I'm thrilled to be part of the Live Cannon's 154 project. 'What's that got to do with Shakespeare?' I hear you saying. The answer is everything!
I have been writing poetry for a few years now and absolutely love a challenge. If you pop German Zwanik in the search box you will discover more about this beautiful artist and also a couple of poems I have written that were inspired by his portraits. German creates paintings inspired by life and has produced a huge variety of contemporary works that are brilliantly unique. Likewise, some 400 years ago, Shakespeare used his creativity in a similar manner mixing emotions, life and fantasy together through word power; with such brilliance he has created a legacy that remains with us for ever. The inter-twining of artistic genres goes deep, my experience of Shakespeare, (having not studied English literature) being limited to the Ballet Romeo and Juliet. Dance and music add even more depth to Shakespeare's original play and in my view enhance his work making it more accessible to today's audience. Language worldwide has developed significantly and as always merges cultural differences. Some might say it has lost its beauty and the 'quaintness' of expression however I believe it has taken on a different musicality.
Live Cannon have been working hard on a project to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, born 23rd April 1564 and died 23rd April 1616, on the same day- isn't that amazing! Shakespeare is considered the world's greatest dramatist, mind you nowadays our cinema's churn out a huge amount of highly dramatic films. Clearly Shakespeare was fearless and appears to have had an obssession with death! In addition to his plays Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets. This special project by Live Cannon has collated poetic responses to all of Shakespeare's sonnets by enlisting the work of 154 poets, in their chosen style. I was assigned sonnet 136- it took me about six reads to get some sort of grasp on the meaning! Of course, the 'Will' is most likely reference to self, assumed by modern day genius, Will-I-Am. I chose to spin the poem in a different direction, using the sublime connection we all have between body, 'Will' and soul; however am not sharing that version until it has been published. Who knows, maybe exploration of these connections was Shakespeare's original intention! All of Shakespeare's sonnets and contemporary replies will be read during the event and you can order copies of the book by following the Live Cannon link above. I have written an alternative reply below, as Will's modern day wife- I wonder how well William Shakespeare would be able to associate with it???? The world is such a big place yet, thanks to the internet and modern day travel, it's boundaries have shrunk. One thing's for sure- drama is here to stay.
V&A Event Info: Sunday 24th April, 10.30am-5.30pm. NAL Centre Room- free event.
If thy soul check thee that I come so near,
Swear to thy blind soul that I was thy 'Will',
And will, thy soul knows, is admitted there;
Thus far for love, my love-suit, sweet, fulfil.
'Will', will fulfil the treasure of thy love,
Ay, fill it full with wills, and my will one.
In things of great receipt with ease we prove
Among a number one is reckon'd none:
Then in the number let me pass untold,
Though in thy store's account I one must be;
For nothing hold me, so it please thee hold
That nothing me, a something sweet to thee:
Make but my name thy love, and love that still,
And then thou lov'st me for my name is 'Will.'
You’re my ‘Will.’
Forever by my side
During our brightest, sunniest days
And deepest, darkest nights.
My ‘Will;’ Numero Uno,
Buttering the bread of my desire,
Fulfilling every need.
A woman satiated to the max
Through infinity and beyond-
Love is sooooo sweeeeeet,
Keep loving on!
Living our dream of a life.
Jetting around the globe
To explore hidden delights:
Monaco, The Rain Forest,
Japan and San Tropez.
But never a trophy wife,
Love of your life
From that very first day;
Fresh faced and adoring-
Until we take our final breaths
And drift away.
Jaz McKenzie ©2016