Voice Alpha

on reading poetry aloud for an audience

Filming Poems and Readings: “Howl”


Dave Bonta has a great post about seeing the recent movie Howl.  His review is well worth reading; he changed my mind about seeing the movie, which I hadn’t planned to do, and now I can hardly wait.

He talks about realizing that Ginsberg really is the father (grandfather? great grandfather?) of the modern poetry reading:  “From the opening seconds of the film, I was like, Holy shit, that’s the reading, man! The one that started this whole craze for live poetry readings (and later, poetry slams) that’s still with us 55 years later. ”

And he finishes with a tantalizing idea–what other poems are out there, waiting to be filmed?

Author: Kristin Berkey-Abbott

A poet, a scholar, an administrator, a wanna-be mystic--always wrestling with the temptation to run away to join an intentional community--but would it be contemplative? social justice oriented? creative? in the mountains? in the inner city?--may as well stay planted and wrestle with these tensions and contradictions here, at the edge of America.

2 thoughts on “Filming Poems and Readings: “Howl”

  1. I saw Howl locally, and have encouraged my husband to see it on Hulu! One of the wonderful things is how the words of the poem come through multiple times in multiple ways!!

  2. Fascinating post from Dave. Most intriguing line for me:
    “We wanted the poem to be a character. That was the starting point.”

    I think we mostly like to think our poems are micro-universes, microcosms – complete in themselves, snug and whole on the page. What the video film and the poetry reading do is relegate (or promote?) them to character status, so they become one element and lose their ‘all-elements’ status. My sense is that both states are useful and necessary.

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