(It's dramaturgy, not thaumaturgy.)
Main Entry: thau·ma·turg
Etymology: French, from New Latin thaumaturgus, from Greek thaumatourgos working miracles, from thaumat-, thauma miracle + ergon work — more at Theater, Work
The official blog of the Dramaturgy Department at Baltimore's CENTERSTAGE. For posts related to our current and upcoming shows, click the links to the right. Alternatively, you could begin at the beginning, and explore our posts in chronological order.
"If a poet determines that a poem should begin at point A and conclude at point D, say, the mystery of how to get there—how to pass felicitously through points B and C—strikes me as an artistic task both genuine and enlivening. There are fertile mysteries of transition, no less than of termination."
— Brad Leithauser on reading poems backward: http://nyr.kr/12jRWsX
Photograph of Robert Frost by Marvin Koner/Corbis.
Applicable to theater?
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
"Let American Be America Again" by Langston Hughes
- prepping lobby quotes for the RAISIN CYCLE, rep productions of Clybourne Park and the world premiere of Beneatha’s Place.
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
Wise I, by Amiri Baraka
Walt Whitman-Poet and Civil War Nurse- Photographed in 1851
He first became aware of the plight of the wounded soldier when his younger brother George Whitman was wounded in at the Battle of Fredericksburg. He hastened to the battlefield to find him. Then for three years Walt spent much of his time as a nurse.
According to most Civil War accounts the male nurse ratio to that of women nurses was five to one.
“From the stump of the arm, the amputated hand,
I undo the clotted lint, remove the slough, wash off the matter
Back on his pillow the soldier blends with curv’d neck and side-
His eyes are closed, his face is pale, he dares not look on the
And has not yet look’d on it.”
—- Walt Whitman: in “Leaves of Grass,” 1897.
Whitman wrote a letter to friends in New York, saying:
“These thousands, and tens and twenties of thousands of American young men, badly wounded, all sorts of wounds, operated on, pallid with diarrhea, languishing, dying with fever, pneumonia, &c. open a new world somehow to me, giving closer insights, new things, exploring deeper mines than any yet, showing our humanity…For here I see, not at intervals, but quite always, how certain, man, our American man—how he holds himself cool and unquestioned master above all pains and bloody mutilations. It is immense, the best thing of all, nourishes me of all men.”
From haunt of man, from day’s obtrusive glare,
Thou shroud’st thee in the ruin’s ivied tower,
Or in some shadowy glen’s romantic bower,
Where wizard forms their mystic charms prepare,
Where horror lurks, and ever-boding care!
But, at the sweet and silent evening hour,
When closed in sleep is every languid flower,
Thou lov’st to sport upon the twilight air,
Mocking the eye, that would thy course pursue,
In many a wanton-round, elastic, gay,
Thou flitt’st athwart the pensive wanderer’s way,
As his lone footsteps print the mountain-dew.
From Indian isles thou com’st, with summer’s car,
Twilight thy love—thy guide her beaming star!
“To the Bat” by Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823)
in honor of current production of #CSPoe
“Poe’s verses illustrate an intense faculty for technical and abstract beauty, with the rhyming art to excess, an incorrigible propensity toward nocturnal themes, a demoniac undertone behind every page—and, by final judgment, probably belong among the electric lights of imaginative literature, brilliant and dazzling, but with no heat.”
‘For a long while, and until lately, I had a distaste for Poe’s writings. I wanted, and still want for poetry, the clear sun shining, and fresh air blowing—the strength and power of health, not of delirium, even amid the stormiest passions—with always the background of the eternal moralities. Non-complying with these requirements, Poe’s genius has yet conquer’d a special recognition for itself, and I too have come to fully admit it, and appreciate it and him.
“‘In a dream I once had, I saw a vessel on the sea, at midnight, in a storm. It was no great full-rigg’d ship, nor majestic steamer, steering firmly through the gale, but seem’d one of those superb little schooner yachts I had often seen lying anchor’d, rocking so jauntily, in the waters around New York, or up Long Island sound—now flying uncontroll’d with torn sails and broken spars through the wild sleet and winds and waves of the night. On the deck was a slender, slight, beautiful figure, a dim man, apparently enjoying all the terror, the murk, and the dislocation of which he was the centre and the victim. That figure of my lurid dream might stand for Edgar Poe, his spirit, his fortunes, and his poems—themselves all lurid dreams.’”
Walt Whitman on Edgar Allan Poe
Come, rest in this bosom, my own stricken deer, Though the herd have fled from thee, thy home is still here: Here still is the smile that no cloud can o’ercast, And the heart and the hand all thy own to the last. Oh! what was love made for, if ‘tis not the same Through joy and through torments, through glory and shame! I knew not, I ask not if guilt’s in that heart, I but know that I love thee, whatever thou art! Thou hast call’d me thy angel, in moments of bliss, — Sill thy Angel I’ll be, ‘mid the horrors of this, — Through the furnace, unshrinking, thy steps to pursue, And shield thee, and save thee, or perish there too!
Thomas Moore (1779-1852)
Lyrics for what was, allegedly, Poe’s favorite song.
My days among the Dead are passed; Around me I behold, Where’er these casual eyes are cast, The mighty minds of old: My never-failing friends are they, With whom I converse day by day. With them I take delight in weal, And seek relief in woe; And while I understand and feel How much to them I owe, My cheeks have often been bedewed With tears of thoughtful gratitude. My thoughts are with the Dead; with them I live in long-past years, Their virtues love, their faults condemn, Partake their hopes and fears; And from their lessons seek and find Instruction with an humble mind. My hopes are with the Dead; anon My place with them will be, And I with them shall travel on Through all Futurity; Yet leaving here a name, I trust, That will not perish in the dust.
Robert Southey, “My Days among the Dead Are Passed”
More of the poetic exploration of art and (im)mortality in which this production of POE traffics.
What time the mighty moon was gathering light Love paced the thymy plots of Paradise, And all about him roll’d his lustrous eyes; When, turning round a cassia, full in view, Death, walking all alone beneath a yew, And talking to himself, first met his sight. ‘You must begone,’ said Death, ‘these walks are mine.’ Love wept and spread his sheeny vans for flight; Yet ere he parted said, ‘This hour is thine: Thou art the shadow of life, and as the tree Stands in the sun and shadows all beneath, So in the light of great eternity Life eminent creates the shade of death. The shadow passeth when the tree shall fall, But I shall reign for ever over all.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Love and Death”
Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence– whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does not spring from disease of thought– from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.
~Edgar Allan Poe, “Eleonora”
The object, Truth, or the satisfaction of the intellect, and the object, Passion, or the excitement of the heart, are, although attainable, to a certain extent, in poetry, far more readily attainable in prose.
~Edgar Allan Poe, The Philosophy of Composition
Poe’s verses illustrate an intense faculty for technical and abstract beauty, with the rhyming art to excess, an incorrigible propensity toward nocturnal themes, a demoniac undertone behind every page. … There is an indescribable magnetism about the poet’s life and reminiscences, as well as the poems.
The Great Poe Debate:
Now, that the 200th anniversary of his birth (Jan. 19, 2009) has passed, three cities – Boston, Baltimore and Philadelphia — are battling to claim him, not just with competing bicentennial events but with a spirited and mostly good-humored debate over who has the greatest right to his legacy. For a poet and short-story writer devoted to elegy and horror, a man whose great subject was death, such posthumous popularity is rich in irony. But the debate also raises some serious questions – about what constitutes a literary blood tie, and why claims of legacy should matter centuries later.
The Great Poe Debate - Obit Magazine
Happy Birthday, Maya Angelou.
In 1997 LIFE asked the writer and poet Maya Angelou if she would consider writing on the topic of heroes and heroism for the magazine. Below are the two concluding stanzas.
These mothers, fathers, pastors and priests,
These Rabbis, imams and gurus,
Teach us by their valor and mold us with their courage.
Without their fierce devotion
We are only forlorn and only fragile
Stumbling briefly, among the stars.
Maya Angelou, “Extravagant Spirits”