Monday, April 02, 2012

National Poetry Month: Poetry on the Big Screen

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain. ~T.S. Eliot

If April is the cruellest month, the fact that it is National Poetry Month softens the cruelties considerably. I love reading the poems that other bloggers post during this month; invariably these offerings give me the pleasure of revisiting old favorites and discovering new voices.

When reading great poetry, I find myself musing and carrying on an inner conversation. It's very satisfying to the soul, but HEARING great poetry adds another layer of gratification.

Here are three movies that have contributed to my enjoyment of poetry:

Bright Star (2008)- A biographical memoir of John Keats. It is a voluptuous visual feast, with outstanding period costumes and piercing renditions of the romanticist's poems. Although it borders on being sentimental, there was a fair amount of tension successfully portrayed as Keats spent the final years of his short life feverishly "gleaning his teeming brain" but constantly distracted by the captivating Fanny Brawne. A nice review of the movie can be found here.

Wit (2001)--a poignant cancer story, interlaced with John Donne's poetry.The most memorable line was from "Death Be Not Proud" : 
'And death shall be no more' comma 'death, thou shalt die.'
 Nothing but a breath, a comma separates life from life everlasting.

The Dead Poets Society (1989)--one of my all time favorite movies. John Keating is the inspiring and very unconventional teacher in a conservative, stringent boys' school. His own joy of living is contagious and sparks a love of poetry in these boys that is heartwarming to behold. Tinged with a bit of tragedy, but overall a bracing, thrilling, tonic for the soul. I periodically go to YouTube and watch segments such as "O CAPTAIN! my Captain!" and "Carpe Diem".  Memorable and timeless.


Go quickly and tell said...

I second your three movie titles and admit that National Poetry Month has made me more attune to Hollywood's poetic license.

Therefore, I recommend In Her Shoes.

Poiema said...

Checking it out, Dana. I've not heard of that title, but it looks like something I would enjoy. Thanks for the tip!