IN NEW YORK AT THE HISTORIC ST. MARK'S CHURCH
SATURDAY, MAY 1ST, 8 PM
Self-Portraitin a Convex Mirrorfor six voices
The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church
presents a spring fundraising event
Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror
for Six Voices
with projected text and images
Directed by Jim Paul
Read by Joan Arnold, Andrea Barnet, Jan Hanvik,
James Occhino, Jim Paul, and Annie Walwyn-Jones
Technical Support: Beth Thielen
Saturday, May 1st, 8 pm
St. Mark's Church in the Bowery
121 E. 10th Street at 2nd Ave
New York, New York
An Ancram Opera House Production
On May 1st, the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church will present a staged reading of John Ashbery's long poem, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, a great, dense work, certainly one of the defining poems of the 20th century. Photo: Beth Thielen
The work will be presented by six readers: Joan Arnold, Andrea Barnet, Jan Hanvik, James Occhino, Jim Paul, Annie Walwyn-Jones. In this performance, the six readers and projected text and image make the poem unusually available, as Ashbery's tonal shifts and juxtapositions are taken up by different voices.
John Ashbery has won nearly every major American award
for poetry since his second volume, Some Trees, was selected
by W. H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Series in 1956.
Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975) received the Pulitzer Prize
for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the
National Book Award.
Ashbery began writing about art in 1957, serving as executive
editor of Art News (1965-72), and art critic for New York Magazine
(1978-80) and Newsweek (1980-85). A selection of his art writings
was published by Knopf in 1989 as Reported Sightings. This long
poem, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, springs from close description of the Renaissance painting by Francesco Parmigianino.
From the poem,
Vasari says, "Francesco one day set himself
To take his own portrait, looking at himself for that purpose
In a convex mirror, such as is used by barbers . . .
He accordingly caused a ball of wood to be made
By a turner, and having divided it in half and
Brought it to the size of the mirror, he set himself
With great art to copy all that he saw in the glass . . . "
Ashbery's Self-Portrait is a richly modulated meditation on identity, art and death, often abstract, occasionally quite funny and in the end deeply moving.
"In casting John Ashbery's
"Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror" for an
ensemble of six voices plus projected imagery, Jim Paul unveils the
poem's most profound undercurrents of humor and heart. A thoughtful,
original and entirely satisfying evening of theatre."
--Dave King, author of The Ha-Ha
Tickets: $10, open seating
Purchase tickets at the door
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