Earl Gray

Earl Gray
"You can argue with me but, in the end, you'll have to face that fact that you're arguing with a squirrel." - Earl Gray

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Have you ever seen a poem?

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #35

     When you speak of going to "a film" or "a movie" without qualification do you mean a script reading?  A home movie?  A panorama without a plot or actors?  Or is it understood that you mean a feature film with actors who don't sound like they're reading from text, camera operators who know how to remove a lens cap and directors who know the difference between a script and a film?

     While critiquing one of our reader's manuscript I remarked that the work lacked performance value.

     "That's okay," she replied, "I don't plan on performing any of it."


     I stopped myself from asking "Then why are you writing it?  Why worry about the sounds and rhythms of something that isn't going to be spoken or heard?  As a critic, on what should I comment?"

     In this excerpt from the movie "Begin Again", down-and-out music producer Dan Mulligan, played by Mark Ruffalo, happens upon songwriter Gretta James, played by Keira Knightley, performing one of her compositions at an open mic.  The crowd ignores the song, rudely conversing throughout it, but Mulligan hears it as it should be, with accompaniment and editing.  As a producer, he "hears" the finished product.

Excerpt1-BA-2013 from Earl Gray on Vimeo.
Adrian Mitchell
     Poetry has no producers.  That most poets believe text to be a finished product--which is true only for writers--reflects the fact that Nobody Reads Poetry and explains why poets and readers ignore each other.  It's a vicious circle.  Why worry about quality in general and sound in particular when there is no audience?  Why be an audience for something not designed to please us?

     Imagine the film or television industries without those who turn a script into a production:  no players, no producers, no videographers, no nothing.  Whole generations have grown up without ever seeing¹ a finished contemporary poem.

     Think about that.


¹ - ...as opposed to merely reading...or listening to someone else merely reading...

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Earl Gray, Esquirrel

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