Is it cheating to celebrate National Poetry Month by watching a movie about poetry? It depends on the movie. Here are ten classics about poets and poetry—from “Dead Poet’s Society” to “Il Postino.”
Poetry has a knack for capturing souls–the souls of a person, a place, and in this case, the soul of the series RECTIFY, thanks to poets Jennifer L. Knox and Leanne Grabel.
Our poet friend Mark Bibbins is the author of “The Dance of No Hard Feelings”, a prof in the graduate writing programs at The New School and Columbia, and the poetry editor of The Awl (“Be Less Stupid”), where he features one or two pieces by a poet each week. His latest selection — “Romeo + Juliet Poem” by Krystal Languell, who’s on the board of the Belladonna* Collaborative — really caught our attention: It’s fun, sexy, visceral (see excerpt below). Since our enjoyment of good poetry usually involves quoting THE PRINCESS BRIDE (“No more rhymes now, I mean it.” “Anybody want a peanut?”), we asked Mark to give us some insight into this particular poem.
photo of a page from Rich’s “An Atlas of a Difficult World” via Flickr
Last Wednesday, the great American poet Adrienne Rich died (1929-2012). If you ever took a “Contemporary American Poetry” class in college, then she surely holds a special place in your artistic heart. In her influential poetry and essays, she explored her identity as a political activist, a feminist and a lesbian (which was bold for the time — and still is, sadly, in some circles). Here are some of our favorite lines of Rich’s poetry about love, sex, sexuality and gender:
Over the past year or so I’ve observed haikus, that “less is more” form of Japanese poetry, making a quiet stealthy encroachment and presence upon online pop culture through a variety of means. Some of these I’ve mentioned around these SUNfiltered parts, which makes me wonder whether we’re witnessing an emergence of haikus and a comeback for the genre of poems in general back into something possibly more mainstream or at the least “meme-stream.” I had written earlier about a reader of the New York Times online edition who has gained some small measure of fame for his comments left in limerick form. The best recent example of the merging of pop culture with poetry occurred when Salman Rushdie tweeted his thoughts on the Kim Kardashian divorce in limerick form. In fact, the latest issue of New York Magazine’s Intelligencer focused on the poets or at least on the tough economic realities of that noble profession (Walt Whitman had a second job as a government clerk). If you’re not convinced of my thesis on the pop emergence of poems, but specifically haikus, I turn your attention to the following exhibits.
Embarrassing diary entries, old yearbook photos, junior high love letters — it’s all fun and games until someone breaks out their unhinged teenage anti-choice poetry.
It’s not often that you wake up to NPR and hear Garrison Keillor saying “slut” over and over again, but today was a lucky day! His AM installment of The Writer’s Almanac, a five minute collection of poetry and literary history, concluded with the poem “Promiscuous” by William Matthews, from Search Party: Collected Poems, which is like Wheaties for feminist linguistic nerds who majored in English and keep deep-thought journals. Here’s the first half. Read the rest at Writer’s Almanac:
For O, Miami, a poetry festival held in April, Agustina Woodgate visited various thrift stores and stitched small labels with various verses of poems printed on them, such as this one by Li Po: “Life is a huge dream why work so hard?” And that is your deep thought for the upcoming weekend.
I saw POETRY last week and was moved by many elements, one of which being the simple fact that this long, contemplative feature is about — sit down now — an elderly female protagonist. Hollywood it ain’t. Sixty-six year old Mija (Jeong-hie Yun) has two recent challenges: memory loss and a sullen teenage grandson, whose escapades with his friends, we later discover, make the trouble one hundred fold for his grandma. In fact, in Lee’s accomplished second feature, the world of men – their desires and back-room dealings — are the root of most of Mija’s problems, and her quiet strategies toward solutions are a major force of subversion, even rebellion. But does she feel like a kick-ass protagonist with a big bad agenda? Hell, no.
One of my favorite small little surprises in life (yes, it doesn’t take much…) is when I’m reading the New York Times online and I come across one of Larry Eisenberg’s limericks left in the comments box of an article. Today 91 years old, Mr. Eisenberg is a published science fiction writer who gained some fame in the 1970s for his stories. A few years ago readers of the Times started noticing humorous and witty limericks left by a “Larry Eisenberg” that started gaining a cult following from people like myself. It turns out this Larry and the science fiction writer are the same. Today I was reading this Times piece on dogs in schools and enjoyed a little spark of joy at seeing a new limerick from Mr. Eisenberg:
As a long time Dog lover, I say,
Dogs better us, ev’ry which way,
In love, loyalty,
Between you and me,
On Campus Dogs should win the day!
The SF Signal interviewed him a couple years ago:
The Art of Drowning from Diego Maclean on Vimeo. In the above video, THE ART OF DROWNING, filmmaker and animator Diego Maclean brings to life the poem of the same name written by Billy Collins. Collins also reads the verse here on the film, a tale of what one sees when their life flashes before…
I’ve documented here a few instances where comic genius William Shatner has read Sarah Palin’s words aloud as beat poetry, poking fun at her stupidity. Well he’s at it again. But this times she’s hit back. On Conan O’Brien’s show the other night Shatner read ridiculous passages from Palin’s Going Rogue. And then he had…
How can you not love William Shatner? He was dashing, and kitsch, as Captain Kirk. His Denny Crane was a brilliant reinvention. And I actually watch his Priceline commercials. And who watches commercials these days? No one. Exactly. In his 70s now, Shatner’s career has gone up and down. But this week he returned to his spoken-word…