Poetry and the Movies

Year

2000
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Mothers of America
let your kids go to the movies
get them out of the house so they won't
know what you're up to...
From "Ave Maria" by Frank O'Hara
Poems about Movies 

Heroic Simile by Robert Hass
When the swordsman fell in Kurosawa's Seven Samurai...

Daffy Duck In Hollywood by John Ashbery
Something strange is creeping across me...

Homage to Sharon Stone by Lynn Emanuel
It's early morning. This is the...

Chaplinesque by Hart Crane
We make our meek adjustments...

Brad Pitt by Aaron Smith
With cotton candy armpits and sugary...

Seventeen Questions About KING KONG by Jane Cooper
Is it a myth? And if so, what does it tell us about ourselves?...

Poems from Movies 

Stacey Harwood and Poets.org have partnered to compile a partial list of poems referenced in American films. Here are some popular or noteworthy selections:

As I Walked Out One Evening
by W. H. Auden
Before Sunrise, 1995

One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop
In Her Shoes, 2005

To My Dear and Loving Husband
by Anne Bradstreet
Le Divorce, 2003

Howl
by Allen Ginsberg
Hairspray, 1988

Donal Óg
by Lady Gregory
The Dead, 1987

To an Athlete Dying Young
by A. E. Housman
Out of Africa, 1985

Related Essays 

 The Well-Versed Movie
by Stacey Harwood
Poems make "the unsayable said," writes Donald Hall. And just as in life, a poem in a movie can give voice to the otherwise dumbstruck and inarticulate.
 

Dead Poets Society
Robin Williams plays the school's new English teacher and Welton alumnus, John Keating, who inspires his students to love poetry.

 

Four Weddings and a Funeral
The recitation of "Funeral Blues" by W. H. Auden is one of the film's most memorable moments.

 

Shakespeare in Love
A tongue-in-cheek romantic comedy about the young playwright and his struggle with writer's block.

 

Sylvia
The tempestuous relationship between Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes is given center stage in this 2003 biopic.

 

Dr. Seuss Cartoons
Seuss's clever use rhyme, humor, and colorful illustrations continue to entertain and educate readers, young and old alike.

 

The Basketball Diaries
Based on the autobiographical book by poet and performance-artist Jim Carroll, a story of youth spent skipping class, running around with friends, and abusing drugs.

 

Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle
Sly, sharp and witty, Dorothy Parker and colorful characters of the Algonquin Round Table are the subject of this acclaimed film directed by Alan Rudolph.