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Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

In the 2010 film Poetry director Chang-dong Lee explores the importance of poetry as a tool to be used in dealing with the terrible things people face in their lives.  His protagonist, Mija, played by the deeply talented Jeong-hie Yun (who won many awards for this performance), registers for a poetry workshop at the local community arts center.  She soon learns that her grandson has been involved in horrible crime that has led to the suicide of a young girl, and that she is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.  Focusing on beauty and truth while trying to compose her poem, Mija develops the strength to make choices she struggles with though the course of the film.  The painful path she chooses is eased by the words of poem.

 

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ImageWith the anniversary of the catastrophic EF5 multiple-vortex tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri, on Sunday, May 22, 2011, I thought it appropriate to revisit Joey Brown’s collection of poems Oklahomaography published by Mongrel Empire Press. Joey lives and teaches in Joplin and, fortunately, neither she nor her loved ones suffered injuries during the destruction. To help her community rebuild, Joey and her publisher donated the proceeds of the sale of Oklahomaography to the relief fund for Joplin.  You can learn more about Joey and her work at this link http://www.readjoeybrown.com/Home_Page.html

Fittingly, the collection includes a poem titled “Tornado Poem” and several other poems use shifts in weather as metaphors for change desperately wanted by many of the characters who inhabit the small rural towns of her work. The title of the collection may seem very place-specific but when I heard Joey read and when I read her work it struck me how she is able to dig into the hearts and minds of people all over the country who live in small communities and in poverty.

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Imperfect Armor is an official selection at the only Oscar-qualifying children’s film festival, the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival!  This marks the second consecutive year of Poetry in Pictures Series films being a part of the line up in Chicago. Details to come.

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Imperfect Armor is an offical selection at the Kansas International Film Festival!  This is the festival’s 10th annivarsary and the first year they are including animated shorts.  It is an honor that Imperfect Armor was selected to be one of the first short animated films the festival is screening.  The animated shorts block will be playing on Tuesday, October 5th at 7:25 pm at Glen Arts in Overland Parks, Kansas.

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Jeanetta Calhoun Mish’s Work Is Love Made Visible: Poetry and Family Photographs is a collection that I will return to again and again.  The poem that opens the book, “Rosasharn Reports from California in the 21st Century,” is full of humor and insights as to how things really haven’t changed since Steinbeck’s time.  The poems about the poet’s family are the jewels of the collection.  She takes you deep into her family, their poverty, anger and love.  She touches on many personalities in the family tree and is able to identify her own strengths and weakness by exploring her personal history.  I felt the pain, happiness and moments of pride while reading Mish’s work and the family photos included in the collection only heightened the experience.  “Road Burns,” “Work Is Love made Visible,” “For My Brother,” “Lessons from Luke,” “Body Snatcher,” and “mapping desire” are among my favorites but “My Great-Great-Grandmother Writes the Perfect Poem” with a  photo of the poet’s great-great-grandmother in front of the Busy Bee Cafe really stands out.

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© 2010 Rodwan Productions

The Los Angeles International Film Festival has awarded John G. Rodwan, Jr. the Best Performance Award in an Experimental Film for his work in Imperfect Armor! John wrote the poem for the film and gave an emotional reading perfectly conveying the themes of loss, regret and hope that drive the poem.   Imperfect Armor also received an Honorable Mention in the Experimental Film Competition of the festival.   The Los Angeles International Film Festival is scheduling screenings for early Fall.  We will keep you posted.  Congratulations, John!

njr

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