carve our initials into a tree or write our name on a wall compels us to write poetry, to prove to the universe that we were really here. Let’s end this week with with a 6,000 year old poem, consisting of some graffiti carved by a princess onto the wall of a temple in Babylon in roughly 4,000 BC just as her kingdom was overthrown and she was forced to flee into the desert:

Ishtar

The unconsecrated foe
entered my courts,
placed his unwashed hands
upon me,
and caused me to tremble.
Putting forth his hand
He smote me with fear.

He tore away my robe
and clothed his wife therein;
he stripped off my jewels
and placed them upon his daughter.

Like a quivering dove upon a beam
I sat.
Like a fleeing bird from my cranny
swiftly I passed

from my temple.
Like a bird
they caused me to fly.
Visit William Roetheim's personal website
Calendar
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
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

Midtown International Theatre
Festival
Workshop Jewel Theater
312 West 36th Street
Fourth Floor East
New York, NY 10018
www.ovationtix.com
Tickets $18
July 20, 8:30 PM Open
July 21, 6:30 PM
July 22, 5 PM
July 24, 9 PM
July 25, 7 PM
July 26, 4 PM
View our calendar on-line
Awards
THE GIANT BOOK OF POETRY COMPLETE AUDIO EDITION won ForeWord magazine's Book of the Year Award.
Fundraising Progress
Still looking for groups to attend Dickinson and Pound, either in New York or in July.
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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