This April for National Poetry Month, we’re sharing films that spotlight the vital creative work and profound social impact of poets across the globe.
Say Brother (1978)
This 1978 episode of the Boston public television program Say Brother features insightful discussion and readings from the acclaimed author, poet, and activist Maya Angelou. View this powerful look into the lived experiences and inspiration behind the prolific poet’s third poetry volume, And Still I Rise.
Rita Dove: An American Poet (2014)
Filmed over the course of a year, Eduardo Montes-Bradley’s 2014 documentary Rita Dove: An American Poet follows the remarkable life story and career of the Pulitzer Prize winning African American poet and essayist, Rita Dove. Spanning chapters from Dove’s early childhood to later career highlights including serving as U.S. Poet Laureate, the film explores the formative and creative depths of the renowned author, academic, and advocate for diversity. View here:
Ruth Weiss, the Beat Goddess (2019)
Growing up during the Nazi party’s rise to power, Ruth Weiss fled Berlin with her family to find refuge in the U.S. by 1939. Weiss later settled along the Big Sur coast of California in the early 1950s where she helped pioneer a new progressive “beat” style of poetry characterized by its jazz-like cadence and spontaneity. View this award-winning portrait honoring the courageous life journey and captivating poetry of “The Goddess of the Beat Generation” here:
Letters to Eloisa (2021)
In 1966 the acclaimed Cuban poet José Lezama Lima published his first novel Paradiso. Written in a richly baroque style prose full of sensual imagery, this groundbreaking work sparked controversy for its bold expression of queer identities and political resistance. Letters to Eloisa examines Lima’s courageous life story as a pioneer of creative freedom and representation for the marginalized of society. View here:
Renegade Dreamers (2019)
Karen Kramer’s 2019 documentary Renegade Dreamers examines the critical impacts songwriters and performance artists have made throughout history toward social change and reform. From the early folksingers who championed civil rights to the modern inspiration of spoken word poetry, this film pays tribute to the past and present-day artists who challenge the status quo. View here:
Written by: Josh Windham