Tuesday, May 28, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

William P. Perry

William P. Perry is a composer and producer. Born in Elmira, NY he attended Harvard University and studied music with Paul Hindemith, Walter Piston and Randall Thompson and literature with George Sherburn and Walter Jackson Bate. After a stint in the military, he joined the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency as a composer, script writer and television producer, working with such entertainment icons as Arthur Godfrey, Ed Sullivan and Jackie Gleason. The next career move, somewhat unexpected, took him to the Museum of Modern Art where he became music director and composed and performed more than two hundred scores for the Museum’s silent film collection. His subsequent PBS television series, “The Silent Years” hosted by Orson Welles and Lillian Gish, won an Emmy Award. Perry is often credited with having played a major role in the revival of interest in classic silent films. Continuing his association with PBS, he created and produced the “Anyone for Tennyson?” poetry series and thereafter produced and scored the Peabody-Award winning Mark Twain Series of six feature films for Great Performances. His stage work has included a musical biography of Mark Twain that ran for ten summers in Elmira and Hartford and a Broadway musical version of “Wind in the Willows” starring Nathan Lane. In recent years Perry, a long-time Berkshires resident, has concentrated on a Naxos series of CDs of his orchestral works.

written articles

Noël Coward . . . A Talent to Amuse

Perhaps his public upper-crust flamboyance was a mask, but his creative personage was genuine and prolific.

W. H. Auden . . . In Love with Language

Auden said, “A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.” And save for T.S. Eliot and perhaps Robert Frost, no modern poet has been more innovative and more securely adroit with language than Auden.

Christina Rossetti: Haply We May Remember

The 19th Century produced several major women poets in Victorian England including Emily Brontë and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. But none was more prolific and more worthy of our attention than Christina Rossetti (1830-1894).

Major Poems by Minor Poets

I have always been interested in little-known poets who, regardless of definition, broke through with one or more major poems that the public embraced.

Branching out: Poems about trees

Poetry about trees has appeared with frequency throughout the centuries. But among the greatest tree poets, and favorites of mine, are four modern voices: Robert Frost, Mary Oliver, A.E.Housman and Philip Larkin.

Let’s hear it for poetry!

A fine recitation can enhance a poem, but bad poetry does not gain from being read aloud.

Death and taxes…some random thoughts

For the serious poet, nothing is more certain than he or she will write about death at some point. And what about taxes? It was a subject that rarely came up since poets hardly ever acquired enough income to think about them.

Amanda Gorman . . . Inspiring a nation

At President Biden’s inauguration, Amanda Gorman, self-described as “a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother,” became one of America’s most recognized and lauded living poets.

Frost, Yeats and Eliot . . . Sounds like a law firm

Actually, this column started when a friend asked me if I would suggest the three most important English-language poets of my lifetime. It took only a moment before I responded: Robert Frost, William Butler Yeats, and T.S. Eliot, though not necessarily in that order:

We’ll take a cup of kindness yet

Let me now wish you a Very Happy New Year and offer the most moving performance of Auld Lang Syne I have ever heard. The singers are the Choral Scholars of University College, Dublin.

A Carol for Christmas Eve

Author and composer William P. Perry dedicates this original composition to carolers the world over.

Anyone for Tennyson? A Christmas goose…We mean Mother Goose!

Mother Goose is the patroness of nursery poems. She first showed up in 1695 in a fairy tale book published by Charles Perrault in France. She flew the Atlantic in 1786.

Mary Oliver . . . Nature’s friend

The poet is Mary Oliver who died four years ago and who, along with Billy Collins, became America’s best-selling living poet.

Billy Collins . . . the people’s poet

Not since Robert Frost has an American poet so thoroughly combined accolades from the critics with ovations from the public. He certainly sits near the top of my list of favorite poets and amazes me for his ability to find a poem in the most ordinary of events.

Louise Glück . . . A poet’s poet

Perhaps the Nobel Prize citation put it best . . . she was being honored “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”

Poems about rivers . . . suitable for streaming

In case "Way down upon the Swanee River" is the only river poem you know, read on. This article is for you!

The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.