November 23, 2016
Here’s another film for your watch-for-it list: DIE GETRÄUMTEN (The Dreamed Ones) is a “docudrama” in which two actors in a recording studio read from the dramatic exchange of poems, letters, postcards, telegrams and drafts between poets Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan, who came to know each other in post-war Vienna. Through their reading, the actors’ own lives and stories become layered with those of the poets.
Referring to Bachmann and Celan as “the most important German poets of the second half of the 20th century,” director Ruth Beckermann calls theirs “a great modern love story.” Learn more on the film website or read a review in The Guardian.
October 20, 2016
Soda Pictures (UK) is about to release a new film, Paterson, which follows the story of Paterson, a poet and bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey. Directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani, the film is due in theaters November 25, 2016. Watch for it.
August 14, 2015
As long as we’re on the subject of poetry on film, here’s more (times two). In 2015, Liverpool-based Hurricane Films began production on a feature film called A Quiet Passion, directed by Terence Davies. The film stars Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson (Jennifer Ehle and Keith Carradine are also in the cast) and it will be completed in 2016.
But, “While working on the set of A Quiet Passion and feeling inspired by Dickinson’s life and words, our entire team at Hurricane Films felt it was essential to dig even deeper into the life and times of one of the world’s greatest poets. We decided to make a documentary.”
A “companion piece” to A Quiet Passion, PHOSPHORESCENCE “will endeavor to reflect qualities inspired by its subject, Emily Dickinson — deft words, passionate beliefs, searing individuality and a great story well told. The film has the support of the Emily Dickinson Museum and will be completed in mid 2016.”
Hurricane Films has launched a Kickstarter to fund the documentary, with lots of great swag for backers. Check out Phosphorescence on Kickstarter.
August 13, 2015
Here’s a documentary film to put on your watch-for list: Poetry is an Island. Directed by Ida Does, the film is an intimate portrait of Nobel Prize-winning poet Derek Walcott. The filmmakers visit Walcott’s “art studio, his childhood home, and his current residence in St. Lucia. It also includes exclusive archive material from the Nobel Prize Festivities in 1992. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this film is about Walcott’s poetry.”
The film world-premiered at the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival in 2013 and continues to make the rounds of festivals worldwide. It will screen on September 18, 2015, at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts in Frederiksted, St. Croix. The film has won a number of awards, including Best Feature Documentary Feature at the Honolulu Film Awards.
More on the Poetry is an Island website and Facebook page. You can read a number of Walcott’s poems on the Academy of American Poets website and an interview with Derek Walcott by Edward Hirsch in the Paris Review.
February 28, 2013
The 13th Annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival, now under way, will close with the film Poetry of Resilience, in which international poets eloquently narrate their experiences of political violence.
September 19, 2016
Since we’re fans of poetry and film, we like to keep track of the places they intersect, especially when there’s a Cascadia link. Here’s one: Poetry Shorts.
Poetry Shorts is a project of The Northwest Renaissance: Poets, Performers & Publishers. It was created in 2015 by actor and poet Emilie Rommel Shimkus and is supported by The Tacoma Arts Commission and 4Culture.
The inaugural Poetry Shorts film is Tell Your Children, a series of four short films based on poems. It is currently in post-production and will premiere on Monday, October 24, 2016, at 7:00pm at The Grand Cinema in Tacoma.
Visit the Poetry Shorts website for more information.
May 14, 2013
Interested in the intersection of poetry and film? If you’re intrigued by the idea of poetry films that go beyond people reading poems on screen, have a look at the growing film archive at Moving Poems.
Started by Dave Bonta as a way of learning more about making videopoetry, the site features an extensive and international list of poets and filmmakers. There’s a forum, lists of resources and film after film after film. You can drop in at Moving Poems or subscribe.
If you’re interested in cinepoetry and you’re on Facebook, you may also want to visit or join the Visible Verse Festival group.
January 31, 2013
Mark your calendar for what promises to be a memorable poetry event: 3 Days of Poetry: Poetry and Film. Beginning the evening of Friday, February 22, 2013, and continuing through Sunday, February 24, Seattle-based independent poetry press Wave Books will present contemporary and vintage films, video and television featuring poetry and poets as well as a studio where poets can record their own short film. Events will be held at Gallery 1412 in Seattle. Full details here.
June 11, 2016
If you’ve had your fill of election wrangling, you might tune in to the latest flap regarding a forthcoming film about the 13th-century poet Rumi. Although the biopic has not yet been cast, producer Stephen Joel Brown and writer David Franzoni are looking at a “level of casting” that includes Leonardo DiCaprio as Rumi and Robert Downey Jr. as the dervish Shams of Tabriz.
May 17, 2016
Poet Frances McCue was one of the founders of Hugo House and is currently making a documentary film about the history of 1634 11th Avenue, including the building’s previous, um, life as a funeral parlor and its forthcoming demolition to make way for a mixed-use apartment building. The film, Where the House Was, is built around a long poem.
On Thursday, May 19, 2016, at 7:30pm, McCue will give the first public reading of selections from the poem — one of the final events at the current Hugo House location. She will be joined by Rebecca Brown, a Lambda-award-winning author who served as Hugo House’s inaugural writer-in-residence, and Lori Goldston, a self-described “classically trained and rigorously de-trained” cellist who is perhaps best known around Seattle for her work on Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged set. The “opening act” will be a reading by Cali Kopczick and Jack Chelgren.