Biographical Poetry posted December 10, 2023

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A Star is Born

Barbra Streisand

by Debbie D'Arcy

Poem of the Month Contest Winner 
A Jewish girl from poverty,
with outlook quite forlorn:
the facts belie the truth, you see
right here - A Star is Born.
Those early years saw Barbra yearn
attention that was rare.
Her Mother would dismiss and spurn
the gift Babs sought to share.
Somewhere in song she found true gain
to lift and spread her name
and beauty would emerge from plain
to pave her path to fame.
Her Songbird's voice would echo through
her home and leave its mark
with Promises and dreams that grew,
no more Left in the Dark.
For Broadway then would shine its light,
anoint her on the stage.
This Funny Girl with future bright
had swiftly come of age.
She worked with grit to prove her worth,
so Guilty she'd derail
a challenge that had meant the earth, 
she knew she dare not fail.
And People loved her style and wit
that dazzled roles she played.
While flying high, she'd never quit-
Don't Rain on my Parade!
She sang of love and poignancy,
Emotion that would stir,
so tenderly her Memory
of life The Way we Were.
And though her heart would often stray
across so many years,
with Brolin* she remains today
in love with No More Tears.
A democrat, philanthropist,
she wages vocal fights
to tear down Walls, aspire, resist
the threat to human rights.
For sixty years  or more, her dream
of fame is Evergreen,
A songster who found self-esteem,
still reigns, the diva queen.

Poem of the Month
Contest Winner



Visual courtesy of Google free pics.
My thanks to Karenina for the suggestion of this subject.
Song/film titles have been used for the poetic purpose of the biography and may not necessarily relate to the context of the songs or the period. Dates in brackets refer to song/film release.

Stanza 1- 2 A Star is Born (song 1976; versions of film: 1976 and 2018 with 2 predating Barbra's time); Mother (1971)
Barbara Joan Streisand (later changing the spelling of her first name though, despite advice, not the surname) was born in Brooklyn, NYC to Jewish parents: her father a school teacher, her mother a soprano in her youth. Her father died when she was about 15 months old and the family fell into near poverty as a result. This loss of a paternal figure made Barbra feel like an outcast. She has also said that, when she wanted love from her mother, she got food and was never encouraged to entertain show business because of her childhood looks.

Stanza 3 - 4 Somewhere (1985); Songbird (1977); Promises (1980); Left in the Dark (1984) Despite feeling overshadowed in other ways, she became known as the girl on the block with a good voice and would enjoy the echoing sounds when she sang in the hallway of her apartment building. Her voice was later described as semi-operatic (mezzo-soprano).

Stanza 5 - 6 Funny Girl (1968); Guilty (1980 - 22nd studio album)
She craved fame and getting out of Brooklyn. After a period as a nightclub singer and off-Broadway performer and corroborating with Neil Diamond, she began attracting interest and a fan base. She debuted on Broadway in 1962 in the musical comedy I Can Get It For You Wholesale receiving a Tony Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. This was later followed by the smash hit Funny Girl. Her strong work ethic and determination to prove her mother wrong were reaping huge rewards.

Stanza 7 People (1964); Don't Rain on my Parade (1964)
Her humour and wit won her instant popularity and she appeared on TV shows as well as excelling in film (acting, directing and producing), theatre and musical performance. Don't Rain on my Parade reflected her thriving ambition.

Stanza 8 - 9 Emotion (1984 23rd studio album); Memory (1984); The Way we Were (1973); No More Tears (1979)
Her marriage to actor Elliott Gould in 1963 lasted until 1971 and produced one son, Jason Gould who appeared as her on-screen son in The prince of Tides. She has been married to her second husband, actor James Brolin since 1998.

Stanza 10-11 Walls (2018 36th studio album); Evergreen (1976)
Her strong political belief in social justice infuses her professional career and personal life: her willingness to put money where her mouth is has resulted in some vicious attacks from those holding opposing views but that has never stopped her acting on her beliefs. She support many humanitarian causes through her Streisand Foundation and has been a dedicated environmentalist for many years.

She is one of the most successful personalities in show business and the only person ever to receive all of the following: Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, Cable Ace, National Endowment for the Arts and Peabody Awards, Kennedy Centre Honour, American Film's Lifetime Achievement Honour and the Film Society of Lincoln Chaplin Award. Oscars for; best original song (A Star is Born); best actress (Funny Girl) and shared with Katherine Hepburn (The Lion in Winter).

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