Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Several reviews of the Poetry at the Parsonage Festival. Richard Wilcocks on the Brontë Parsonage Blog:
It was certainly a turn-up for the books: I can not recall any events even similar to this one in my experience, and I am guessing it was unprecedented. It should be made to happen again, and not just because it links with the Parsonage's well-established and enlightened stance on contemporary arts, and because all the Brontës wrote poetry but because festivals like this should be essential items on both the Parsonage and the Haworth annual calendar. It should be repeated. Perhaps an annual poetry weekend could grow to become as significant as a Forties weekend.
I hope the Brontë Society will develop this event again next year. There are few outlets for the arts outside of the cities and some of us live a way away from major urban centres. If they do run it again though, I'd put in a plea for the workshops to run in the Parsonage itself in order to involve us in the museum's collections. It's not so I can keep warm, honest, but if they do repeat this event, make sure you come in your wellies. (Rosalind York in Yorkshire Times)
A new kind of poetry festival – certainly one that I haven’t seen before – was born at the weekend, in the “creative hotspot” of the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth, West Yorkshire.
In the same setting where Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell had produced poems and stories on tiny pieces of paper when they were young, more than 100 poets, nearly all of them from Yorkshire, took part in Poetry at the Parsonage, a free event (donations welcome!). They included some big names, but also scores from some of the thriving poetry groups that throng the county.
The festival was the brainchild of Matthew Withey, of the Brontë Society, who had been looking for a new way of celebrating Charlotte Brontë’s bicentenary, but also owed a great deal to the curating prowess of Mark Connors, pictured left, regular organiser of Word Club in Leeds, who assembled a harmonious and quality mix of page and performance poets that spanned the generations. (Greg Freeman on WriteOutLoud)
You can read comments also on the great fogginzo's cobweb; pictures of the events can be seen on the Poetry at the Parsonage Facebook Wall.

The Guardian's Children Book section reviews The Professor:
To tell any more would be to spoil the story, but suffice it to say that I found this book charming; I loved the quiet strength and whimsy of Frances, and even managed to sympathise with William, despite some disturbing references to the inferiority of Flemish people and Catholics that may – I’m hoping – have been purposefully used to reveal prejudices in his character. The brief appearances of the aforementioned Hunsden were also a highlight, loveable in all his brusque and obstinate nature. Overall, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who appreciates Brontë’s probing, perceptive prose or the joy of retreating into a different time and a different place. (Faolan)
The Yorkshire Evening Post anticipates the West Yorkshire Playhouse's Autumn Brontë season:
In celebration of Charlotte Brontë’s 200th year, West Yorkshire Playhouse, working with the Brontë Partnership Museum, will pay its own unique tribute with three brand-new commissioned performances.
A new adaptation of Charlotte’s novel ‘Villette’ will be playing at the Courtyard Theatre. The play uses themes and characters from the book but is set in the future.
Mark Rosenblatt, who is directing the re-imagining of Villette, said: “The Brontës are internationally known and they are right up the road from us. It’s hard to think of more famous novelists and there’s not just one, there’s three of them. Villette gets to the heart of the original novel but finds a way to connect it with a modern audience.”
‘Wasted’, a musical about the lives of the Brontë siblings, will also take to the stage.
And digital Project ‘Know your Place’ will map the locations in Yorkshire which gave the sisters their litearary inspiration.
West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Executive director Robin Hawkes said: “The Brontës’ writing is both rooted in and strongly influenced by the environment in which they lived and created their enduring characters and stories, which are known and cherished around the world and which we’re looking forward to exploring with our audiences.”
Emily Brontë’s work will also be brought to life with Northern Ballet performing a production of her much-loved masterpiece Wuthering Heights.
The season will feature screenings, panel events, a Haworth audio experience and a social media takeover alongside the theatre performances.
The Brontë Season will run from Sept 5 to October 22. (Joanna Fawcett-Jones)
Broadway World presents one of the premieres of next theatre season in Chicago, You on the Moors Now by Jaclyn Backhaus:
The Hypocrites is pleased to launch its 2016-17 season with the Chicago premiere of You on the Moors Now, Jaclyn Backhaus's comical mash-up of mythology and 19th century literary heroines, directed by Devon de Mayo. You on the Moors Now will play September 9 - October 30, 2016 at The Den Theatre's Heath Main Stage, 1329 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood.  (...)
This crazy, funny show sets heroines from the 19th century novels of Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters in a mythical place of Moors. When our heroines receive proposals of marriage, they decide to escape. The men wage war on the women starting the Moors Wars. Jaclyn Backhaus' ultimately moving and inventive play ends in beautiful prose like a chapter from the books these women originated.
"You On the Moors Now excites me because it is a feminist re-imagining of the lives of the heroines of four of the greatest literary novels by women," comments director Devon de Mayo. "It reminds us of the specific importance of the strong, female protagonist, and asks 'What if she didn't need the dude? Like, at all?' And 'What if a woman's friendship with other women is what drives her? Not her relationship with men.' It's so exciting to see these classics ripped apart and exploded into new, imagined circumstances. It's witty, unpredictable and empowering. I think of it as Masterpiece Theatre meets Charles Mee meets Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play. Every time I read the play it makes me laugh, it surprises me and I find it touching." 
Ham & High has the answer to a question we are sure you have asked yourself several times:
Which fictional character are you when it comes to cleaning your house?
Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate four sessions of free cleaning. 
Michael Paterniti in The New Yorker:
In college, I’d read and been inspired by Thomas Hardy and Virginia Woolf. I loved Zola and the Brontës, all the seemingly faraway exotics on their dirty city blocks and midland heaths. But when I first read Wallace Stevens and Elizabeth Bishop, when I read Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost (once a newspaper man himself), I felt those words enter differently. I felt those poems in my bones.
Slant reviews the film Men Go to Battle:
Shot on quasi-grainy digital at close range and evenly lit in autumnal tones, Zachary Treitz's Civil War-set Men Go to Battle lacks the polish and bombast of much costlier historical dramas. Evoking the cloistered rawness of Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights and Robert Eggers's The Witch, the film aims for revelatory intimacy within a commonplace past, but while its simulacrum of 1860s Kentucky is impressively textured in spite of a shoestring budget, Treitz's preference for arm's-length characterizations renders a convincingly made-over ensemble little more than another ornament on the landscape. (Carson Lund)
Naples Illustrated recommends you 'romantic' wines if
The Romantic: Your favorite books are by the Brontës, you’ve watched Casablanca dozens of times, and your favorite bouquet is two dozen long-stemmed red roses. (Kat Smith)
The Upcoming reviews the latest album by Bat for Lashes, The Bride:
It begins with a bride-to-be’s dreamy vision of her wedding in I Do, then the tone swiftly changes with Joe’s Dream, in which the groom foresees his death. The lyrics are melodramatic: like Kate Bush, the singer seems to be inspired by the tumultuous affair of Cathy and Heathcliff as her lover looks through her window in the “gloomy night”. (Georgie Cowan-Turner)
Harrogate Informer talks about the upcoming  Knaresborough Castle's performances of the ChapterHouse Theatre Wuthering Heights production; Blackpool Gazette does the same with the performances at Lytham Hall;  Anika Entre Libros (in Spanish) reviews Agnes Grey; Culture and Anarchy reviews Claire Harman's Charlotte Brontë biography; Books I Have Never Read and Shannon Fox's Isle of Books are reading Wuthering Heights; Books & Tea posts bout Jane Eyre.


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