By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

John Ashbery

This question comes up so often in reviews. “No one reads this poet so what demands does he have on our attention?” and so forth. It’s sort of like the Yogi Berra remark: “nobody goes there anymore it’s too popular.” It’s sort of like, people are alarmed that more people go to rock concerts than go to chamber music performances, but the people who go to both enjoy what they’re doing. Does it really matter how many of them there are? I suppose it would be alarming if there were only a dozen or so people who read poetry. But as I’m sure you know there are many more than is dreamed of in the mass media, or in the New York Times Book Review for instance. Of course critics say before the 20th century everyone read poetry, but I don’t think that’s true – although undoubtedly more people did. They say that since the 20th century began poetry has shut itself off from people by being so difficult and irritating. Maybe. On the other hand people seem to be attracted to poetry for just those reasons. It does require more effort and more attention, and it can be stimulating as a reader to give that to the poetry. As much as I like Carl Sandburg, I enjoy something that has a certain amount of crunch and resistance to it.
~ John Ashbery

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“Film festivals, for those who don’t know, are not exactly the glitzy red carpet affairs you see on TV. Those do happen, but they’re a tiny part of the festival. The main part of any film festival are the thousands of people with festival passes hanging on lanyards beneath their anoraks, carrying brochures for movies you have never and will never hear of, desperately scrabbling to sell whatever movie it is to buyers from all over the world. Every hotel bar, every cafe, every restaurant is filled to the brim with these people, talking loudly about non-existent deals. The Brits are the worst because most of the British film industry, with a few honourable exceptions, are scam artists and chancers who move around from company to company failing to get anything good made and trying to cast Danny Dyer in anything that moves. I’m seeing guys here who I first met twenty years ago and who are still wearing the same clothes, doing the same job (albeit for a different company) and spinning the same line of bullshit about how THIS movie has Al Pacino or Meryl Streep or George Clooney attached and, whilst that last one didn’t work out, THIS ONE is going to be HUGE. As the day goes on, they start drinking and it all gets ugly and, well, that’s why I’m the guy walking through the Tiergarten with a camera taking pictures of frozen lakes and pretending this isn’t happening.

“Berlin is cool, though and I’ve been lucky to be doing meetings with some people who want to actually get things done. We’ll see what comes of it.”
~ Julian Simpson 

“The difference between poetry and prose, and why if you’re not acculturated to poetry, you might resist it: that page is frightening. Why is it not filled? The two categories of people who don’t feel that way are children and prisoners. So many prison poets; they see that gap and experience it differently. I’m for the gap!”
~ Poet Eileen Myles