ABC’s of Memory

by Lenny Lianne
  • 10 - 60 minutes
  • 1 - 50 M or F

Auditions, Monologue, spoken word, Spoken Word Theatre, Variable Length, Reader's Theater


Lianne’s ABCs of Memory touch on cultural milestones such as Elvis, Nancy Drew, Wonder Bread, 9-11, and Ty Cobb, as well as personal memories of family life. These poems both celebrate and mourn America’s past and present.

These are dramatic poems. Life happens. Events occur. Here is an elegy for our American Dream. As such. these poems are naturals for forensics, scene study, and spoken word events.


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  • Review Script 12.95 Watermarked PDF Download
  • Hardcopy 14.95 Delivery 1- 3 Weeks
  • Multi-Copy PDF 58.79 Printable PDF for Cast/Crew
  • Class/Group Study 75.00 Printable PDF for Multiple Copies

Performance Fee $60.00 A Production License Fee Per Performance (mandatory for all performances)

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Play Details


“Lenny Lianne’s newest volume of poetry, The ABCs of Memory, from ScriptWorks Press, mashes two books of poetry, with opposing ideals, together, a tradition that hearkens back to Blake, An Alphabet from An Ample Nation, and An Alphabet of Modest Means. Memory strikes a contemporary chord, cherishing the past while tightening the belt on the future, a theme most Americans could identify within these recent years of economic recovery.

American Cultural Milestones

Lianne’s ABCs are broad in depth and range, and touch on cultural milestones such as Elvis, Nancy Drew, Wonder Bread, 9-11, and Ty Cobb, as well as personal memories of her family. These poems are celebrations, elegies, and like the titles of the books, or parts suggest, hint at a plethora of riches, or a plethora of troubles, big and small.

Lianne speaks with authority about young men drafted into war in “Basic Training” and young boys peeking at their Centerfold cousin in “Finding the Playmate of the Month.” Lianne doesn’t just recount these memories, invented or real, but often questions them, mourns for them without evoking false pride or anger.

Poetry as a Unifying Voice

The ABCs of Memory could easily fall into sentimentality, we are talking about memories. We are talking about cultural heroes. Lost wonders of the good old days, but Lianne does not allow the poems to do so. She steers them towards a unified bridge, another great American tradition–unifying the country through poetic voice, where all emotional landscapes butt up against each other, like so many state lines running parallel and perpendicular.

One of the finer poems, “Velocity and Other Variables”, begins as a memory of boys throwing olives but ends as a meditation on war, as if all the world’s violence is seeded in the youthful volley of spitballs, baseballs, and olives.

This volume manages to be both grand and humble, her form is crafted, though not too formal for non-academics, but her language is direct and frank, allowing images and emotions to breathe, puffing up, or shrinking up as they will. Mostly the perspectives are from the white middle class, a shrinking population as America trudges forth in the 21st century.

That’s not a criticism, mind you, but rather a reminder that what made the country great in the 20th century was the ordinary people in the middle who built, loved, sang, drank, died, and fought for something we used to call the American Dream. Something that perhaps belongs in America’s euro-white-centric past.

And in that sense Lianne’s book is an elegy for the American Dream, as it once was, for that ideal is changing with globalization and a leaner economy. The ABC’s of Memory is a reminder that the voice of America has gotten broader and deeper, and more complex.” – Scott Whitaker, The Broadkill Review

A Half-century in Poetry

Lenny Lianne’s poems run the gamut of contemporary experience. From “An Ample Nation” which introduces the first of the 2 alphabetical sections through “Elegy for a Pitchman” and “Man Who Shoots Cats” to the final poem “Zzyzx Road Exit,” she explores the rage, outrage and wonder of contemporary life. “Lenny Lianne’s poems in ‘The ABCs of Memory’ are like sharpened snapshots of local color against a backdrop of American folly and longing spanning the last half-century. Alternately gritty, sexy, lofty, tender, and deeply ironic, they raise a strident cry for independence from the stale attitudes of the past.” D.D. Delaney: Actor; Writer; Author of The Holy Fool, and Pastures of the Sun.

Found for:

  • Poetic Drama
  • Spoken Word
  • Seniors entertainment
  • Comedy
  • Drama
  • Monologues
  • Poetry Reading competitions

From the Play


Fellow vendors pulled the plug
on the versatile Vita-Mix blender,
set aside the Miracle Blade III,
squeezed dry ShamWows
and closed the Keepeez Lids

in countless county and state
fairs, in a myriad of home shows,
to mark the passing of a master
—one of their own tribe—
with a moment or two of silence

even though the late Billy Mays,
as seen on TV, was repeatedly
loud, like a faith healer hollering
for the dark forces of the devil
to rise out of the foul and the frail.

An industrial-strength shouter
pitching Oxi-Clean or Lint-Be-Gone,
he’d grasped that the key to sales
was simply in selling himself first,
belting out, “Hi, Billy Mays here”

before proclaiming the merits
of Mighty Mendit or Kaboom
to an audience needing to believe
their earthly life would be easier
with the miracles he preached.


  • Metropolitan Community College, Kansas City, 7th December 2022

    Metropolitan Community College, Kansas City,

    7th December 2022

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