Hold It All

Tag: Shakespeare

The Buddha Is Hanging with the Groundlings at the Globe Theatre

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

Photo: Munindra

Five Poems, Five Passages

Ezra Pound and Marcella Spann, ed.
From Confucius to Cummings: An Anthology of Poetry
New Directions, 1964

Guido Calvacanti, Sonnet 7
Saint Teresa d’Avila, Bookmark
Elizabeth I, When I Was Fair and Young
William Butler Yeats, Down by the Salley Gardens
H.D., “Never More Will the Wind”


What matters in poetry, as Coleridge would have agreed, is the intensity of the emotion, and the depth of comprehension registered by the writer.

My efforts to indicate part of the quality of Chinese metric have been sabotaged by the lethargy , or worse, of America endowments for the suppression of the life of the soul.

W.D.H. Rouse notes that Golding’s version [of Ovid] was one of the six great books that Shakespeare had read, as perhaps no other man ever will.

Shakespeare’s lyrics if not the absolute fountainhead are at any rate the channel from which almost all later melodic and rhythmic variety in song-strophe has flowed into English and American verse.

Nineteenth century rhetoric books used to recommend: clearness, force, and beauty. Medieval Latin gave it: ut doceat, ut moveat, ut delectet, that it teach, move, and delight.

Summer Reading, 2009

I recently found this in an old file…



Annping Chin, The Authentic Confucius: A Life of Thought and Politics
David Hinton, Selected Poems of Wang Wei
D.C. Lau, trans. Mencius
Andrew Plaks, trans., Chung Yung
Ivan Morris, Madly Singing in the Mountains: An Appreciation and Anthology of Arthur Waley
Stephen Ruppenthal, The Path of Direct Awakening
Simon Winchester, The Man Who Loved China
Mao Zedong, Little Red Book


Noam Chomsky, American Power and the New Mandarins
Noam Chomsky, What We Say Goes: Conversations on U.S. Power in a Changing World–Interviews with David Barsamian
Donaldo Macedo, ed., Chomsky on Mis-Education
Peter Mitchell and John Schoeffel, eds., Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky
Assaf Khoury, ed. Inside Lebanon: Journey to a Shattered Land with Noam and Carol Chomsky Read the rest of this entry »

Why Shakespeare Matters/2 by Magan Wiles

Magan studied Social Justice with me  in 2004;  did theater work with refugee kids through Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma as well as Playback Theater; worked with ISM in Palestine in 2006; got MFA at University of Tennessee (Knoxville); performed in Beautiful Resistance and My Name Is Rachel Corrie;  played Miranda in The Tempest (Shakespeare in the Park); now making her way in NYC; ten years later, she still calls me Professor-Friend.  Here’s her take on Will Shakespeare…

Shakespeare matters because, just like Tupac, young men still quote him in juvenile detention centers.  I teach acting to court-involved kids, and have for a long time, and I always feel weird about imposing another dead white writer on black-n-brown teenagers.  But Shakespeare will fire up the room every time.  Even if I can’t get them to read it, they will improvise the situations – “your uncle has killed your father and married your mother, and then your father’s ghost appears to you and tells you to take revenge.  Ok, Dale is Hamlet and David is the ghost.  Go.”  They love it.

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Why Shakespeare Matters/1 by Katie Consamus

I’ve asked a few friends, a good portion of whose lives have been in  the theater, if they’d be willing to write on the following topic because I was curious how they’d respond: Why Shakespeare Matters.  The serene, daring, brilliant, and delightful Katie Consamus sent me the following….enjoy!


The first time I can recall reading Shakespeare was in ninth grade English.  We were required to read Romeo & Juliet out of some benign English textbook full of whitewashed classics that someone on some board had once deemed relevant or important.

I read Romeo & Juliet silently to myself.  I found it difficult to muddle through, I thought it was confusing, I didn’t know half of the words, the storyline was ridiculous, and the whole thing was just too damn long.  I had been drilled in class on the rhythm and meter and how amazing it was going to be and blah-de-blah-de-blah, but honestly, to me, the whole thing seemed like a damn waste of time. In summation, I was bored, and I thought Romeo & Juliet was a piece of shit.

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