The Faber Book of Movie Verse

Philip French, Editor, Ken Wlaschin, Editor Faber & Faber $24.95 (458p) ISBN 978-0-571-16660-2
Readers of this wonderful, if overly long, anthology dedicated to the power of cinema may be best served by skipping the editors' introduction--which spends too much time discussing the ``various'' and somewhat tenuous connections between verse and cinema--and moving right into the poems. French ( Malle on Malle ) and Wlaschin have compiled an excellent collection of poetry, ranging from e. e. cummings through 1950s work by Frank O'Hara to recent works by John Ashbery. The poems are a must for any cinema lover, and the editors provide copious notes on every poem, explicating film references. The collection is organized into topical sections: ``The Silent Cinema,'' ``Hollywood,'' ``The Stars and the Supporting Cast,'' ``Movies as Metaphor,'' etc. However, most of the poems seem to straddle genres, such as Charles Webb's ``After Not Winning the Yale Poetry Prize'' (featured in ``Movies as Metaphor'') in which the author imagines monsters from the horror genre, such as King Kong and Godzilla, descending upon a poetry judge. While impossible to read in one sitting, the volume is perfect for occasional reading; pick it up, and you'll find such delights as Amiri Baraka's ``Jim Brown on the Screen,'' Margaret Atwood's ``Werewolf Movies'' and John Hollander's ``MovieGoing''--whose final line serves as a summary of the joys of movies as well as of reading: ``These fade. All fade, Let us honor them with our own fading sight.'' (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-571-17329-7
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