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Films about Poets and Poetry

The Business of Fancy Dancing
Gary Glazner reviews Sherman Alexie’s 2002 film: “the initial steps of a great new American filmmaker, a filmmaker with the skills of a poet... the little guy not scared to let you see his own true story, his self at its most vulnerable....”

Howl - The Movie
Poetry Guide Bob Holman reviews the 2010 film Howl, about Allen Ginsberg’s famous poem, its first performance at the Six Gallery in San Francisco, and the obscenity trial that followed its publication by Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Books.

Reader Reviews of Howl
Readers share their own commentary about Howl, the 2010 film about Allen Ginsberg s famous poem.... See submissions

Joe Gould’s Secret
Bob Holman’s introduction to Joe Gould, on the occasion of the 2000 film about him: “It was Joe Gould’s Oral History of the World, the longest book never written, that brought him fame, and was his secret, and makes him a hero in the US Oral History/Performance Poetry world. It’s time that his poems see print.”

Piñero and the Poet’s Life
Michael Salinger talked with Dahveed Ben Israel of the Last Poets after a screening of 2002’s poetic biopic, Piñero — fertile ground for a conversation about the poet’s lifestyle, the relation between suffering and creativity, poetic communities and the arts’ affirmation of life.

SLAM! A Raw Poem of a Movie
Slam! won best feature at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. Poetry Guide Bob Holman says it’s the recipe for a movie for a new millennium.

The New York Times online reviewed the film Paul Devlin made at the 1996 Portland National Poetry Slam and said “they have helped make poetry sexy again.”

The Source
Poetry Guide Margery Snyder reviews Chuck Workman’s 1999 documentary film The Source, a collage history of the Beat generation featuring Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Gregory Corso, Jack Micheline, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and many others, plus performances of Beat literature by Johnny Depp, Dennis Hopper and John Turturro.

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