Poetry is how we say to the world, and to each other, "I am here." Some of my most beloved poets -- Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, Billy Collins and Naomi Shihab Nye -- talk about poetry as a way to document the world and our common experiences, to say what needs to be said in a direct, powerful and beautiful way.
Plucking the dialogue pretty much verbatim from his best-selling book, Steinbeck handily transferred his tale to the stage. Again George and Lennie -- traveling together like the scores of other bindlestiffs scouring California's Salinas Valley (Steinbeck's version of William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County) for work -- arrive at a farm for barley bucking activity.
With Washington's return to The Great White Way in the revival of Lorraine Hansberry's 1959 A Raisin in the Sun at the Barrymore, he does a tremendous favor. Once again, as he did with his limited-runs Julius Caesar and Fences, he brings large audiences--especially African-American audiences--to a theater and to theater in the larger sense.