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Martha: The Life and Work of Martha Graham

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  6 reviews
A fascinatingly frank, beautiful and revealing portrait of one of the supreme artists of this century, by the famous choreographer and writer who knew her for more than 60 years. 32 pages of photographs.
Hardcover, 509 pages
Published August 20th 1991 by Random House
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Pamela Hawley
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's an autobiography by Agnes De Mille covering her whole dance career, and struggles as a dancer, choreographer and with pantomime. Covers many industry greats in LA in the1930s, Hollywood. Fascinating! Martha Graham tops it off with a quote at the end of book which is very inspiring, it’s about keeping the channel of creative energy, unique and open.
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it
It's a very long read, and some of the timeline is organized in a confusing way. The style of writing and vocabulary is very different than what is currently used today, so much that I used a dictionary regularly while reading this book! However, Agnes' admiration and love for Martha shines through. It's also a great read if you want insight into a highly creative mind.
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What an exciting and fascinating biography! I knew little to nothing of Martha Graham, other than her amazing dances. Ms. DeMille, writing with adroitness, insight, tenderness and total honest brings her amazing subject to full life and leaves the reader breathless with awe at Martha the person, Martha the dancer, Martha the innovator, Martha the artist, Martha the genius and Martha the woman. Truly and extraordinary read!
Dec 26, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A must-read for the modern dance lover. I am not, but I did enjoy Ms. DeMille's thoroughness of writing (to a point - I must admit that I skimmed over much of her descriptions of the dances in the last half of the book as I was more interested in Graham's life than her work).

Jan 05, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: not-on-amazon
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“I confessed that I had a burning desire to be excellent, but no faith that I could be.

Martha said to me, very quietly: “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. As for you, Agnes, you have so far used about one-third of your talent.”

“But,” I said, “when I see my work I take for granted what other people value in it. I see only its ineptitude, inorganic flaws, and crudities. I am not pleased or satisfied.”

“No artist is pleased.”

“But then there is no satisfaction?”

“No satisfaction whatever at any time,” she cried out passionately. “There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
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