"Dickinson: The Secret Story of Emily Dickinson" moved to
the North Park Vaudeville theatre in San Diego, where it played July 23rd
through August 7th. All of the shows thus far have been sold out, and it's
my understanding that the last two shows are also sold out but if you want
to see it, call the box office at 619 220 8663 to see if any last minute
seats open up due to cancellations.
The show was featured for a 20 minute segment on KPBS at the San
Diego NPR station. Listen to the interview by clicking the link below.
It was heavily reviewed, and the opinions were universally
San Diego Theatre Scene, Jenni Prisk: Must See. You may not be
lucky enough to see the enigmatic Dickinson [because all] performances are
sold out. However, I would still call the Theatre to see if you can get
in!...Roetzheim, a local playwright, has penned a perceptive 75-minute play
about a woman who spends her life in her room, and for a brief moment, we
are given the key to that room and allowed to explore its darkness and its
light. Al Germani’s direction is insightful and creative.
San Diego News Network: Rhianna Basore is spellbinding as the poet,
showing sparks of anger, jealousy, passion, hysteria and depression. It’s
a stunning performance. Al Germani directs with precision, keeping the
intensity high, as we watch the tortured woman whirl through the disturbing
details of her life.
San Diego Magazine: ...the play offer[s] a characterization of the
poet as a fully dimensional woman, not just the ethereal, troubled spirit
most often described in history books. She’s intellectual and dreamy,
sure, but she’s also flirtatious, romantic and childlike as well as sad,
angry and fatalistic.
San Diego Uptown News: What patrons witness is a play as puzzling,
frustrating and fragmented, and every bit as fascinating as the poet, her
life and her poetry. It’s an unsettling evening and that is the point.
Gay and Lesbian Times: This is right up psychotherapist Germani’s
alley, and he makes the most of his fascinating subject, staging it as a
chamber piece, which keeps the audience’s attention on Emily and the
Playwright...It’s a highly recommended outing.
San Diego Reader: Using Dickinson's own words, playwright Roetzheim
runs circles around these facile reductions. Emily Dickinson contained more
"multitudes" than Whitman. Worth a try.
Listen to the interview on KPBS (NPR
"Pound: The Poet on Trial" closed after a successful run
as part of the Midtown International Theatre Fesival. While there were
critics in attendance, none of their reviews have been published yet so
we'll need to wait until next month to see what they thought. But
audiences were enthusiastic, producers I know who attended had high praise,
and Jeff seems to have really gotten the role down perfectly.
The next step for Pound is to find regional theatres we can partner
with to tour Pound. Jeff, supported by our stage manager Kate to operate
lights, will perform the show around the country for weekend special runs.
American International Theater, Inc will partner with the regional theaters
involved on a revenue sharing basis. Because the show requires no set and
minimal props, it can easily run for a weekend between other shows during
the regular season of a regional company.
|By William I.
William I. Elliott first arrived in Japan in 1960
to teach literature at Kanto Gakuin University. He
has published seven books of poems and has
co-translated twenty-five volumes of Japanese poetry,
both ancient and modern. Awards include the
TSL-sponsored Sasagawa Prize for Selected Poems
of Shuntaro Tanikawa (Carcanet and Persea) and
an American Book Award for the translation of
Floating the River in Melancholy (Prescott Street Press).
There is a dark deeper
Than shadows’ darkness:
Remember the air
Blanketing the pages
In a closed book, where
Darkness is utter.
What Distance Grew
Above the vacant lot streetlights arranged
The night in floating parallelograms;
Light licked along the wires, our voices
Greeted there and quarreled horizontally
Between embarrassed poles, beyond the lights’
Dominion. Beside a lake, above a hill,
Ravens wrapped their claws around our costly
Quarreling and never knew what distance
Grew within their tight objective grasp.
A covey of quail
Flushed from my brain
Flutter to new cover
Here in the bramble of a poem,
The last piece of the puzzle
Has fallen into place, thumbed
Into the one
The oddest piece of the lot,
The oddest piece of the oddest puzzle;
This piece a part of its sum, the puzzle undone
Until this piece has been placed.
And placed, all pieces in place,
It remains a puzzle,
This puzzle being, in pieces,
Or all pieces placed,
But a puzzle:
| by William
Rhyme and Sound in Poetry
Most of our exposure to poetry involves poetry that includes rhymes.
This includes virtually all children’s poetry, most poetic song lyrics,
and much classical poetry. This attention to words that sound similar is
still an important part of most poetry today, although the definition of
“similar” has loosened up quite a bit. Let’s start by looking at a
classical rhyming poem written by Robert Greene in the late 1500s.
Sweet are the thoughts that savor of content;
the quiet mind is richer than a crown;
sweet are the nights in careless slumber spent;
the poor estate scorns Fortune's angry frown.
Such sweet content, such minds, such sleep, such bliss,
beggars enjoy, when princes oft do miss.
The homely house that harbors quiet rest;
the cottage that affords no pride nor care;
the mean that 'grees with country music best;
the sweet consort of mirth and music's fare;
obscured life sets down a type of bliss:
a mind content both crown and kingdom is.
The rhymes are emphasized here because they appear at the end of
each line. One way to make the rhymes less predictable, both more
surprising and more subtle, is to have them appear embedded within the
sentences rather than at the end. For example, listen to the embedded
rhymes in this fragment from my poem “Fertility Doll” in Thoughts I
Left Behind (2006, Level 4 Press, Inc.):
. . . And then the breathless call
when Hi’iaka had the same results
for Betty Lou,
after four years of trying,
crying, clinics too.
But now my laughing
wasn’t easy, now I found that I
when I thought of Hi’iaka’s
watching with those eyes
that seemed to glow.
I know, I know she’s just
a doll and not a god . . .
Emily Dickinson was a pioneer in the use of words that almost
rhymed, but did not meet the definition of perfect rhymes. She called
these “slant rhymes,” and early editors sometimes tried to
“correct” her poems to insert words that had a more perfect rhyme. For
example, look at the end words of her poem number 67, a short piece about
the fate of intentions never carried out, to see if you can spot the slant
A deed knocks first at thought,
and then it knocks at will.
That is the manufacturing spot,
and will at home and well.
It then goes out an act,
or is entombed so still
that only to the ear of God
its doom is audible.
Even the poets of the twentieth century who turned their back on
rhyme sometimes paid careful attention to the sound of words in their
poetry. For example, they will repeat a specific sound of speech. Listen
to the first two sentences of the poem “Maroon” by Stuart Dybek to see
if you can guess the consonant sound that is repeated:
A boy is bouncing a ball off a brick wall after school. The bricks
have been painted maroon a long time ago.
If you guessed “b,” you win a kewpie doll. Stuart’s almost
rhythmic use of the “b” sound does a good job of creating the vocal
equivalent of a ball bouncing off a wall.
Another way sounds are used is to select words that sound like the
sound they represent. Listen to this sentence from Robert Frost’s poem
“Out, Out—“ in which he is describing a saw cutting wood.
And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
as it ran light,
or had to bear a load.
And finally, poets will sometimes even make up words to represent
the sounds they want to create, as in this poem by Amiri Baraka.
WHYS (Nobody Knows
The Trouble I Seen)
If you ever find
yourself, some where
lost and surrounded
who won't let you
speak in your own language
who destroy your statues
& instruments, who ban
your omm bomm ba boom
then you are in trouble
they ban your
own boom ba boom
you in deep deep
probably take you several hundred years
Roetheim's personal website
North Park Vaudeville
2031 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92104
619 220 8663 for box office
July 23 - August 7, 2009
Friday/Saturday at 8 PM
Sundays at 2 PM
our calendar on-line
Looking for regional theatres who would like to partner
with us to bring in Pound, performed by the original New York actor Jeff
Berg, for a weekend on a revenue sharing basis.
Make a donation