Saturday, April 04, 2009
Dead Poets Society
I'm not sure how it is that I missed this movie when it was in its heyday, but I wouldn't have appreciated it much in 1989 anyway because I hadn't yet fully developed a love of poetry. Oh, I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it.
The poet-teacher (Robin Williams) sparks a love of poetry in his preppy students, and in the process they learn to think, to feel, to appreciate beauty, to take risks, and to seize the day (carpe diem!) I've come to believe that poetry is an indispensable tenet of a liberal (generous) education, and that yes--- it really can contribute significantly to the health of society.
I loved watching Robin William's (a.k.a. John Keating) joi de vivre and his unorthodox teaching methods. Learn about poetry cadences by doing military drills outside. View the world from a different angle by standing on the desk. Read poetry by candlelight in a dark cave. Evoke laughing and weeping from your students by living with them.
There's a bit of tragedy in this movie, and some rough spots that I would speed over quickly when watching with children. The poetic word set events in motion amongst these typical high school students, having an almost domino-effect on their lives. Witnessing it makes me want to "eat and drink the precious words" all the more. Poetry keeps us young.