Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Saturday Night Live Adds 3 New Featured Players

After solid contributors Bobby Moynihan, Vanessa Bayer, and Sasheer Zamata left Saturday Night Live’s final season, the comic strip display has crammed their spots with three new featured gamers: Chris Redd, Heidi Gardner, and Luke Null.

Players

You would possibly recollect Chris Redd, a stand-up comic, as the rebellious younger rapper Hunter the Hungry from Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, who perhaps, or maybe did now not, or maybe did, make Connor’s penis disappear on stage.

Heidi Gardner, a Groundlings performer, has an upcoming function in Melissa McCarthy’s new film Life of the Party and has written for Bryan Cranston’s animated display SuperMansion. Luke Null is a Chicago comedian with exactly one film credit score and performs musical comedy, admittedly my least favored form of humor.

In addition, In the Red Engine Press January 2006 newsletter, “Yarnspinners and Wordweavers,” Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of Tracings, writes:

“Auden thought the purpose of poetry is to disenchant. That may be why I am not much for rhyme or pretty, though I do like food images, especially sweets. I prefer melancholy and reflective; if a song is sung, let it discord to keep the reader alert and make him reconsider. Nursery rhymes are for nurseries and sunsets to be viewed firsthand from a bluff, preferably while holding hands with someone handsome. The tendons of the best poetry are politics, introspection, and the abominable snowmen among us tempered–occasionally–by a look back at where we’ve been. Oh, and irony. That’s better than tiramisu and latté for keeping people talking late into the night.”

In the preface to One Hundred and One Famous Poems, published in 1929, editor Roy W. Cook discusses the great need for poetry in the modern industrial age.

While the modern age, with podcasting and blogs, has made poetry more accessible, poetry is also considered frivolous and not lucrative. It’s a shame because Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s poetry can create an air raid sound still and calm. She can let us stand beside an uncle who smells Barbasol and is on his way to war. The subtle message is clear: Stop. Pay attention. Listen.

Most of us wrote poetry in high school, including protests against parents, petitions to teenage crushes, or the usual “my life stinks, what’s the meaning of it all” poems. As adults, we may dribble our wine-and-cappuccino-soaked angst onto the page. Poetry often can’t be beaten as private therapy, and it helped poet Dessa Byrd Reed heal after a car accident. But Reed turned her recovery writings into a passion for poetry that took her to China recently.

Poetry is relevant in today’s text-messaging high-tech world, as evidenced by all the poetry Web sites. It speaks of love, as in Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnets. It relates to eternal epic truths, as in John Milton’s Paradise Lost. It captures the cry of a generation, as in Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl.” It reflects, as in Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. It makes a cinematic statement about freedom behind bars, as in the movie “Slam.” It speaks of the Divine, as in the poetry of Thich Nhat Hanh. I agree with Carolyn Howard-Johnson that poetry moves us–or it must if we want to move others. Howard-Johnson’s poetry moved Compulsive Reader editor Magdalena Ball to name Tracings to The Compulsive Reader’s list of “Top Ten Reads of 2005.”

Howard-Johnson pokes fun at portraits of poets in poetry magazines but loves poetry:

Featured

“So long before you took up a pen and wrote pictures,  you imagined them in liquid blue, the stories of others, your own.”

It’s easy to get caught up in our stories without understanding them. Howard-Johnson peppers her poetry with images of travel, not just global but time travel. She remarks in “Poetry, Quantum Mechanics, and Other Trifles” that her critique group warns her she complicates her poems with too many layers:

“my ingredients, they say, are concealed
behind an opaque pottery bowl;
their matrices misunderstood.
Children we are. No one tells
us the truth of such a grand
dessert.”

The poet Rainer Maria Rilke pointed out the truths of existence in Sonnets to Orpheus, showing us that a young ballet dancer, dead, is not forever gone but is not visible. That’s “the truth of such a grand/dessert.” That’s what poetry is about–revealing, evoking, describing, and thought-provoking. Poetry connects the past with the present and future. Howard-Johnson can visit the historic war museum in Oslo and reflect on war as it affected the world:

“Norway’s fjords shed salty droplets on
faces like my father’s. Round faces. Eyes dilute-blue
like the pale skies above them. Men who fought
as Churchill’s  Featured voice crackled through Night Players smuggled vacuum
tubes.”

Howard-Johnson considers war as it now affects her family:

“Only days before
I reached this spur, I saw my grandson off to war, alone.
A sacrifice. A trade. For my father, who never marched.”

We feel the sense of place in poetry, but the site is fluid, as in Howard-Johnson’s work–a flight from LAX to Salt Lake City can take her through her childhood home where her mother washed a slip every night. The unities of time and place in good drama or a short story can be tweaked in poetry. However, the poet, like a painter, often wants to concentrate on one time, place, or concept. Good poetry can tell a story or capture a mood both ways.

Night

Dr. James Ragan, the director of the University of Southern California  of Professional Writing Program, where I graduated in 1999, says in an interview quoted on the Master of Professional Writing website:

“You want to challenge yourself. Ask yourself, will my time here have the meaning I need for it to have? Poetry has given me that meaning. But then I had to write on the level that allowed me to cross borders and time, and that’s the challenge of creation.”

Ragan, like Howard-Johnson, strives for universal themes. The personal and the universal are not mutually exclusive. A poem may be peppered with unique details. Still, it may capture a common history (World War II), the need for tolerance (a favorite theme in Howard Johnsen’s work), aging, the fear that a poet has started too late in life, which Howard-Johnson captures in “A Reel Left Running”:

“Now age obscures images, pulled taffy,
whisked meringue, they melt, struggle to be named.
So much there is to say, your craft left idle for years,
tools lay fallow, and now, now there is so little time.”

Jenna D. Norton
Jenna D. Norton
Creator. Amateur thinker. Hipster-friendly reader. Award-winning internet fanatic. Zombie practitioner. Web ninja. Coffee aficionado. Spent childhood investing in frisbees for the government. Gifted in exporting race cars in Orlando, FL. Had a brief career short selling psoriasis in Ohio. Earned praise for getting my feet wet with human growth hormone in Minneapolis, MN. Spent several years creating marketing channels for banjos for farmers. Spent 2002-2010 merchandising karma for no pay.

Latest news

Related news