William Sockespeare Presents “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Shakespeare in the Vines, led by artistic director Preston Helms and board member and actress Sarah Gibbon, have created a sock puppet version of four Shakespeare plays. The first one–an hour-long version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”– was released this week. I’m honored to be one of six voice actors who play multiple characters in the shows. In MND, I play Duke Theseus, Demetrius, and Bottom. I hope you like it. The shows are aimed at young people ages 8 to 18, but I think everyone will find something to enjoy!

Two more poems from The Lyric (Winter 2021)

Here are two more of my poems published in Lyric poetry magazine. These are from the winter 2020 issue. I hope to submit more work to the magazine soon.


By Rob Crisell

I rest here on the ocean floor,

But once I rode upon the foam,

And carried soldiers off to war,

And bore them safely home. 

Now light drifts down to me below

As I gaze up at sapphire sky.

Upon my back bright starfish grow,

Within my chest dwell octopi.

An icy current weaves its way

Across my bones of rusted steel,

Reminding me of thrilling days

When gallant captains turned my wheel.

But I don’t mourn my damaged pride, 

Nor for my mortal labors long. 

I dream the salt and sigh the tide,

And sing the sea’s eternal song.


By Rob Crisell

A plot twist—Hamlet reaches middle age:

Claudius is killed at prayer some years before, 

Allowing Gertrude’s son to take the stage

With bride Ophelia, at Elsinore. 

He trades his scholar’s eye for Denmark’s throne,

His antic disposition vindicated;

His people prosperous, his children grown,

His father’s spirit well propitiated. 

And yet he wonders: Did he miss the point?

Did easy living dull his poet’s heart?

No tragic flaw; no time that’s out of joint;

Not even players move him with their art. 

He drinks his wine to spur the years along,

Suspecting someone, somewhere, got it wrong. 

Two Poems from The Lyric (Fall 2020)

Here are two more of my poems published in Lyric poetry magazine. These are from the fall 2020 issue.


By Robert Crisell

Wherein resides the soul of art–

The head or hands or restless heart?

Is it Chopin, Flaubert, Magritte?

Is it graffiti on a street?

A verse or picture that instills

Our mind with awe, our flesh with chills,

Might be the work of journeymen,

But does it matter in the end?

No matter craft or messy muddle,

No matter blunt or super-subtle,

Our endless longing to create

Is spirit-sent, immaculate.


By Robert Crisell

The vacant plains of arctic poles

Are nothing to our desert souls

When inward springs that nourish us

Dissolve to dust. 

The dust entwines us, blinds our vision, 

Abandons us without provision,

Confounds our spirit, till at last

Our hearts are ash.

But in the end, our mortal sting

Is cured by sempiternal spring,

That stirs the blood and melts the frost,

Redeeming cost.

Be grateful for your days of mirth,

But gather grain in case of dearth

And water for a time of drought,

And bear it out.