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Alice Shapiro

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What If Shakespeare Gave American Idol A Make-over?
By Alice Shapiro   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010

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Why I'm producing a TV reality show for poets.

I imagine he might eliminate the singing, keep the rhythm, escalate the poetry until it mushroomed into the malleable psyche of the masses.

Armed with this vision, I decided to turn the screw on reality TV and produce a poetry franchise to rival, surpass, and make legendary the literary competition. 

Variety reality shows are increasing in popularity while the more “drag-down” reality shows are exhibiting a growing public discontent.  Sadly, American Idol seems to be fraying at the edges, despite the fact that it has become “the brand” for variety show recognition.  A recent PopEater article elicited the following response:  “I stopped watching American Idol after Carrie Underwood.  It’s gotten to be so silly and so drawn out!!  ALL the reality shows are stupid and some have really gotten out of hand… bring back the writers!!”  I am taking that suggestion literally to heart and styling my show after American Idol.  It has struck a chord, especially with the kids.  How novel it is to hold a teen’s attention with intellectual games. 

At this point I feel compelled to credit the American Idol conceivers with creating a brilliant format, which I intend to wholly usurp.  I take my permission from the poet T.S. Eliot who said, “Immature poets borrow, mature poets steal.”  Naturally, AMERICAN POET – GA SPORTS will feature enough variations on a theme (in this case “sports”) to make it completely unique.

Sports played during Shakespeare’s time included such romantic notions as hunting with falcons, jousting, and archery.  His influence on sports has continued to traverse the centuries.  In addition to theatrical adaptations, The Ed Sullivan Show featured a popular sketch called The Shakespearean Baseball Game,  and more recently Jack Black introduced a Monday Night Football game with a Shakespearean parody.

Although sports and poetry have long been connected, you might be wondering why?  Sports are acts of physical exertion accompanied by a highly charged voyeuristic audience, while poetry is a cerebral, solitary act.  It might help to understand this relationship when you consider what a famous poet, whose name I cannot recall and whose quote I have mostly forgotten, said:  poetry is the act of giving a reader or hearer an opportunity to experience that which the poet has never experienced him/herself.

Shakespeare is not the only poet to touch on the topic of sports.  Anne Sexton’s End, Middle, Beginning; A.E. Houseman’s Twice A Week The Winter Through; and Billy Collins’ Invention all mention football.  If I had a “dream team” of judges for my competition it would include Billy Collins, Glenn Close, and Sam Waterston.  That would be a poetry panel to be proud of!

I invite poets of all experience and age to audition for AMERICAN POET – GA SPORTS, Season 1.  The grand prize is a book contract.  Hosted by the exclusive Foxhall Sporting Club in Georgia, viewers are encouraged to vote for your favorite poet from the comfort of home As You Like It.  



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