Sunday, December 27, 2009

178) plays

the literary life 12/27/09

I'm really into plays. I love reading them, watching them, and teaching them. I love Shakespeare and Miller and Beckett. They offer so much entertainment and fun. Yet they get at the heart of human experience. Yesterday I read David Auburn's play, PROOF, for the first time. I've seen the movie a few times, and I was curious about a script that begins as a play and ends up as a film (like the movie, Doubt).

Poetry and plays are linked in some ways, and the most primary commonality might be that both are examples of the world's oldest forms of writing. Also, both are connected to religion and ritual in some way. The ancient Greeks, for instance, performed drama as a form of religious spectacle. Sophocles wrote plays in poetry. The genres overlap. And poetry has its roots in prayer. Both plays and poetry can be an expression of intensity, a form of engagement with the human drama.

So hey, poets, why not read a play if it's been while? Think about what this genre has in common with poetry, how it can inform the way you read, write, and speak poetry...

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