Friday, February 22, 2008

An Evening with John Lithgow and Carol Muske-Dukes

Last night I was typing up solutions to a recent homework for a discrete mathematics course. It was late, late afternoon, early evening and I was looking forward to spending an evening listening to John Lithgow and Carol Muske-Dukes at USC's Annenberg Center. The discussion between these two lovers of language was aptly titled, "The Theater of Language." John Lithgow was introduced by the dean of USC's theater school as a three time Emmy and a two time Tony winner actor and comedian. More importantly, she told us of his kind, and generous character. He had this air, this presence of a man who has lived and someone with great wisdom, wit and charm. He opened up by describing how he fell in love with a poem he had heard being recited when he was seven years old. He then got up from his chair and went to the podium and recited this poem with the finesse, courage, and mental fortitude of an experienced thespian veteran. Needless to say, the audience was spellbound. The recitation was by heart, and went on for a good ten minutes or so. It is no wonder then that he is a two time Tony winner. He read from his new book, entitled, "The Poet's Corner: The One-and-Only Poetry Book for the Whole Family", which is an anthology of his favorite poems.

Carol Muske-Dukes is a professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. She read some beautiful poems from her book of poems, entitled, "Sparrow". Apparently, Carol's late husband and John Lithgow were extremely close friends. She wrote "Sparrow" as an elegy for her late husband.

John Lithgow read from William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, and some other noteworthy contemporary poets.

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