Adele Elliott: No dead readers

August 21, 2010 8:28:00 PM

Adele Elliott - [email protected]


This summer has been too hot for words ... literally! The "No Dead Authors" programs have been on vacation. But, have no fear, this series of literary readings/afternoon salons/book signings returns in September. 


I know what you''re thinking. Why, that''s just in time for the Tennessee Williams Tribute. Indeed, it is. So, in honor of the TWT, and especially as a special homage to America''s great writer, "No Dead Authors" is dedicating next month''s event to an author who is (unlike Elvis) most certainly dead. 


You may notice I did not say, "America''s greatest playwright," although, I truly believe that he is. That is because this month''s theme is showcasing the poetry of Tennessee, with not a play to be found. 


Williams always considered himself a poet first, a playwright second. Still, he remains un-alive. Therefore, a group of actors, singers, poets and fans will gather to read some of his little-known poems. 


Local actress Cherri Golden will put her comedic spin on "Gold Tooth Blues." In this poem, Tennessee gives beauty advice. (Pay attention, David Creel!) " ... honey, take a tip ... your mouth''s no place to carry your gold ... Cause a gold tooth makes a woman look old!" Now, that''s what I call "putting your money where your mouth is." 


Other readers range in talent from poet Elizabeth Simpson, to Police Chief Joseph St. John, to actor Tom Hatcher. 


Everyone''s favorite fishing guide, Sid Caradine, will channel Grandfather from "Night of the Iguana." This should not be much of a stretch since he often assumes the persona of Major Amzi Love, also dead. 


I hope Columbus'' native son will be pleased. His presence is still felt in the home where he was born. All that elegant roofing and renovation probably stirred up a bevy of ghosts. 


One of the most interesting, and surprising, things about the readings chosen is that many are quite funny. Usually, we think of the tragic stories. Tennessee Williams wrote about insanity, violence and mankind''s limitless capacity for cruelty. His themes were operatic. 


But, one thing he always did was to write it beautifully. Dare I say "poetically"? His characters speak in a way that is usually refined, and lovely, and terribly sad. 


It seems that, today, few can even spell. And why should we? Everyone knows what LOL means, or b4, or :?). The number "2" can be to, too, or two. There is no reason to differentiate between the meanings. 


But, even in the throes of a nervous breakdown, a Tennessee Williams heroine can utter profound, heartbreaking lines about "the kindness of strangers," or "a tiny silver slipper of a moon," or confuse pleurisies with blue roses. I never tire of his lush language and pathos. 


Those of you who want to hear the words of America''s great(est) writer, please join us at the newly-renovated Tennessee Williams Welcome Center, 300 Main St., at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12. There, you will meet living readers, be introduced to some unexpected verse, and, of course, eat cake. It''s all free, and open to the public. 


And, just to tempt you more, Tennessee will make an appearance, via recording, to show us how his work should really be read. Hope 2 CU there. :? ) 


Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.