Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

If Only I Were Just Pretentious--No, I'm Afraid I'm Really Like This

It is an urgent necessity that I see this production of Tony Kushner's new translation of Mother Courage. If I only do one thing in the last week of August, it has to be seeing this play.

I'm not actually a big Brecht fan, but Act IV of Mother Courage is one of the most important things I've ever read. It's not useful in quite the same way as the Bill of Rights, but once you have it, it becomes as indispensable.

Oh, and if you want a model for making morally repugnant characters speak the truth in ways that the reader will try and fail to resist, Act IV's good for that, too.

In other news, I knocked a thousand words out of the First Coronation Day sequence in Part 4 of the Big Book.

Also, I came up with a poetic form that the Beltresins will regard as classical. All day Saturday, I filled my head full of Gjertrud Schnackenberg's loose-yet-perfect formalism, thinking I'd just wake up my old internal ballad stanza generator and, well, generate two ballad stanzas to fill one of those bracketed FIX THIS markers that says [SONG VERSES HERE]. Nope, Iselo does not want to sing a lowly ballad in the later funeral scene. She wants something older, harder, and weirder than that. If a sestina and an awdl gywydd were joined in matrimony in a ceremony presided over by a pantoum and a ghazal, the offspring would look like the wacky mess of scansion marks and squiggly arrows for chiasmus that Iselo had me map out. I kept hoping I'd find something close enough in the index of four-line forms in Turco--every household should have a copy of Turco's The New Book of Forms--but no.

That's okay. What would be the point of doing any of this if it were easy?

Hey, vgnwtch, is anybody writing poetry in English using the old Welsh forms? Somebody must be. When I finish this pass of revisions to the big book and have the little book in complete working draft, I need to fill my head with awdl gywydds. I wonder what will come out.
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