November 2009 Newsletter
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Update on Plays
The performance schedule for New York has been finalized. All performances will be at the Grand Theater located at 358 West 44TH ST, New York, NY. Because of the timely nature of the material covered, N.I.C.E. will be performed instead of Bonzo.

Dickinson: The Secret Story of Emily Dickinson will return to NYC and run:
Tuesday, June 01, 2010, 8:00 PM
Thursday, June 03, 2010, 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 05, 2010, 8:00 PM
Wednesday, June 09, 2010, 2:00 PM
Friday, June 11, 2010, 8:00 PM
Sunday, June 13, 2010, 3:00 PM
Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 19, 2010, 2:00 PM

T.S. Eliot: A new musical about the famed poet, will run:
Tuesday, June 01, 2010, 8:00 PM
Thursday, June 03, 2010, 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 05, 2010, 8:00 PM
Wednesday, June 09, 2010, 2:00 PM
Friday, June 11, 2010, 8:00 PM
Sunday, June 13, 2010, 3:00 PM
Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 19, 2010, 2:00 PM

N.I.C.E., a play about life, death, and nationalized health care, will run:

Wednesday, June 02, 2010, 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 05, 2010, 2:00 PM
Tuesday, June 08, 2010, 8:00 PM
Thursday, June 10, 2010, 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 12, 2010, 8:00 PM
Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 2:00 PM
Friday, June 18, 2010, 8:00 PM
Sunday, June 20, 2010, 3:00 PM

Auditions have been scheduled for Wednesday, May 5th with callbacks on Thursday, May 6th. We'll be setting up audition schedules when those dates are closer. We're currently looking for all back-stage skills (set design, set construction, stage managers, etc., etc.) so if you are involved in theater and you'd like to participate, send an email to william@aitheater.org.
The Giant Book of Poetry Leather Edition
The limited edition, leather bound version of THE GIANT BOOK OF POETRY is now available for $29.95, just in time for Christmas. This beautiful edition features hubbed spine, gold accents, gilded page ends, satin ribbon, moiré fabric endsheets, and illustrations. But order it soon because once the limited edition sells out, there won't be any more.
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Poetry Corner
by William Roetzheim
Poets Look at War

Poets today tend toward the pacifist side when it comes to war, but it wasn’t always that way. Recall poems such as “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, with it’s rousing stanzas such as:

Half a league, half a league,
half a league onward,
all in the valley of Death
rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!' he said:
into the valley of Death
rode the six hundred.

or that elementary school teacher favorite by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” more properly but less descriptively called “The Landlord’s Tale.” It starts out:

Listen, my children,
and you shall hear
of the midnight ride
of Paul Revere,
on the eighteenth of April,
in Seventy-five;
hardly a man is now alive
who remembers that famous
day and year.

Poems glorifying war and dying for one’s country have gone out of fashion (many would add, “thank goodness”). Can you imagine a poet today writing a poem such as Rupert Brooke’s “The Soldier”, which begins:

If I should die, think only this of me:
that there's some corner
of a foreign field
that is for ever England. There shall be
in that rich earth
a richer dust concealed;
a dust whom England bore,
shaped, made aware,
gave, once, her flowers to love,
her ways to roam,
a body of England's,
breathing English air,
washed by the rivers,
blest by suns of home.

The idea that death with honor was preferable to ignoble life was perhaps best captured by Richard Lovelace’s poem “To Lucasta, On Going to the Wars,” first published in the early 1600s.

Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
that from the nunnery
of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
to war and arms I fly.

True, a new mistress now I chase,
the first foe in the field;
and with a stronger faith embrace
a sword, a horse, a shield.

Yet this inconstancy is such
as thou, too, shalt adore;
I could not love thee,
Dear, so much,
loved I not Honor more.

Today, poets often look through the armor of “honor, duty, country” to the soft underbelly of war. Listen to Kate Clanchy’s take on this in her poem “War Poetry” from Samarkand (Macmillan Company).

The class has dropped its books.
The janitor’s
disturbed some wasps,
broomed the nest
straight off the roof.
It lies outside, exotic
as a fallen planet,
a burst city of the poor;
its newsprint halls,
its ashen, tiny rooms
all open to the air. The insects’ buzz
is low-key as a smart machine.
They group,
regroup, in stacks and coils, advance
and cross like pulsing points
on radar screens.

And though the boys
have shaven heads
and football strips, and would,
they swear,
enlist at once, given half a chance,
march down Owen’s darkening lanes
to join the lads and stuff the Boche—
they don’t rush out to pike the nest,
or lap the yard with grapeshot faces.
They watch the wasps through glass,
silently, abashed, the way we all watch war.

There are a few terms in this poem that you might not be familiar with. “Football strips” is an English way of saying soccer uniforms, “Owen” was a World War One war poet, “Boche” is a derogatory phrase for Germans, “pike” is a long spear, and “grapeshot” are small iron balls used in cannons.
Perhaps most of the participants in a war are innocent civilians who are caught in a current that sweeps them along, with no power to control the direction the current takes them. Listen to Izet Sarajlic’s poem “Luck in Sarajevo,” as translated from the Serbo-Croat by Charles Simic in his book Scar on the Stone: Contemporary Poetry of Bosnia (Bloodaxe Books):

In Sarajevo
in the Spring of 1992,
everything is possible:

you go stand in a bread line
and end up in an emergency room
with your leg amputated.

Afterwards, you still maintain
that you were very lucky.

This poem applies equally well to places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel because it speaks to the random violence of war, and of the human spirit rising above the turmoil.
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Calendar
Dickinson
The Grand Theatre
358 West 44TH ST
New York, NY 10036
Tuesday, June 01, 2010, 8:00 PM
Thursday, June 03, 2010, 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 05, 2010, 8:00 PM
Wednesday, June 09, 2010, 2:00 PM
Friday, June 11, 2010, 8:00 PM
Sunday, June 13, 2010, 3:00 PM
Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 19, 2010, 2:00 PM

T.S. Eliot
The Grand Theatre
358 West 44TH ST
New York, NY 10036
Tuesday, June 01, 2010, 8:00 PM
Thursday, June 03, 2010, 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 05, 2010, 8:00 PM
Wednesday, June 09, 2010, 2:00 PM
Friday, June 11, 2010, 8:00 PM
Sunday, June 13, 2010, 3:00 PM
Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 19, 2010, 2:00 PM

N.I.C.E.
The Grand Theatre
358 West 44TH ST
New York, NY 10036
Wednesday, June 02, 2010, 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 05, 2010, 2:00 PM
Tuesday, June 08, 2010, 8:00 PM
Thursday, June 10, 2010, 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 12, 2010, 8:00 PM
Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 2:00 PM
Friday, June 18, 2010, 8:00 PM
Sunday, June 20, 2010, 3:00 PM
View our calendar on-line
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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