Thursday, April 16, 2009

Even Now There's a World "Next To Normal"

New York Times - Theater

"Fragmented Psyches, Uncomfortable Emotions: Sing Out!"

Published: April 16, 2009

No show on Broadway right now makes as direct a grab for the heart — or wrings it as thoroughly — as “Next to Normal” does. This brave, breathtaking musical, which opened Wednesday night at the Booth Theater, focuses squarely on the pain that cripples the members of a suburban family, and never for a minute does it let you escape the anguish at the core of their lives.

“Next to Normal” does not, in other words, qualify as your standard feel-good musical. Instead this portrait of a manic-depressive mother and the people she loves and damages is something much more: a feel-everything musical, which asks you, with operatic force, to discover the liberation in knowing where it hurts.

Audio Slide Show (Recommended)
Video/Songs (My pick: "I Am The One")

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Anguish of Fate - Pierre Reverdy & the Rise of the Avante-Garde

A brief introduction:

Reverdy became known in literary circles, frequenting the avant-garde group consisting of such wellknown artists and writers as Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, and Georges Braque. With these and other artists, Reverdy helped develop cubism and surrealism. In 1917 he founded the monthly literary review, Nord-Sud, which drew together the first cubists and surrealists. The review featured many innovative authors, including Apollinaire, Jacob, Louis Aragon, Andre Breton, and Philippe Soupault. (Read More)

Suggested Poems:

Image: Promotional Still from Robert Florey's 1927 film Love of Zero

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Robert Sward - The Kite


I still heard Auntie Blue
After she did not want to come down
Again: she was skypaper, way up
Too high to pull down. The wind
Liked her a lot and she was lots of noise
And sky on the end of the string:
And the string jumped hard all of a sudden,
And the sky never even breathed,
But was like it always was, slow and close
Far-away blue, like poor dead Uncle Blue.

Auntie Blue was gone, and I could not
Think of her face; and the string fell down
Slowly for a long time. I was afraid to pull it
Down. Auntie Blue was in the sky,
Just like God. It was not my birthday
Anymore: and everybody knew, and dug
A hole, and put a stone on it
Next to Uncle Blue's stone and he died
Before I was even born; and it was too bad
It was so hard to pull her down; and flowers.


Letter – April 4, 2009

Funny that I cannot recall how I stumbled upon that web page [where I first read "The Kite"]. What I remember is being so enthralled that I immediately emailed the link to another poet-friend of mine recommending that he read your work. He, too, discovered what I had, and we spent a portion of a lengthy afternoon conversation discussing the potency of these lines:
Auntie Blue was gone, and I could not
Think of her face; and the string fell down
Slowly for a long time.
Especially when framed against the last:
It was so hard to pull her down; and flowers.
Your poems, in my view, seem to naturally prevail in that fundamental movement Jean-Michel Maulpois ascribed so eloquently in Modern French Literature to "Grand Vent," a poem by Jacques Dupin; i.e., "To move painfully towards the highest which is also the emptiest, to direct oneself towards the scarce, the rare, nay, the unbreathable. The purpose is to climb towards an air burrow or a kind of open sky deposit where the inside of man himself up there, very high, becomes a landscape where the obscure and the secret unfold in light."


Bibliographic Sources & Useful Links:

"The Kite", Robert Sward copyright (c) 2003, "Four Incarnations, New & Selected Poems," Coffee House Press, second printing.

"Collected Poems, 1957-2004," Black Moss Press.

Learn More:
The Red Room – Robert Sward