Jeremy Irons Reads ‘Life is Juicy’ by Leonard Bernstein

WGBH’s Classical.org has just released an exclusive audio recording of Leonard Bernstein’s poem “Life is Juicy,” as read by actor Jeremy Irons.

Click on the player below to hear actor Jeremy Irons read “Life is Juicy,” by Leonard Bernstein:

Audio of Jeremy Irons recorded by Mark Travis, engineer, New York Philharmonic. Special thanks to Jamie Bernstein, author of Famous Father Girl, and Barbara Haws, the New York Philharmonic archivist. 

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Photo via Mark Travis

Life is Juicy

(Written in a cottage
on the mucky shore of
Lake Mah-kee-nak
Stockbridge, Massachusetts
2 July 1947)

Life begins in the waters—
Not the deep, but the borders of land:
The stagnants that nourish the sterile earth
Like a juicy gland.

Life is the seed of the marriage
Of liquid and solid events.
In the coves, in the swamps, in mysterious pools,
Our heartaches commence.

Life is the pulp and the slime,
The marshmallow bellies of frogs,
Their thyroided eyes, their eggjellies caught
On the rotting logs.

Life is the algae, the roe;
The army of maggoty breeds
Devouring the corpse of a very old perch
Adrift in the weeds.

Life is the plasm, the cells,
The fat symbiotics in pairs;
The ankledeep fungoids which darkly provide
The crawfish with lairs.

Life is the scaly and scummy,
The poisonous green without breath;
The marinal maze whose only solution
Is ultimate death.

For Death is the crisp and the clean,
The fine oxidation, the rust,
The spermless, the painless, the classic, the lean,
The dry, dry dust.


 

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Leonard Bernstein photo by Paul de Hueck courtesy of the Leonard Bernstein Office

Classical.org will release several approximately 20 poems by the legendary musician including some never before seen Bernstein poems. A Bernstein poem read by actress Laila Robbins will be released next week.

WGBH launched The Bernstein Experience on Classical.org this year as part of a year-long celebration of the music, life and legacy of the conductor, composer, educator, and humanitarian who would celebrate his 100th birthday on August 25, 2018. 

Bernstein’s poem celebrates bucolic summers at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Hear actor Jeremy Irons read “Life is Juicy,” by Leonard Bernstein on The Bernstein Experience on Classical.org:  http://bit.ly/life-is-juicy_b100

To learn more about the life of Leonard Bernstein and the scope the Bernstein at 100 celebration, please visit: https://bernstein.classical.org/about/.

Trashed Screening with Jeremy Irons in Skibbereen

Jeremy Irons attended a screening of his film Trashed, followed by a Q&A, at a fundraiser in aid of Village Well in Lesotho, South Africa, on Thursday 23rd August 2018.

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From The Southern Star newspaper:

Story by Kieran O’Mahony

SKIBBEREEN Town Hall was full to capacity recently for ‘An Evening with Jeremy Irons’ – which included the screening of the award-winning documentary Trashed which features the Oscar winner – as well as an extended Q&A afterwards with Mr Irons and microbiologist Dr Niall O’Leary from UCC.

As well as discussing the issue of waste, the event, with the aid of David and Patsy Puttnam, was also a fundraiser for a well-building project in Lesotho, South Africa and over €2,000 was raised through ticket sales.

Organiser Kay Quinn said: ‘It was a very successful evening and Jeremy Irons took time to show the community the documentary about how our waste is thrown out and forgotten, and how we must re-evaluate this attitude to valuable asset.

‘It was suggested on the night that every school in Ireland should be shown this documentary and the screening was a wake-up call for all of us to re-think plastic in particular,’ she said.

She also thanked David and Patsy Puttnam who brought Dr Niall O’Leary to answer any of the scientific questions which were asked by the audience in the Q&A session.

‘A special thanks to Jeremy Irons who gave up his time to show us his concern for our environment, while also helping to raise funds for the water wells in Lesotho at the same time,’ said Mrs Quinn.

‘We would also like to thank Anne Minihane and Stephen Bean for taking the photographs and Darragh Murphy for the sound.’

Following the screening of the documentary, which has won several international film awards, both Jeremy Irons and Dr O’Leary  took part in the Q&A under the guidance of Declan McCarthy as MC.

This turned into a lengthy discussion which touched on the proposed plastics factory which has been planned for Skibbereen.

Speaking afterwards Dr O’Leary said the Q&A with the local audience ‘was very engaged, running twice as long as planned and revealed a well-informed local community who are very concerned with the issue of plastics use, waste and disposal.’

He added that since Trashed was filmed in 2012, global plastic production and waste generation and disposal figures have only increased in the intervening period.

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All photos by Stephen Bean

 

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