DID SHE MAKE IT?
Our May 13 story “What Rhymes With Pressure?” on the Poetry Out Loud competition concluded with Randolph High School freshman Stephanie Igharosa winning the Massachusetts title. At the national competition in Washington, D.C., in mid-May, Stephanie unfortunately failed to advance. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” she says. “It was a wonderful experience.” She hopes to return to D.C. for next year’s contest.
POETRY, NOT POMP
As the head of the English department at one of the schools named in your recent article on Poetry Out Loud, I am compelled to add my thoughts. I was disappointed to see the commentary on the gender and racial imbalance in the statewide finals — how the finalists are disproportionally female and black — mostly because the article had come very close to realizing what is one of the real controversies of this program: the line between acting and reciting. Poetry Out Loud suggests that “acting out [a] poem” should cost the student as much as a five-point deduction per judge, which ought to eliminate theatricality entirely. But theatrical performances still somehow reach the finals. If there is any imbalance that needs to be righted, it is not of gender or race. It is of valuing theatrical performance over poetry.
Benjamin Taylor Lally / Burlington High School
ON THE WATERFRONT
I just read the story about Boston’s waterfront (“The Boston Waterfront Has Arrived,” May 13). Exciting stuff! I was a Boston firefighter for 32 years, retiring as a district fire chief in 2001. During my career, I had many assignments in the areas mentioned in your well-written article. I saw the demise of many buildings due to both neglect and to the ravages of fire. I have visited Boston and its waterfront several times during the 11 years that I have lived away and have seen the positive transformations. I wish now that I were back in Boston, my hometown.
Robert M. Winston / Blue Ridge, Georgia
Very informative piece by Tom Keane on how the waterfront arrived, and so was Christie Matheson’s “What to Do There Now,” except for the fact that she left out so much. If I may, a few others: Strega Waterfront, Anthony’s Pier 4, J. Pace & Son, Del Frisco’s, Jerry Remy’s, and Temazcal. If you haven’t ventured to this part of town, you might think there was nothing worth seeing between the Moakley Courthouse and Legal Harborside.
Jay Grimes / Watertown
MORE ON MEL
Like Linda K. Wertheimer, I have enjoyed any number of Mel Gibson movies (Perspective, May 13). I cannot, however, understand the dichotomy that will allow her to continue to enjoy films made by such a hateful human being. I cannot separate the artist from the person afflicted with so many poisonous traits. Wertheimer is much more forgiving than I am able to be.
Richard E. Kaufman / Somerville
Wertheimer fell short of dealing with the entire issue. She may not wish to discard her old movies, and that is her right. However, as her friend pointed out, “we show our values with our pocketbook.” That is why I, a fan of both the Lethal Weapon franchise and Maverick, will never again rent a Gibson film, view one in a theater, or even watch one on TV, where he might earn residuals. More important, Wertheimer makes a gross misstatement when she writes, “Now, it’s not as if Gibson has committed evil acts.” Hurtful words and vitriolic outbursts against others are evil acts. Perhaps the lesson is that you shouldn’t judge a person by his “oh-so-blue eyes” but by what is behind the eyes and in the mind.
Michael Matfess / Topsfield
I am reluctantly compelled to respond to Wertheimer’s nauseatingly wimpy piece on Gibson’s vicious bigotry. Gibson, who put himself out to the public, thereby earning millions, was enabled at least in part by those he despises. To me, he is a nonperson.
Harvey E. Finkel / Brookline
The movies made by Gibson never were my cup of tea, but I was totally turned off by his drunken, misguided rants about Jews. And yet I loved Wertheimer’s essay. It was so human and similar to what a lot of us go through at various times deciding on how we feel. We all need to respect one another more.
M. Eleanor C. Lowry / Chelsea
A GRIEF OBSERVED
The relationship Gwen Romagnoli describes is beautiful, but I cry after reading her essays (Connections, April 29). I lost my dad more than a year ago, and I know that no matter how many of his old chores I do for my mom, I can’t ease her feelings of loss. This spring, I’ll plant tomatoes where my dad always planted them, I’ll clean up the leaves from around the lilies, and I’ll wash the windows. While I do, I’ll think of the loving years my parents spent working together, and I’ll think of Gwen and Franco, too. Thank you for sharing this process with us.
Laura Lamarre Anderson / Westford