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from The Red Balloon, Albert Lamorisse (1956)

Poets' Favorite Movies

Revealed At Last

Links to poets' movie lists

Now we know how different the Top Grossing Movies of all Times list would look if poets would just spend more money attending the ones of their choice—or, if the world had more poets. No Titanic, no Star Wars sequels, no Passion of the Christ, but instead Marcel Carné's Les Enfants du paradis (Children of Paradise), 1945; Truffaut's The 400 Blows (1959); Wings of Desire (1987) by the acclaimed Polish director Wim Wenders, starring Peter Falk as an angel with his feet on the earth. And many poet respondents cite the enduring classics Citizen Kane, The Godfather I and II, and Chinatown.

And right behind those come The Third Man with its moods of loss and longing, and with Orson Welles as cinema's suavest, most unforgettable sociopath, Harry Lime; the seminal noir classic The Maltese Falcon; Francis Ford Coppola's study of surveillance and paranoia The Conversation, and one of Brando's (and Elia Kazan's) greatest, On The Waterfront, written by Bud Schulberg. The comedies most often mentioned? Some Like it Hot and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Only one very recent release received as many as three mentions: Crash.

It appears that more poets in the world registering their votes at the box office would have made the late Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski a powerful force in Hollywood.

Note: I invited these stellar poets to name their ten favorite movies—or twelve, or seven, or fifteen, or however many they had, hence the variations.

 — Ed.

Poets' Favorite Movies

  John Allman, NY, Loew's Triboro (New Directions)

Ellen Bass, Santa Cruz, CA, The Human Line (Copper Canyon)

Hélène Cardona, L.A., The Astonished Universe (Red Hen Press) &John FitzGerald. L.A., Spring Water (Turning Point)

Wanda Coleman, L.A., The Riot Inside Me (Godine/Black Sparrow Books) & Austin Straus, L.A., Drunk with Light (Red Hen Press) & I.W. Grant & Luanda Ordonez

Jawanza Dumisani, L.A., Stoetry (chapbook, FarStarFire Press)

Martín Espada, NYC and Amherst, MA, The Republic of Poetry: New and Selected Poems (U. of Pittsburgh)

Peter Everwine, Fresno, CA, From the Meadow: Selected Poems (U. of Pittsburgh)

B. H. Fairchild, Midwest and Southern CA, Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest (W. W. Norton)

Richard Garcia, L.A. and South Carolina, The Persistence of Objects (BOA)
Allen Ginsberg, San Francisco. Ginsberg's neighborhood video shop, Kim's Video, asked him for his top 10 movies list, and this is the list he gave them.

R. S. Gwynn, Texas, No Word of Farewell: Selected Poems 1970-2000 (Story Line)

Judith Hall, L.A. and New England, Three Trios (translations of J Il) (Triquarterly Books)

Barbara Hamby, Florida,  Babel (U. of Pittsburgh)

Charles G. Hanzlicek, Fresno, CA, The Cave: Selected and New Poems(U. of Pittsburgh)

Terence Hayes, Pittsburgh, PA, Wind in a Box (Penguin)

Edward Hirsch, NYC, Lay Back the Darkness (Knopf)

Joyce Jenkins, San Francisco, Portal (chapbook, Pennywhistle Press)

David Kirby, Florida, The House on Boulevard Street: New and Selected Poems (Louisiana State U. Press)

Ron Koertge, Pasadena, CA, Geography of the Forehead (Arkansas)

David Lehman, NYC, When a Woman Loves A Man (Scribner)

Philip Levine, Fresno, CA, Breath (Knopf)

Sarah Maclay, L.A., Whore (U. of Tampa Press)

David Mason, Colorado, Ludlow (Red Hen Press)

Robert Mezey, Southern CA, Collected Poems (U. of Arkansas Press)

Lawrence Raab, MA, Visible Signs: New and Selected Poems (Penguin)

Patty Seyburn, Southern CA, Mechanical Cluster (Ohio State U. Press)

David St. John, L.A., The Face (HarperCollins)

Judith Taylor, L.A., Selected Dreams from the Animal Kingdom (Zoo Press)

Catherine Tufariello, Indiana, Keeping My Name (Texas Tech U. Press)

Michael Waters, Maryland, Darling Vulgarity (BOA)

Charles Harper Webb, L.A., Amplified Dog (Red Hen Press)

Cecilia Woloch, L.A., Paris, Late (BOA)

...and from the Speechless staff:
Suzanne Lummis
liz gonzález
Larry Colker


Speechless Spring 2007
Copyright © 2007 Published by
Tebot Bach