Cross-Cut


In film editing terminology, a cross-cut sequence is one where the movie jumps between two different scenes, often to build suspense or create a deeper understanding of all the characters involved by subtly relating the actions of one character to the activity in the other scene. A classic example would be the cross-cut sequence that cuts between the mafia murders in various parts of town with newly minted criminal mastermind Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) attending a baptism in “The Godfather.”

In Guys Reading Poems, we employ poetry as a prime vehicle to understand the life of a creative but troubled family of artists living in downtown Los Angeles. To add meaning to this experiment in film narrative, we are curating a series of essays titled “Cross-Cut.” The collection of short pieces will delve into the oeuvre, psychology and impact of each of the poets we’ve selected for inclusion in the film. Our hope is that an additional layer of insight into each poet will enrich your experience of how their work is applied cinematically in our film.

Here is a listing of the poets included in Guys Reading Poems along with links to the essays about them from our contributors:

William BlakeBertolt Brecht, Richard Corbet, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Gray, Thomas Hardy, Ben Jonson, Edna St. Vincent MillayHarold Monro, Sir Walter Scott, Sara TeasdaleChidiock TichborneWalt Whitman, William Wordsworth, W.B. Yeats

Most of the poetry is public domain work from deceased authors, but the film includes poems from two writers living and working in Los Angeles. They are:

Steven ReignsHunter Lee Hughes

The film also includes five passages of poetry from The Bible.

Cross-Cut: Essay on Walt Whitman by Kyle Flak

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Cross-Cut: Essay on Walt Whitman by Kyle Flak

Essay on Walt Whitman by Kyle Flak Walt Whitman played “The Star Spangled Banner” on an Olympic white Fender Stratocaster electric guitar in Woodstock, New York on Monday morning, August 18th, 1969 and changed the world forever. Walt Whitman was known as “Charlie Hustle” and hit a record breaking 3,215 singles during his 23 year career as a Major League switch hitter before becoming “permanently banned from baseball” due to accusations that he had been gambling on his own team, The Cincinnati Reds. Walt...

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Cross-Cut: Hunter Lee Hughes

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Cross-Cut: Hunter Lee Hughes

By Moira McMahon Leeper Hunter Lee Hughes is a big name for a blonde wisp of a boy growing up in Texas and Michigan, alternatively being passed from parent to parent via silver 747s traversing the great American sky. Those hours of travel afforded a lot of time to dream. And so, dream he did. … I met my friend Hunter in San Antonio, Texas, while attending a small, specific kind of liberal arts school where we were both getting a specific kind of education. Our campus was overrun with tangled oaks that grew over our heads, forming a canopy...

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Cross Cut: My Nuclear Summer with Sara Teasdale

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Cross Cut: My Nuclear Summer with Sara Teasdale

By: Collin Kelley I discovered the poet Sara Teasdale on August 4, 2026 after the nuclear war had devastated Earth and most of its people had fled to Mars. That’s not true of course. It was actually the summer of 1979. I was 10 and enthralled by the science fiction writing of Ray Bradbury. I was almost finished with The Martian Chronicles, his 1950 collection of connected stories about man’s attempt to colonize Mars. In one of the final chapters, a futuristic, computer-run house goes on with its daily routine of preparing breakfast,...

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