Do You Share What You Know?

By Eyring, Teresa | American Theatre, February 2014 | Go to article overview

Do You Share What You Know?


Eyring, Teresa, American Theatre


I want to share what I know, to help my brothers and sisters grow. be strong to turn it around. I want to go up, I'm not going down. I want to do what I can do, to make all my dreams come true. Remember my past, the good and the bad, how I made it art, even when it was sad.

--Excerpt from the "Poet's Pledge," Abiodun Oyewole

SUZAN-LORI PARKS OFTEN TALKS ABOUT HER decision to pursue playwriting instead of icr original calling prose and fiction writing. As a student at Mount Holyoke, she was introduced by a teacher to James Baldwin, and she subsequently enrolled in the Famous author's writing workshop. She recalls the day when, after sharing some of her work in class, Baldwin called her out and said, "Miss Parks, have you ever considered writing for the theatre?" Whether Parks accepted the advice without question .or resisted the new designation, she ultimately started writing plays--including, eventually, the 2002 Pulitzer-winning Thpdog/Underdog.

Parks had a master teacher who spoke truth and helped her find her calling. But what happens when you're an aspiring playwright, poet, novelist or artist of any stripe who doesn't have regular access to someone who acts as a sounding board--who helps uncover your strengths, who is willing to give the honest, no-holds-barred feedback that enables you to grow? I witnessed one particularly effective example of this dynamic recently in New York.

I was a guest at the Sunday Night Poet's Haven workshop at the Harlem home of Abiodun Oyewole, a co-founder of the Last Poets, an ensemble that is credited with inspiring the hip-hop movement. For 30 years, Oyewole has been opening his home to poets--established, aspiring and everyone in between--so they can try out new work and receive clear and honest feedback, informed by Oyewole's years of experience as a. poet, teacher and scholar. Seated in a chair facing a makeshift stage in his living room, he greeted guests as they began arriving in late .afternoon. A platter loaded with his fabled homemade salmon cakes sat in the kitchen for all to enjoy. There was small talk and opportunities for new connections; CDs with examples of interesting new work or Abiodun's own verses played in the background.

On the night of my visit, when a critical mass had assembled, the proceedings began with a group recitation of the "Poet's Pledge," followed by an invitation: "All right, who wants to go first? Who has something to share?"

After two or three poets had come forward to share their work, I realized that each ensuing critique was not going to be a simple analysis of the poetry being presented, but rather a wide-ranging discussion--part history lesson, part commentary on the contemporary state of race relations in the U.S., part reminder of seminal artists whose work may have been forgotten. There were riffs on the recent spate of movies that perpetuate the idea that the history of African. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Do You Share What You Know?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.