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Poets are Present: Sarah Ann Winn

The lovely Sarah Ann Winn joined us last evening for Poets are PresentHere is her poem inspired by her time as the poet in residence:Sarah


Notes for a Cold Reading
By Sarah Ann Winn

Tonight, the part of the audience
will be played by the actors.
Ushers will assist the real audience
to dressing rooms. At the door,
trade programs for scripts.
Large print versions are available
for those who need them.

When the part of the lover
is given to the friend who better fits
the custom made vest, embroidered
with chrysanthemums
blooming from lapel to hip –
a hasty script consultation:
new costuming for the stranger’s dance,
memorize entrances opposite feeling.

From the house manager:
Last minute direction will be provided
to the lawyer, whose nerves have gotten
the better of him, to the nurse, who has somehow
lost the heel to her shoe, who has misplaced her merlot
during intermission.

Mother/stranger will run lines with daughter/stranger.
(Some laugh, trade wigs, pretend the truth, say
words they mean, but did not invent).

Remember: Mistaken identity’s
easy to play. Your date may
enter stage right, and tell you
he is your father. It may be a relief
to play someone else for a few scenes.

Remember: The actors in their velvet seats improv
in the darkness, wait for the curtain to lift,
practice laughing the same laughs they will laugh on cue.

As the lights dim, roles
tangle and untangle.
In case of emergency, or
if someone falls in love
with the wrong suitor, if
someone finds her lost father
incognito, actors should wait
at the Starbucks across the street
for the unmasking. Leave the professionals
room to work. Love left dangling
at intermission will last, for the lucky,
through the second act.


Sarah Ann Winn lives in Fairfax Virginia. Her poems have appeared or will appear in Bayou Magazine, [d]ecember, Massachusetts Review, Quarterly West, and RHINO among others. Her chapbook, Portage, is forthcoming from Sundress Publications this winter.
Follow Sarah on Twitter! @blueaisling


 Poets are Present is a poetry residency in conjunction with David Ives’s adaptation of The Metromaniacs. As part of this unique theatre/poetry exchange, the Shakespeare Theatre Company is proud to host more than 30 D.C.-area poets in the theatre’s lobby. Throughout the run, we will share with you the poems that this residency inspired our guests to write. Visit ourPoets are Present page to see a list of upcoming poets.

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