Friday, April 16, 2010

This is not your grandmother's "Hiawatha"



Longfellow's best-loved poems to be read Sunday

By Chris Bergeron/DAILY NEWS STAFF
Apr 16, 2010

Though Henry Wadsworth Longfellow never spent a night at the Wayside Inn, the 19th century bard's verse will resound through the Martha-Mary Chapel Sunday afternoon in dramatic readings of two of his best-loved poems.

Former opera singer Michael Maglaras will recite four cantos, or books, from "The Song of Hiawatha" and "Paul Revere's Ride" in its entirety at 4 p.m. in the chapel of the Sudbury landmark as part of a series of events celebrating the legacy of one of the nation's most distinguished poets.

Read full article at this link.

Maglaras said Longfellow -- like his other 19th century favorites, poet John Greenleaf Whittier and author Mark Twain -- wrote verse and prose that reflected the optimism and confidence of their era.

"It was a confident time in our history when they were all alive. They were great poets and writers who never doubted their ability to set themselves a task and just do it," he said. "We can learn from that kind of wonderful exuberance."

Asked how a 21st century audience might respond to Longfellow's under-appreciated 19th century masterpiece, Maglaras replied without hesitation, "They'll walk out (of the chapel) feeling damn proud to be Americans."