Poetry Series Featuring Actors From The Alley Theatre
Watch and listen as actors give voice to the words of renowned poets through a partnership with Houston's nationally recognized Alley Theatre. In this video series, a curated selection of poems by authors such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Emily Dickinson, Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton, Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, and many others whose written words can be found in the holdings of the Harry Ransom Center will be activated through readings by celebrated actors in the Alley Theatre’s Resident Acting Company.
Join us each month for a new, inspiring poetry reading, complete with an introduction and commentary by Ransom Center Betty Brumbalow Director Dr. Stephen Enniss, who will provide insight into the poems and authors selected. He has written on Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, and Seamus Heaney, among other notable literary figures. He is the author of After the Titanic: A Life of Derek Mahon (Gill and Macmillan, 2014).
Each episode will be available for a limited time. Set reminders to see the videos as they are released.
December 6, 2021 - Chris Hutchison
This final installment of Wordplay features a selection of works by American poet Sylvia Plath read and interpreted by Chris Hutchison, a member of the Alley Theatre's Resident Acting Company.
November 1, 2021 - Shawn Hamilton
This installment of Wordplay highlights the Ransom Center's war poetry collections. Actor Shawn Hamilton of Houston's Alley Theatre reads and interprets works by poets of the First World War as well as poets who lived through periods of conflict and turned to poetry to express something of their experience.
October 4, 2021 - Melissa Pritchett
Selections from the works of American poet Anne Sexton are featured in this installment of the Harry Ransom Center’s Wordplay virtual poetry series. Sexton won the Pulitzer Prize in 1967 for her book Live or Die, and her writing often relates to her struggle with depression and includes details of her personal life. The Center holds manuscripts, correspondence, notes, and other materials that explore her writing career from her earliest poems to the materials published after her death. Actor Melissa Pritchett of Houston's Alley Theatre brings to life through performance and commentary Sexton’s raw, highly personal, and confessional works.
16th- and 17th-century Poets
September 6, 2021 - Todd Waite
Works of celebrated 16th- and 17th-century poets including John Skelton, William Shakespeare, Anne Bradstreet, and John Donne are highlighted in this installment of the Harry Ransom Center’s Wordplay virtual poetry series. Actor Todd Waite of Houston's Alley Theatre brings to life through performance and commentary important works of poetry by authors represented in the Ransom Center’s collections.
August 2, 2021 - Melissa Molano
Dive into the works of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas in this installment of the Harry Ransom Center’s Wordplay virtual poetry series. Actor Melissa Molano of Houston's Alley Theatre captures the rhythmic nature of Thomas' writing and provides commentary. The Ransom Center is home to the largest collection of Dylan Thomas manuscripts in the world, many of which can be viewed online in the Dylan Thomas digital collection.
Countee Cullen, Rita Dove, Robert Hayden, and Langston Hughes
July 5, 2021 - David Rainey
African American writers Countee Cullen, Rita Dove, Robert Hayden, and Langston Hughes are highlighted in this installment of the Harry Ransom Center’s Wordplay virtual poetry series. Actor David Rainey of Houston's Alley Theatre brings to life through performance and commentary important works of poetry by authors represented in the Ransom Center’s collections.
Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman
June 1, 2021 - Dylan Godwin
The second installment of Wordplay continues with a selection of poems by Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, both of whom are represented in the Ransom Center’s collections. These 19th century poems will come alive when read by Alley Theatre Actor Dylan Godwin. Listeners are invited to acknowledge the obvious contrasts between the poets, while listening closely for similarities pointed out in the commentary surrounding the poems.