Self-Portrait of a stunt woman

vivienWhat do you do when you find out you’ve got a little bit of Hollywood in the family? You write a poem about it!

By the picture you might think I’m suggesting I’m related to the talented and beautiful Vivien Leigh…..well, not quite! Through my beloved late grandmother, Wilma Dare Hash Thomas, I’m a distant cousin of Addie Hash Warp, the woman who doubled for Vivien Leigh in that famous staircase tumble in Gone with the Wind.

Unfortunately, I never met Addie (who passed away in 2008) but she was a renowned equestrienne who also doubled for Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet, among other movie roles. In Addie’s own words, “I was black and blue for a while. But I knew how to fall.”

In honor of Addie (and of course Vivien), I wrote a poem “Self-Portrait of Stunt Double for Vivien Leigh Falling Down the Stairs in Gone with the Wind” that appears in Turnpike Magazine, Issue No. 4.   Here I focus on the jitters I imagine must face all stunt people, no matter how experienced they are, when faced with the daunting task of falling down a long staircase AND filling in for a star. Can you imagine? As for me, I’m a chicken who’s only been on a horse once in her life.

Turnpike also kindly published my poem “Ode to the Goddess of Missing Tools,” which is a comic tribute to my husband and all the tools that mysteriously slip through the cracks of our house. There’s a little bit of magic at work here, I’m sure.

The fun of a “self-portrait” style poem is that you can imagine yourself as anyone, famous or not, and write from their point of view. It’s a terrific form of escapism and creativity. So….if you’ve always been fascinated by someone and would like to walk (or fall!) in their shoes, give this prompt a try today.




Poem #2: My Cousin, Stunt Double for Vivien Leigh

Scarlett’s famous tumble down the stairs was one of the scenes handled by Addie and the subject of today’s poem

Happy Sunday and welcome to Day 2 of my personal quest to write a poem every day in the month of April. Today, I am tackling the “persona” poem and the narrator speaks as Addie Hash Warp, a champion equestrienne and stunt double for Vivien Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, and more.

I’m honored to be one of 9 poets participating in the 30/30 project on behalf of Tupelo Press. To see my poem for today, scroll down in the alphabetical list to read “Self-Portrait of Stunt Woman for Vivien Leigh Falling Down the Stairs.”

Although Addie and I never met (she passed away in 2008), she and I are distant cousins (through my grandmother Wilma Hash Thomas).  With a generous dose of poetic license, I imagine what it must have been like for a brief moment in Addie’s extraordinary life.

If you love poetry, I hope you’ll consider supporting a poet this month. If you’d like, you may also read my poem yesterday (scroll down the list to Day 1):  “Too Bad You Were Never Mine.”

Because I hope that my family and friends, fellow writers, and the subscribers of my blog believe in me, I’m hoping that you’ll read my work when you can, and consider supporting me with a small donation. Supportive comments on this blog are also very welcome, because they inspire me to keep going!

Tupelo Press is a prestigious non-profit press, and for 17 years their mission has been to publish new voices. They are giving my work some exposure, and bringing me into a community of over 350 alumni helping each other publish our work. I hope you consider supporting me, and supporting this amazing press I am representing this month.