Saturday, July 21, 2018

Book Review: 'Well Versed: To Shakespeare, Poets, and the Performing Arts' by Abdiel LeRoy

The handsome actor/former journalist/religion correspondent/author Abdiel LeRoy is a British-American whose life is largely inspired by the Bible, Shakespeare, and the great epic poem, 'Paradise Lost'. As a poet Abdiel embraces giant tasks – the lives of Elijah, Obama, Bush, and Trump in his VERSES VERSUS EMPIRE series, as well as the very fine DUELING THE DRAGON, THE GOURMET GOSPEL, THE CHRISTMAS TREE and now WELL VERSED. He also has worked as a broadcaster, financial analyst, and market commentator, while his passions also include Argentine Tango, Yoga, and competitive swimming. His voice both as a narrator for dramatic readings and on stage is being recognized as a brave new presence in the politics of the globe. As an actor, Abdiel has embodied most of the major Shakespearean roles, and on stages from New York to London to Beijing, though perhaps his most famous appearance is in the hit short-film series, ‘The Expert.’ He has also staged three one-man shows, including the famous children's tale, ‘Wind in the Willows.’

As his synopsis suggests, ‘If Dante had gone down to Argentina…This is what he might have come up with! A whirlwind tour through the performing arts of a secret underworld, a demonic descent into the depths of Tango's dark side, followed by an ascent to God's throne with an Old-Testament prophet! Meanwhile, the bard alights on the stages of three capital cities: London, Beijing, and Buenos Aires to dance with a writhing sistershood of shapeshifting goddesses, to spar with the villains of Shakespeare, and steal secret kisses with his star-crossed lovers. All this awaits you in this enchanted and enchanting book, where all the world's a stage and all of us are players! Now take your place among the immortals!’
Abdiel provides sectors form which to sail his poetry – odes to Shakespeare, Poets, to Poetry, On Publications, and to the Performing arts. The quality of the poetry remains at a very high level, no matter the wildness of his imagination or the simplicity of his homages to the arts.

What Dreams May Come
Homage to Shakespeare on his birthday, Apr. 23, 2001

And did that Muse of fiery countenance
Thou did'st entreat, alight on me? And did
That flame consume me in Promethean heat?
Priest of humanity, friend of the soul,
And father to dear England's progeny
Of poets, we your sons about your throne
Are substitutes until your kingdom come,
When we shall cast our crowns to thee in tribute
As tribune tributaries emptying
Into thy main of waters, Avon of
This sceptered isle, this brave new world, this Globe.
Thou lighted torch illuminating all,
Bestow a double measure of your spirit.
Better than Orpheus, whose golden touch,
With lute of poets' sinews strung, beguiled
Leviathan, thou hast redeemed me from
Oblivion and unto Heaven brought
On winged imagination with such stuff
As dreams are made on. May my little life
Be rounded with your sleep

For lovers of Shakespeare, fine writing, challenging thoughts, and a wondrous sensitive humor these poems and the journeys on which they take us will become part of the psyche – enabling us all to visions as transporting as Abdiel LeRoy. Outstanding. Grady Harp, July 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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