POETRY, DANCE, & THE PATTERNED GLORY OF THE UNIVERSE
Grace Church Congregational
11 March 2012
All photos in this post are by Carole Quinn
demonstration of "The Duke of Kent's Waltz"
This was a variation of the third reading I gave, and was by far the most fun of all I've done yet! Thank you to all the wonderful people who came to see me, listen, read, talk, sing, dance, & eat! Some of you I hadn't seen for twenty years or more. And you were all really fun audience members!
Seriously, this crowd was the most in-tune with my reading: laughing, sighing, groaning, and exclaiming at all the right moments. I felt you were all on the edge of your seats, taking in every word, understanding, pondering, applying all I shared.
There were a couple of stellar moments I really need to share so that those who did not attend can experience this, and so that those who did can re-live the best times! The first was the fact that three young people volunteered, at the last minute, to join me in learning & performing a dance demonstration. Here we are learning "The Duke of Kent's Waltz":
The next marvelous thing was that our own lovely violinist, Betty Barbour, offered to play prelude music to us. She even chose Bach and other Baroque piece that fit my theme for the evening:
I. POETRY READING FROM CADUCEUS
OK, so then after the musical prelude, I read from the book. As at Living Hope Church, here agian I naturally chose the most obviously theological poems from my collection. I began, as usual, with "Dramatis Personae." Then I read “Idol-Making, ” “Sounds of the Sculptor,” “Cosmology,” “Presence,” and “Communion.”
Then I pulled out my old powerpoint with lovely photographs to go with the seven-poem series “The Voice of God.” You can view the powerpoint here by scrolling down and opening the .pdf file.
I ended that section with “On Patmos,” a meditative sønnet in the voice of the Apostle John.
II. DISCUSSION & DEMONSTRATION OF METER, MUSIC, & FORM/PATTERN
Then things livened up even more than they usually do at this point! I began talking about meter in poetry, & the whole audience clapped along with the meter of “Sir Patrick Spens.” Then I talked about how meter calmed down a bit by Shakespeare's time (although actors probably accentuated the iambic pentameter in a way that would sound “artificial” to our 21st-century ears).
Then I shared about the musical pitch-scale of vowels, the psychological effects of various sounds, and the emotional content associated with poetic forms. And THEN, my wildly talented, hard-working, opera-singer, coloratura Mezzo-Soprano sister NADINE KULBERG performed a Rondo (Rondeau) to fit the theme about poetic forms. She sang "Che farò senza Euridice" by Gluck, explaining how the repetitive form expresses the character's grief. Her explanation alone was enough to bring tears to my eyes, never mind once she began to sing!
It was glory personified.
Finally, as a visual demonstration of poetic form, Nadine and Betty volunteered to read my villanelle, "Wanderlust," with me with the choreography.
III. A DANCE and/or A DANCE DEMONSTRATION
Now, I didn't cart Betsy Gahman along with me to call English Country Dances, so I got by on my own, along with the three marvelous volunteers mentioned above. We performed “The Duke of Kent's Waltz” in order to demonstrate that the visual effect of the dance was the same as the visual effect of the poem: whoever started at the front ends back at the front; between sections, everybody circles around each other; the pattern is regular and repetitive and symmetrical; etc.
And then the best part! We finished dancing, and I said to the crowd: "Well, that's it, we're done...unless YOU ALL want to DANCE!" And they did! We did a fantastic, super fun circle dance to the song Marie's Wedding by the High Kings -- I can't find video of the dance itself, but it's super lively and basically teaches itself as people's feet fall into the pattern. Yippee!
Please consider purchasing Caduceus on amazon. If you do, maybe you can write a little review on amazon or on your website -- and please let me know that you have done so. Thanks!