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 Dave Jarecki Working at an independent bookstore during a quarter-life crisis shortly after 9/11 was as good a part-time job as any I might want. Every employee carried around some grudge against their version of “The Man,” from the former radical/general manager, to the community organizing assistant manager, to all the wanna-be-writers—a group to which I belonged—who slung pages back and forth, griped about rejections, and sneered at a new wave of trust-fund authors with books about their lost years in Prague. The writers we celebrated...read more
By J. Raymond It’s not quite eight o’clock in the morning as I write these words upon a barf bag, thirty-something thousand feet up in the sky. Heading home (West Palm Beach) from my most recent book reading and signing in Boston. I drink a can of bloody Mary mix with two vodkas, reflecting on the events of the weekend. It was a success, I’d say. The room was full, books were purchased, alcohol was consumed, relationships consummated – all in all, a good weekend for a full-time writer. The exception might be waking to a message from a lovely...read more
By Megan Reynolds Although Bertolt Brecht is widely known for his playwriting and theoretical contributions, his skill as a poet cannot be overlooked or undercut simply because of his talents in other forms of writing. Historical events unfolding at the time of his writing, namely World War II, greatly influenced Brecht and his perceptions of humanity as a whole. Periods of exile punctuate Brecht’s poetry, directing the way he not only viewed the world around him, but also the way he interacted with nature. Many of his poems include natural...read more