Shakespeare Gets the Sackcloth and Ashland Treatment

STC 22273 Fo.1 no.01, title page

I was very touched today by how many people forwarded James Shapiro’s New York Times Op-Ed piece to me. It seems that the geniuses at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland have decided to present Shakespeare in modern language translations. Last year, it was Robert Wilson and Rufus Wainwright, who helped Shakespeare out at the Brooklyn Academy of Music by presenting his sonnets in German and set to some extremely dull music. Shakespeare survived that. And he’ll survive Ashland, too. But I feel like letting off some steam, so here goes.


I know who owns this forest:
It’s just some guy that lives in town.
He’s not around to catch me
Looking at his property that the snow is landing on at the present time.

The horse that is pulling my sleigh probably thinks that I’m a weirdo
For stopping here in the middle of nowhere
About equidistant from the last farm & that pond that looks like it’s kinda iced-over
On what is probably the darkest night that we’ve had so far this season.

He shakes his bells — the horse, I mean, just in case I lost you on that last hill —
He seems to think that I’ve screwed up (I’m still talking about the horse that’s pulling this sleigh that I’m riding on)
That’s the only sound that I can hear — the bells, I mean: I’m just trying to spell it all out for you: I know that this poetry jazz is hard to follow —
Unless you count that breeze that’s sort of blowing flakes around — snow flakes, I mean.

Gee whiz, this forest sure is pretty!
But, shoot, it sure is getting dark out here.
And I got a long way to go yet.
Yep. I got a long way to go till I can hit the hay. (Excuse the metaphor! It’s just that I got a shmear of the poet in me.)

Yours truly,
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival

P.S. Now let’s go shoot up a community college!

2 thoughts on “Shakespeare Gets the Sackcloth and Ashland Treatment

  1. Carol

    I loved this so much. Very succinct way of proving how stupid this whole thing is.

    Best Robert Frostian poem ever, BTW.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.