A Poet Awakened by Elephants

As poetry month comes to a close we leave you with the words of our resident poet Arnie Reisman.

A Poet Awakened by Elephants

A flash of memory, a bolt of melody
Emily Dickinson slept between them
Scraps of paper and a pencil beside her
Soon to turn into the sheet music of her soul

Some nights she found herself writing in jots
Some dawns she woke up ahead of her time
In the capacious conservatory in her mind
She could hear Ella Fitzgerald singing

One summer sleep in the warmth of her Amherst
It sounded like muffled drum beats coming closer
She got up and looked out her second-floor window
Light crept up through the marrow of the morning

Nearby at the train station boxcars disgorged their cargo
Circus elephants galumphed out and down Main Street
In a fashionable flow between her home and the hay field
Ambling their biddable way to the town green

Passing Emily’s witness tree in the early hours
With thoughts of performing human tricks before noon
Do their big ears magnify the thumping of their feet?
An ambiguous sight as American as chicken-fried steak

Elephants came to town like words came to her
On parade in syncopated lumber
Trunks entwined with tails
A nightwriter, she did tricks with a pencil

Instructions condensed in iambs
Constructed with the spareness of Shakers
Rhapsodically woven with moral fiber
Suitable for framing like the sampler on her wall

An unfettered imagination all her own
Like that of a child who can lose her way
Between a sugar factory and a spinning mill
And have a perfectly clear vision of cotton candy

Under the sitting branches of the witness tree
(Thoughts extreme among stretched extremities)
Some would look up and see clouds, she would
See & hear listless elephants, humming & knitting

–Arnie Reisman

Points for Playing

Paul from Watertown, MA listens to Says You! On WGBH and inquired about the team that almost always comes in last:

Often the audience gets points. Has the audience ever won, or, if not, what’s the most they’ve ever got?

Often, when a question has stumped everyone one on stage, someone in the audience will know the answer and will earn the audience some or all of the ten points. This occasionally occurs more than once in a game: most recently in episode SY-2107 from Salt Lake City in which the audience racked up an impressive 23-point total.

Officially, the audience has never actually won the game, or even come in second, though there have been times during the course of a game when they’ve moved into a solid second place.

The band has occasionally been awarded points as well, as have the scorekeepers. In our twenty years there have also been a few audience-participation rounds (e.g., the Biofictionary round in SY-802) in which gift certificates were awarded to specific audience members. And in the Listeners’ Challenge rounds (e.g., SY-403), correspondents earned as many as 30 points.

The structure of the game is such that the maximum score across both teams is generally 200 points, while the maximum a single team can amass is 110 points. Very infrequently, a game will come close to one or the other of these maxima.

However, these numbers don’t take into account the possibility of bonus points. The highest score ever recorded is from SY-2108 (our 500th episode), which Francine’s team won with a total of 1,090 points. The production crew briefly considered whether to run out and buy a second two-digit score flipper.


Driveway Déjà Vu

Nolan from Hayward, CA heard a round that sounded all too familiar…

I tuned into the KQED broadcast (out of San Francisco) on 4/14/18 of a show that was recorded in Monterey Bay, California. My husband and I had just returned home from wine tasting in the Livermore Valley when — to my surprise — you introduced a series of questions submitted by me some time ago. We had our own driveway moment, as I refused to let my husband turn off the key.

We love to hear driveway moments. Share yours in the comments!

Sharp Nine Setlist

Barbara listens to Says You! on KUOW from Tacoma, WA and is looking to add a few new songs to her playlist. Sharp Nine bandleader Enrique Rios-Ellis couldn’t remember what songs were played in which show, so he sent us the whole setlist! 

Is there a name to the piece of music sharp nine was playing Apr 7?

Tema “Says You” by Enrique Rios-Ellis (Huapango from Mexico)

So Danço Samba by Antonio Carlos Jobim (Samba from Brazil)

La Bikina by Rubén Fuentes (Huapango from Mexico)

Frenesí by Alberto Dominguez Borrás (Cha cha chá from Cuba)

Como Fué by Ernesto Duarte Brito (Cha cha chá from Cuba)

Wave by Antonio Carlos Jobim (Bossa Nova from Brazil)

Frequent Guest in HBO’s Paterno

What do Says You! panelists do when they’re not inventing definitions or deciphering cryptic puns? Tom Kemp, 37 time Says You! panelist, has always kept himself busy; acting in television and dozens of films like Shutter Island, Mystic River, and Manchester By The Sea.

If you’re a fan of Tom’s smarts on Says You!, check out his part in the HBO original movie Paterno, directed by Barry Levinson. Paterno tells the story of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno (Al Pacino), one of the most successful coaches in college football history, as his legacy is forever tarnished by the crimes and cover-up of Jerry Sandusky. Tom plays Graham Spanier, former president of Penn State during the scandal.


Live in Nashville! On Sale Now!

Join the cast of Says You! for a Father’s Day Special Event! Sunday, June 17th at 2:00 PM, Says You! heads to Nashville for a live performance filled with southern style wordplay. Carolyn Faye Fox, Murray Horwitz, Francine Achbar, Barry Nolan, and a couple of Nashville wordsmiths will be playing our game!

Nashville Public Radio is offering a limited number of VIP packages – two tickets in the first four rows and an intimate pre-show Q&A with the cast – for a $150 donation.


This Week on Says You!

Deb Hiett has performed in such diverse Off-Broadway shows as Henry V, Crimes of the Heart, Whisky Down, and the European tour of West Side Story. She has appeared as an actress on Arrested Development, Parks and Recreation, The Office, Boston Legal, and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, and in several web series. Deb’s play Miss Keller Has No Second Book has just made its world debut at the Gulfshore Playhouse.
Erin McKean is the founder of Wordnik.com. Previously, she was the editor in chief for American Dictionaries at Oxford University Press, and the editor of the New Oxford American Dictionary, 2E. Erin is the author of three Weird and Wonderful Words books, the best-selling novel The Secret Lives of Dresses, and (most recently) The Hundred Dresses, a field guide to dresses. She’s written regular columns for The Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal and her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, PAPER, Foreign Affairs, and Sew News.
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Listen on your local station

Verbs with a view – this week on Says You!

Listen On Your Local Station

VIP Tickets to Says You! Live in Asheville are now available!

VIP tickets for Says You! Live in Asheville are now available! VIP tickets include orchestra seating and an intimate Q&A before the show – take a seat early and learn how our panelists got where they are, and where they’re heading. What was your first gig in radio? Why do you know so much about Nordic Astrology? Is it hard to write a bluff in under three minutes?

Make sure to purchase VIP tickets for your chance to ask the questions.


Q&A Tickets

Screenings of Henry David Thoreau: Surveyor of the Soul

Huey Coleman played on our panel in Concord, Ma, just down the road from Walden Pond. His latest film, Henry David Thoreau: Surveyor of the Soul, will be screening around the country and premiering in Europe this spring. Every screening features a Q&A with Huey. Learn more about his films and screenings here: http://www.filmsbyhuey.com
  • April 12, 7PM, Browning Cinema, DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, University of Notre Dame. With Laura Dassow Walls, author, Henry David Thoreau, A Life, and featured in the film.
  • May 2, 16:45, Wallenberg Center, Gothenburg, Sweden,  European Premiere
  • May 24, 7PM, Frontier Cinema, Brunswick, Maine