Thursday, March 26, 2009

Plays & Poetry

I think plays and poetry are more akin to each other than to other writerly arts.  They don't look similar at first glance.  One is short, and meant to be read and pondered, maybe out loud, but maybe not.  The other is often longer, meant to be performed...  Poems are most often a single voice, plays are most often a concert of voices.  Poems have a narrative voice (sometimes), plays have a narrative voice seldom.


Both plays and poetry have a particular appreciation of the sounds of words.  At their best, there is something spare and specific about them -- even in the voluptuous words of Tennessee Williams or August Wilson, it feels like not a word is wasted, and you can't help but read their words out loud, they are irresistible to the tongue.

I also feel like there is a similar sense of surprise and free association in a good play and a good poem -- a shock that we've gone from here to there in an instant, but... why not?  Each is in the moment.  Now.  Anything can happen.

Reading a bit of Stephen Dunn now.  Not bad poetry at all.  Just finished a play by Stephen Dietz (it's Stephen week, apparently) called "God's Country," which was about white supremecists in Washington state.  People who think god is on their side are scary....

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