Poetry in Motion . . . Pictures: The Uneasy Marriage Between Poetry and Film
There are not a lot of movies about poets, which is probably a good thing. It’s just not easy to make riffling through a dictionary looking for a word that rhymes with angst cinematically compelling, and the act of writing—even with a quill pen--is seldom as riveting as a good car chase. Nor do most poets live lives that lend themselves to anything beyond Hal Hartley-style absurdist vérité.
If the above did not discourage you, and you are dead-set on seeing your life whittled down to an hour and fifteen excruciating minutes, there are a couple things you will need to work on: first, you will need to procure some high cheekbones, fiery or steely blue eyes, and any other markers of physical beauty you can scrape together, Secondly, you will need to die young--of consumption, or tragically—ideally--both.
Now, the fact that the former is pretty much out of one’s hands from birth and/or cost prohibitive on a poet’s budget, and the latter by definition precludes one from actually enjoying the perquisites of Hollywood hagiography, it’s probably best that we all settle for everlasting glory and untold oodles of cash from actually writing poems.
I can see by the look in your eye that it is useless to try to talk you out of it, so you better start boning up on the competition. Below are some of the movies about or involving poets from Harris County Public Library's collection.
If I left out your favorite, please let me know.
The Basketball Diaries Leonardo DiCaprio plays poet Jim Carroll in the film adaptation of his memoir.
The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca Andy Garcia plays the great Spanish poet murdered by Franco's fascists.
My Left Foot Daniel Day Lewis as the poet and painter Christy Brown.
Il Postino Pablo Neruda plays a supporting role to a mailman.
Sylvia Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig as Sylvia and Ted.
Tom & Viv Willem Defoe as T.S. Eliot, and Miranda Richardson as his first wife Vivienne Haigh-Wood.
Photo: Mayan Again by GIRLintheCafe
Photo: Cover art, sound recording of Sylvia Plath's Bell Jar