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April 18, 2009


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Hi Laura, Thanks for this. You're right, there's no such thing as too much Ella. I think there's still much to be said about the phenomenon that is Susan Boyle. I would love for someone like Camille Paglia to weigh in - she always has a take on these kinds of things that I haven't thought of. I've never watched any of the "got talent" or 'Idol" shows so I don't know how the competition progresses. I hope she picks something less saccharine than "I Dreamed . . ." and that we can see what her interpretive skills are like. And I hope she continues to dazzle those awful smug judges.

What wonderful choices and how well they go together, Gershwin ("The Man I Love") and Arlen ("I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues").

When my son Micah was small, he loved it when I would put on "Something's Gotta Give" and we would dance together in the living room. He'd come home from school and say, "Mom, put on Ella!" and we'd jitterbug across the carpet.

Oh Laura! What an exquisite pair of stories, beautifully told. I love Ella--and so did my grandmother. One day my grandmother (visiting me from Philly) ran into her at Nate n' Al's deli--and L.A. institution. She was able to thank her for her voice, for what it's meant to all of us in our family. Ella was gracious, lovely to her!

"wearing men's shoes". HOW GREAT this story. Ella was the best. No one had her phrasing....SO glad she got her own shoes and what a wonderful comparison.

As a fairly plain woman myself, I find this phenomenon of "looking and seeing" as a reliable determinant of ability just flabbergasting. (And add to that the "blessing of also speaking in a heavy Southern accent.)

Even among poets and professors, I found myself being judged by the way I looked rather than how I though or wrote. Curious. And here, it rears its ugly head again with Susan Boyle. What, in her appearance, made anyone in that audience or judges think she couldn't sing well enough to knock the socks off of an audience????

What is reasonable about any of that? Thanks for sharing Ella's story too. I love it when the shallow ones are revealed for what they are. Sweet vengeance, that kind of humility in the face of such hubris.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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This Way Out

by T.P.Winch

Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.



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