April 5-8. Exact Date/Time of panel is TBD|
"Writing a Verse Play in the 21st Century": Paper & Presentation at 2023 PCA (Pop Culture Association) Conference
Why WOULD a poet try to write verse drama these days?
Time & Location
April 5-8. Exact Date/Time of panel is TBD
San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA
About the Event
Writing verse drama used to be a rite of passage for poets in the early 20th century, from T.S. Eliot and W.B. Yeats to H.D. and Edna St. Vincent Millay. In the latter half of the century, poets such as Sylvia Plath, Derek Walcott, and Rita Dove tried their hand at verse drama, too — moving beyond expected meters and esoteric language, and exploring subjects often ignored by their predecessors. In the 21st century, few verse plays are produced on stages or published as books – and perhaps this tells us that few verse plays are being written, too.
Why would a poet try to write verse drama these days? In the words of Glyn Maxwell, “not for reasons of aesthetics or culture or nostalgia, but because poets write in verse.” And yet, shouldn’t these reasons be considered when creating for the stage? Should subject-matter, well, matter? And if a 21st century poet chooses to engage with drama, what choices will she make regarding meter and line and language? What will be the effects (and possible cost) of her decisions?
I’ll explore these questions while outlining my own writing process and the choices I made (and unmade, and made and unmade again) while finishing a verse play during a half-year sabbatical in 2022. In addition, I’ll attempt to answer: What did I learn about poetry and drama, respectively? Which models were the most helpful and inspiring? What were my biggest challenges and obstacles, did I overcome them, and how? Also — why did I do this to myself? Was any of this worth it?