September 2009 Newsletter
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Update on Plays
Dickinson finished its San Diego run with sold out houses until the last performance.

Pound finished its run as part of the Midtown International Theater Festival.

Bonzo had its first reading in San Diego.

We're now looking for regional theaters that would like to have Jeff come in as a visiting artist for a weekend to perform Pound.
Journey in Flagrante
By Patricia Cherin
This book selects and organizes a lifetime of poetry by noted poet Patricia Cherin, of the Long Beach school of poetry.

Patricia’s Cherin’s Journey in Flagrante is pure delight, pure affirmation, its poems expansive in their openness and generous in their accessibility. This is a book you will savor, and one you will find your way back to time and time again, its compass always pointing the way home.
—Robert Hedin

Interior balloon

To keep the spirits up
I inflate myself at breakfast
wheeling in the helium tank
with the morning paper

I blow myself up
to speak on register
breathing within breath
purposeful pants
little mantras willing cells
to carry on

all day I chase
the red balloon
inside me
dear scarlet orb
slowly leaking

The poems of Patricia Cherin are an amalgam of innate eloquence, an endearing flamboyance of personality, an 18th century quickness of wit, a 19th century emotional depth, doctoral study in literature and literary theory, extensive travel, and her deep love for and sense of responsibility to her family and friends.
—Gerald Locklin

Dante’s woods

I’ve been walking in
Dante’s dark woods lately
they are Hester Prynne’s woods too
and Red Riding Hood’s

the tall trees make the going through
the seeing ahead or around
or even behind difficult

the foliate heaven is immediate
and obscurant and presses down
as the verdant mulchy floor bears up

it is not however claustrophobic
but oddly comforting
if not exactly liberatory
it is wonderfully and historically
rich with precedent, dearly familiar

This is poetry of moments captured, split photographic seconds of held air where the poet holds the bubble of time/space up to us and says, I give you this moment of wild flight, of suspense, of clarity. The language breathes simply as we read, and so do we.
—Kate Gale, Managing Editor, Red Hen Press
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Poetry Corner
by William Roetzheim
Images in Poetry

While modern poetry has often turned its back on the musicality of poetry, and to a lesser extent has sometimes neglected poetry as a form of story telling, one area where modern poetry shines is with respect to imagery. The ability to turn words into mental images is an important part of all forms of writing, but nowhere else is this skill as developed as in poetry. This week let’s explore poems covering each of the five senses, beginning with the first two stanzas of the poem “Patterns” by Amy Lowell. Reading the first stanza, notice the visual picture that is created.

I walk down the garden-paths,
and all the daffodils
are blowing,
and the bright blue squills.
I walk
down the patterned garden-paths
in my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair
and jeweled fan,
I too am a rare
pattern. As I wander down
the garden-paths.
My dress is richly figured,
and the train
makes a pink and silver stain
on the gravel, and the thrift
of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
tripping by in high-heeled,
ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
only whalebone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
of a lime tree. For my passion
wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
flutter in the breeze
as they please.
And I weep;
for the lime-tree is in blossom
and one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.

Now notice how the sense of hearing and touch are brought into the second stanza.

And the splashing of waterdrops
in the marble fountain
comes down the garden-paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
is the softness of a woman
bathing in a marble basin,
a basin in the midst of hedges grown
so thick,
she cannot see her lover hiding,
but she guesses he is near,
and the sliding of the water
seems the stroking of a dear
hand upon her.
What is Summer
in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it
lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled
up on the ground.

I’ll let you discover on your own the tragic ending to this poem. So in this one poem Amy managed to bring in sight, sound, and even touch. Wow! Doesn’t that help the poem create wonderfully vivid images in your mind?

Here’s a poem with an emphasis on taste by Li-Young Lee from his book Rose (1986, BOA Editions, Ltd.):

Eating Together

In the steamer is the trout
seasoned with slivers of ginger,
two sprigs of green onion,
and sesame oil.
We shall eat it with rice for lunch,
brothers, sister, my mother who will
taste the sweetest meat of the head,
holding it between her fingers
deftly, the way my father did
weeks ago. Then he lay down
to sleep like a snow-covered road
winding through pines older than him,
without any travelers, and lonely for no one.

And finally, we’ll wrap up the five senses by looking at the sense of smell in extracts from a poem called “Onions” by William Matthews (Collected Poems, 2004, Houghton Mifflin Company).

How easily happiness begins by
dicing onions.
A lump of sweet butter
slithers and swirls across the floor
of the sauté pan, especially if its
errant path crosses a tiny stick
of olive oil. Then a tumble of onions.

. . .

It’s true it can make you weep
to peel them. . . you can go on
in to the core, the bud-like,
acrid, fibrous skins densely
clustered there, stalky
and incomplete, and these are the most
pungent, like the nuggets of nightmare

and rage and murmury animal
comfort that infant humans secrete.

This is the best domestic perfume.
You sit down to eat with a rumor
of onions still on your twice-washed
hands and lift to your mouth a hint

of a story about loam and usual
endurance.
It’s there when you clean up
and rinse the wine glasses and make
a joke, and you leave the minutest
whiff of it on the light switch,
later, when you climb the stairs.
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Fundraising Progress
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 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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