The Friday Poem ‘A sonnet’ by Lin-Manuel Miranda

At a moment of career recognition, ‘Hamilton’ creator, Lin Manuel-Miranda shared a sonnet for his wife and the world about family, tragedy and love. At it’s center was his response to the terrorist, hate crime in Orlando.

The New York Times Sunday Styles reporter, Katie Rosman, shared the ‘back story’ of the sonnet from creation to delivery on the Beacon Theater stage Sunday evening.

“…as the first grim reports out of Orlando, Fla., were circulating, Mr. Miranda took out his phone and began to tap out the sonnet he would read aloud that night while accepting the Tony for best score. In 14 lines he paid tribute to his wife, his son and the victims of the massacre.

Back at the Mandarin Oriental before curtain time, he realized he would need a printout of the verse he had written. He called the suite where his father was staying and asked him if he wouldn’t mind taking care of it. Luis, 61, said yes, and traveled down a flight, where his son handed him a thumb drive. Lin-Manuel had one stipulation: “He said, ‘Can you please not read it?’”

He went down the elevator, thumb drive in hand, toward the concierge desk. There, employees of the Mandarin Oriental sprang into action.

Back in the elevator, with the printout, the father did the very thing his son had asked him not to do: He read the sonnet.

“That’s like asking me not to drink water when it’s 90 degrees out,” Luis said. “I thought it was very moving and pretty and important for the moment.”

Back in the suite, Luis listened as Lin-Manuel read it aloud, practicing for the big moment.”

Yesterday Mr. Miranda announced a fundraising effort, for Equality Florida. Revenue will be generated by the sale of a T shirt with words from the sonnet. “Here’s a thing that speaks for itself. I’m very excited about it and it’s a way you can help.” 

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The sonnet has been published in a variety of outlets since the awards ceremony. After the horror of this past week, there was no other choice for The Friday Poem.

My wife’s the reason anything gets done
She nudges me towards promise by degrees
She is a perfect symphony of one
Our son is her most beautiful reprise
We chase the melodies that seem to find us until they’re finished songs and start to play
When senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing here is promised, not one day
The show is proof that history remembers
We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger
We rise and fall and light from dying embers
Remembrances that hope and love last longer
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love
Cannot be killed or swept aside
I sing Vanessa’s symphony
Eliza tells her story
Now fill the world with music, love, and pride

Lin Manuel-Miranda   June 12, 2016

 

Workthoughts from outside the margins

Was anyone working yesterday? As social media and cable news forecast the financial apocalypse, I escaped to my ‘go to’ twitter account of Tony winning composer, lyricist and actor, Lin-Manuel Miranda. (For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past year, he is the leader of the merry band of actors who have been recreating the life of Alexander Hamilton on Broadway in nine performances per week this summer.)

And for those of you who think Twitter is an intellectual wasteland, time to get on board. You are missing out on at least one connection with an innovator who is truly transforming the American musical.

Innovation is one of our most overused words, but John Kander, composer of ‘Cabaret’ and ‘Chicago’ used that exact word to describe Mr. Miranda earlier this month in a New York Times profile.

“Innovators are usually synthesizers — they synthesize everything they know and add their own personal talents, and out comes something new,” Mr. Kander said. “What Lin is is a refreshing and healthy contemporary synthesist of everything he’s known before.”

But I digress. Back to Monday and Twitter and @Lin_Manuel. Let’s just say he has a high level of interaction with his followers. And one of those followers, @jjaxtweets, posted ‘My annual back to school post’, which #YayHamlet retweeted. And here is the message.

“Keep an eye out for that kid in the back of your classroom, scribbling in the margins. He or she is dreaming of worlds we haven’t yet imagined, scribbling toward a place we haven’t yet seen. Engage those kids, get them out of the margins, and there’s no telling where they may lead you.”

This is where a career begins. A parent, a teacher taking time to engage the child scribbling in the margins.

How do you get to Broadway or whatever your dream might be? You really, really need to love what you are doing. Check out the YouTube videos of the Ham4Ham performances between shows for those in the ticket lottery line and you get the idea.

Infuse your dream with the essence of those first scribbles, and the relationships you build over time.

Connect the dots and synthesize everything you know. Constantly nurture your talent. Lifelong learning has no expiration date.

Work really, really hard and have fun.

I think the ‘kid in the back of the classroom’ was Lin-Manuel Miranda. Or was it you?