In film editing terminology, a cross-cut sequence is one where the movie jumps from 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 with another sequence. A classic example would be the cross-cut scene 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 twenty 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 to “Guys Reading Poems.” Here is a listing of the poets included in “Guys Reading Poems” along with links to the essays about them from our contributors.
Guys Reading Poems intertwines poetry from 17 writers with its film narrative, including work by:
William Blake, Bertolt Brecht, Richard Corbet, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Gray, Thomas Hardy, Ben Jonson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Harold Monro, Sir Walter Scott, Sara Teasdale, Chidiock Tichborne, Walt 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:
The film also includes five passages of poetry from The Bible.
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...read more
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,...read more
By Allyson Mackender Harold Monro (1879-1932) was born in Brussels and did not settle down for most of his life. As he moved around the European continent, through Ireland and England, Monro was characterized as a “moody young man who brooded over himself, and not liking what he found, imagined that he would discover something better under another sky” (Monro vii). Insecurities inherent to human nature and anxieties regarding monotony were all too familiar to Monro. His sense of impatience is perfectly captured in the final stanza of his...read more